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Animal Welfare

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL14638, tabled on 25 March 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to provide for animal sentience in law; and if so, whether the definition of animals in that law (1) will be the same as that for vertebrates in the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and (2) will include decapods and cephalopods.

Answered on

12 April 2021

This Government has a manifesto commitment to introduce new laws on animal sentience, which we will do as soon as parliamentary time allows.

The current science is clear that vertebrates can experience pain and suffering. It is on that basis that the definition of "animal" in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is limited only to vertebrates. Defra has commissioned an independent external review of the available scientific evidence on sentience in decapods and cephalopods. This review is expected to report shortly.