The recognition that animals are sentient lies at the centre of Vegan Conservatives policy.  We believe in animals’ capacity to have subjective experiences and to feel in both positive and negative ways. That is a key reason as to why we have chosen plant-based lifestyles. In our view Ministers must have regard to the welfare needs of animals as sentient beings in formulating and implementing government policy.

Sentience matters to the scope of UK animal welfare law and we believe that economic concerns can be balanced with the application of an animal sentience precautionary principle. A lack of scientific consensus should not be used as a reason to not move forward with reducing and ending negative animal welfare outcomes. It was not long ago that there was a widely-held view that fish do not feel pain, but ground-breaking research discovered that they can. In other mammals we can point to shared neural mechanism but this is not the case for invertebrates and this results in severe uncertainty which does not help us in our ambition to stand as a country with the highest welfare standards.

  • Vegan Conservatives are pleased that Government is putting animal sentience into law with the Animal Sentience Bill currently making its way through Parliament. We believe this Government has a real opportunity to set the benchmark and shape a strong, ethical and prosperous export market by eliminating these uncertainties and establishing a clear position on sentience. We need to find ways to manage the ambiguity around some species’ experience of the world around them and be willing to make precautionary attributions of sentience on the basis of evidence that may not be conclusive and which may be limited to small numbers of a species.
  • Vegan Conservatives suggests that as invertebrates were not included within the scope of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, that they are now included within the new Bill.
  • We would also ask that an acceptance of sentience in law goes side by side with other pieces of legislation in which we seek to improve the welfare of farm animals. This means an end of the use of cages, narrow stalls and over-crowded sheds which restrict natural behaviour through the application of animal welfare outcome measures and relevant funding to support those farmers who do move towards higher standards. It is urgent that farming systems and practices adopt methods which recognise animal sentience to really make a big difference to welfare.


Live exports ban comes a step closer

The Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill had its first reading in the House of Lords today after passing its remaining stages in the House of Commons last night. It means that the bill is progressing through Parliament and that live exports are a step closer to being banned.

Conservative manifesto must contain more for animals

Vegan Conservatives support the call for Rishi Sunak to include animal-friendly policies in the next Conservative manifesto. The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation has published a raft of proposals for the PM to consider, including:-

Shark Fins Act passes into law

Vegan Conservatives welcome the passing into law of the Shark Fins Act, which further strengthens existing legislation to support shark conservation, by banning the import and export of detached shark fins in the UK.

Vegan Conservatives welcome ivory ban extension

The Vegan Conservatives have welcomed news this morning that the Government plans to extend the ivory ban to include more species: hippos, walruses, orcas, narwhals and sperm whales, all of which are listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES).

SNP condemned over massive salmon deaths

Scottish Conservatives have joined Labour and the Greens to demand an inquiry into the staggering number of deaths at Scotland's salmon farms last year.

Horrendous conditions on UK factory farms

An investigation by World Animal Protection has uncovered "appalling" but completely legal abuse in UK factory farms. The charity discovered piglets with their tails cut, pigs in metal cages and chickens bred to be so deformed that they were struggling to breathe.

Dropping more animal welfare bills would be disappointing

Rumours are that, following Zac Goldsmith's sacking from Government, PM Liz Truss is likely to drop more parts of the Action Plan for Animal Welfare. The Animals (Abroad) Bill was ditched last week and it is possible that more parts of the plan will also be discarded.

Government drops Animals (Abroad) Bill

After being put on hold in May, following doubts about an outright ban on foie gras and using bear skin for military hats, Vegan Conservatives are disappointed to learn that the Animals (Abroad) Bill has been dropped and will not receive any more Parliamentary time.