Sentient – adjective – able to perceive or feel things.
Most of the UK’s animal welfare law comes from the EU, so it is quite interesting right now as part of Brexit whether MP’s in Parliament are choosing to continue the EU legislation word for word or water it down for a future UK outside the EU. The first step, with MP’s saying that animals are NOT sentient, seems to show they are not going to see animals as creatures that perceive and feel things. The RSPCA said to Farming UK: “It’s shocking that MPs have given the thumbs down to incorporating animal sentience into post-Brexit UK law.” Meanwhile Nick Palmer, head of policy at Compassion in World Farming, said: “How can the UK be seen as a leader in animal welfare when the repeal bill fails to guarantee that animals will continue to be regarded as sentient beings? We urge the Government to reintroduce the commitment into the Bill.”
Some countries like New Zealand have shown far greater consideration of animal rights:
Due to the threat of Bird Flu so many hens are having to be kept indoors that their eggs might have to lose their prized status as Free Range and be down-graded to Barn Produced. In December the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ordered that all free range hens – providing eggs or meat – be housed to protect against the threat of the H5N8 influenza virus. As new cases of Birrd Flu have been found in birds in Lincolnshire, Wales, Yorkshire and Lancashire, the order has been extended. If it continues into February then Free Range birds will lose that classification because they won’t have been out stretching their legs enough.
The local authorities in Brittany, France are investigating whether a jogger who had a heart attack was overcome by toxic fumes from sea lettuce which then resulted in his death. This had lead to Jersey, part of the Channel Islands, stepping up their monitoring of sea lettuce as the risks to humans becomes more apparent. Already, decomposing sea lettuce is linked to the death of wild boar and horses with the new fear that it could be toxic to humans too.
St Aubin’s Bay on Jersey is a perfect breeding ground for sea lettuce because of its position– it is sheltered and sandy – and because it is rich in nitrates washed from farms in Jersey and northern France, and from the Bellozanne sewage treatment works. When the sea lettuce decomposes it gives off an eggy whiff – sulphurous gases – which means local residents and businesses have to keep their windows closed. People blame the tonnes of fertiliser used in the Jersey potato farms and the island’s growing population on the amount of sewage. All of this stinky sea lettuce is a good example of humans polluting their local environment. Are they being good stewards?
During the last two weeks in Year 11 we’ve been discussing the value and importance of animals as pets, working animals and farm animals. Students have considered factors like companionship, being members of the family and help for health reasons, as strong reasons why some people place a high level of importance on animals.
Well today a new study shows that growing up on a farm is good for you. ‘Farm kids’ were 54 per cent less likely to have asthma or hay fever and 57 per cent less likely to have allergic nasal symptoms than their urban counterparts.’
In her book the ‘Ethical Carnivore’ Louise Gray describes her first visit to an abattoir. Now if this is something you’d like to find out more about, please do read the link here to sample some of her book. If the thought of finding out how animals are killed makes you feel queasy then it’s best avoided.