The UK has dropped a grade in the global assessment of countries’ records on animal welfare due to Brexit parliamentary delays which have held up planned laws such as animal sentience and export regulation.
The UK previously held an ‘A’ grade but has now dropped to a ‘B’ in the second revised edition of the Animal Protection Index (API) published by global NGO World Animal Protection, which assesses the animal welfare policies and legislation of 50 countries.
The index scores countries from A (being the highest score) to G (being the weakest score) according to their policy and legislation.
Although, not one country has obtained an ‘A’ grade. The United Kingdom is rated highest along with Sweden and Austria all achieving a ‘B’ score. However, there is room for improvement in these countries too.
Since the last edition of the API, the UK’s progress has been held up by Brexit dominating parliamentary time, and the Government failing to pass key laws.
“The UK is a nation of animal lovers and the Government must reflect this in their work and continue to improve animal protections if it is to ensure we regain our top rating.”
This includes transferring the recognition of animal sentience from EU regulation to UK law, and reviewing legal protections afforded to invertebrate species such as cephalopods and decapod crustaceans to take into account new scientific evidence of their sentience.
Sonul Badiani-Hamment, World Animal Protection UK external affairs advisor said: “The UK Government is failing to keep up with the latest science on animal welfare and has been treading water, making promises of new legislation on animal sentience that have not been met.
“The UK is a nation of animal lovers and the Government must reflect this in their work and continue to improve animal protections if it is to ensure we regain our top rating. We need stronger laws protecting animals in farming, in entertainment and in homes. This is particularly important as the UK leaves the EU, to ensure that hard-won protections are not lost in the rush to agree new trade deals.”