Devon County Council cabinet to debate animal rights motion

PUBLISHED: 11:17 10 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:17 10 January 2018

Councillor Claire Wright

Councillor Claire Wright

Archant

A councillor’s motion demanding Government commitment on higher animal welfare standards will be debated today (Wednesday) at Devon County Council’s cabinet meeting.

Last November MPs voted to omit an EU clause which recognised animals as sentient beings, forming one of the most controversial events since the British public voted to leave the union.

And the result prompted Councillor Claire Wright to submit a motion which is due to be debated at Devon County Council’s cabinet meeting today.

Following November’s vote, in an article on Cllr Wright’s website, she wrote: “The impact of this vote seems obvious.

“It could mean that the Government finds it easier to do deals with countries with poor animal welfare standards after we leave the European Union.

“It could also mean that it is able to get away with policy that damages the welfare of animals in some way, without the ability of anyone to challenge this in law.”

The clause MPs voted to omit was Article 13 in EU law, which dictated the state was responsible for animal welfare, not just the keeper of the animal, which is the UK law.

The motion states the council was ‘disappointed’ that the Government voted to omit the ‘important’ clause in EU law relating to animal welfare.

It also states the council ‘backed calls from the British Veterinary Association to commit to an appropriate timeframe to reinstate the vital obligation in EU law in Article 13’.

This relates to the fact that in December the Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove announced animal sentience would be included in domestic law – but did not say when.

And it is a lack of clarity on timings which Cllr Wright says forms the ‘main thrust’ of the motion being debated by Devon County councillors today.

In an introductory statement she sent to councillors with the motion, Cllr Wright said Mr Gove’s announcements on animal welfare and environmental issues ‘fell short’ in this area.

She said: “I don’t believe 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.”

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