Dear Mr Paul Scully MP
Given the appalling Tory ‘Human Rights’ record in the UK since 2010, it is alarming and disturbing to witness the recent Tory attack on ‘Animal Rights’, with a collective ‘no’ vote to incorporating the concept of ‘animal sentience’ into UK Law after any Brexit deal. The historical context for the Tory’s depriving animals of any rights, is important in the light of the political, economic, social and cultural devastation inflicted upon the British nation by the Conservatives (and their former LibDems allies).
1) in 2016, the United Nations found the Tories and LibDems ‘Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity’ for the deaths of at least 10,000 British people suffering with disabilities. These deaths were caused by the sudden ‘cutting’ of Benefits, Social Services Care, and NHS treatment (due to privatisation).
2) Oxford University, during February, 2017, issued their academic report into the disastrous effects of Tory (and LibDems) Austerity upon the British nation, stating that between the election of the Tories (and LibDems) in 2010, and February, 2017, around 30,000 people in the UK died due to sudden Benefit cuts. This number includes not only the disabled victims of Tory policy, but also those vulnerable and poor people who did not, at the time of their deaths, suffer from a registered disability.
3) Recently, the rightwing ‘Metro’ newspaper in London, no doubt seeking to distance itself from the Tory Party it has historically supported, published a report pulling together statistics and information from a number of sources, stating that altogether Tory (and LibDems) ‘Austerity’ has killed a total number of 120,000 people between 2010 and 2017, with these deaths being caused through sudden and draconian Benefit cuts, Social Service Care, and the shutting down and privatisation of NHS hospitals and services, etc.
Given this appalling Tory record on Human Rights in the UK, as a tax-payer and resident of Sutton and Cheam, I would like to respectfully request an explanation from my MP, why it is that he decided to vote against ‘animal sentience’ in the recent Commons vote.
Thank you for your time in this matter.
Dr Adrian Wyles
Paul Scully’s reply:
Thank you for contacting me about animal sentience. Sorry for the delay in responding to you.
I am proud that the UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. Ministers have been clear that they intend it to remain world-leading in the future and, as a minimum, to retain our existing standards of animal welfare once we have left the EU.
The EU (Withdrawal) Bill will convert the existing body of direct EU animal welfare laws to become UK laws. Most of these EU laws relate to farmed animals and many were passed after Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) came into effect.
Article 13 of the TFEU created a qualified obligation on the EU and Member States “to have full regard to the welfare of animals [as they are sentient beings]” when formulating and implementing EU law. I welcome the fact that the Government has said that it will consider how the ‘animal sentience’ principle of Article 13 might be explicitly reflected in the UK when we leave the EU. There were a number of issues with the proposed amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill which meant it would not have had the desired effect on animal welfare.
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 acknowledges the fact that animals (defined for the purposes of that act as all vertebrates except humans) can suffer. By definition this means that the law accepts the fact that animals are sentient as non-sentient beings cannot suffer. This is a bit dry and technical which is why a clearer approach in a future Bill would be better understood.
The reason that the sentience clause was included in the Lisbon Treaty in the first place was to remove anomalies in French codified civil law which works very differently from the UK’s case law system. Codified legal systems need everything written down with less room for interpretation and there were two conflicting pieces of French legislation that this cleared up. The proposed amendment was not worded well, just stating that the relevant part of the Lisbon treaty should be ‘made available to UK domestic law.’ This is not specific enough in my opinion to be of any use in a future conviction and keeps the UK beholden to a treaty that we would no longer be a signatory of. I believe that it would be better to have the exact wording in full incorporated in a new animal welfare bill. We have many positive changes in strengthening animal welfare laws that have been announced and will need to be enacted so have opportunity to include a section about sentience before we leave the EU.
Based on the Animal Welfare Act the Animal Protection Index, maintained by World Animal Protection, rates the UK’s formal recognition of animal sentience as grade A. Other Lisbon Treaty signatories such as France, Italy and Spain do not enjoy this rating, having each received grade C. If you consider under current EU legislation, practices such as bullfighting, veal farming, froi gras ‘production’, live animal exports and cruel fur imports are all permitted, perhaps we are in a better position to pass legislation pertaining to animal welfare.
The draft Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill was published on 12 December. It sets out that the Government “must have regard to the welfare needs of animals as sentient beings in formulating and implementing government policy”. At the same time, the law will also increase the sentences available to the courts in the most severe cases of animal cruelty to up to five years’ imprisonment. Subject to consultation, Ministers will legislate to deliver both aims.
This comes as part of a wider programme of reform to cement the UK’s position as a global leader on animal welfare. Other recent steps include announcing plans to make CCTV mandatory in all abattoirs to ensure animals are treated humanely at the end of their lives, banning microbeads that can harm marine life and introducing Europe’s most comprehensive ban on the ivory trade, to protect the lives of endangered African elephants.
Once we have left the EU, we could do even more. EU rules prevent us from restricting or banning live animal export, cracking down on puppy smuggling or banning the import of puppies under six months. We are a nation of animal lovers so I am pleased at the commitment the Government has shown to making Brexit work not just for citizens, but for the animals we love and cherish too.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Paul Scully MP
Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park
- Wednesday, December 20, 2017 14:17Dear Mr Paul Scully MPI refer you to my previous email and request that you fulfil your duty as my MP and provide a ‘proper’ answer to my very important question – rather than the ‘standard’ response your office is sending out to numerous concerned citizens, that ‘avoids’ the issue completely. As you have taken such a long time to furnish this irrelevant reply, I shall now report this matter to 10 Downing Street.Yours SincerelyDr Adrian Wyles