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I urge Devon County Council cabinet to back my motion on animal sentience, despite Gove u-turn

Monday, 08 January 2018 0 Comments by Claire

I am unable to be present at Wednesday’s Devon County Council cabinet meeting where my motion on animal sentience will be debated - see -

But I have submitted the following statement to portfolioholders and leader of the council urging them to back my motion, despite Environment Secretary, Michael Gove’s climbdown on including animal sentience in domestic law. 

When the news broke of the government omitting a commitment on animal sentience, which would have resulted in a move away from state responsibility for animal welfare, there was a huge outcry across the country. I very much hope Devon County Council’s cabinet will support my motion to extract a firm commitment from the government on the timing for including this matter in domestic law. 

Please see the email sent to officers below, for the full detail:

I welcome Environment Secretary of State Michael Gove’s announcement last month, in which he gave assurances that animal sentience would be included in domestic law at a future unknown date.

However, the main thrust of my motion is about a firm commitment by the government on timing.

There have been a number of good news policy announcements from Mr Gove in recent weeks on animal welfare and environmental issues, however, these largely fall short of a commitment on timing and I don’t believe that any of them have yet resulted in a published Bill except banning microbeads in ‘rinse off’ cosmetics – something that the industry was already preparing for.

Many people are also understandably sceptical about the government’s commitment to animal welfare after the Conservative 2017 general election manifesto included a pledge on holding a free vote on bringing back fox hunting.

Additionally, it is important to note that banning wild animals in circuses, which has been a Conservative manifesto commitment for several years, has still not been enacted.

I stand by every word in my motion on animal sentience and urge the cabinet to support it. It is a subject close to many people’s hearts – in Devon and across the country.

My apologies once again for being unable to be present on Wednesday to put my case.

Best wishes


Pic:  Molly - my daughter’s very sweet and very energetic cockapoo!


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