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Invertebrates: Animal Welfare

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 75083, tabled on 15 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will amend the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill [HL] to include all invertebrates.

Answered on

23 November 2021

The Animal (Welfare) Sentience Bill as drafted applies to vertebrates and gives the Secretary of State a power to extend the recognition of sentience to particular invertebrates in future.

Defra commissioned an independent external review of the available scientific evidence on sentience in decapod crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters, as well as sentience in the cephalopod class, which includes octopus, cuttlefish and squid.

We have carefully considered recommendations in the review. The evidence of sentience in decapods and cephalopods is clear and that is why we are amending the Bill which recognises these creatures as sentient.

We are led by the science, and at this time there is no intention to include any other invertebrates, beyond decapods and cephalopods in the Bill.