The British government will introduce legislation that, among other things, will recognize animals as sentient beings.
On Wednesday, the British government unveiled a comprehensive plan to defend the animals, including tackling the smuggling of pups, a ban on importing hunting trophies for protected species, and even a possible ban on foie gras.
“Now that we have left the European Union, the UK has new freedoms to continue to enforce animal welfare standards and to consolidate its position as a global champion of animal rights,” the government said in a statement.
The executive will introduce legislation that, among other things, will recognize animals as “conscious” beings.
“We will lead animal protection abroad by imposing the most stringent ivory bans in the world and hunting trophies to protect distinctive species,” Environment Minister George Eustis said.
Measures range from amending the rules for importing cubs to banning monkeys being raised as pets, through restricting hunting birds with adhesive materials or banning the sale of ivory and the import of shark fins.
The government is also studying the possibility of banning the sale of foie gras, which animal advocates denounced as being produced through “torture”, and plans to ban ads in the UK about attractions that do not respect animal welfare, such as riding elephants.
He also wants to stop pet theft, a disaster during the pandemic, and make sure that animal welfare is not compromised in future trade negotiations that London wants to have with many countries.
“We cannot continue to ignore the inseparable links between the way we treat animals, our health, and the health of the planet,” said Chris Sherwood, Executive Director of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).
But the Vice President of the National Farmers’ Federation, Stuart Roberts, said the government should apply its strict rules on farm animals in countries such as Australia, with which London is conducting trade negotiations.
“It is absurd to raise standards in this country without applying them to countries with which we are seeking trade agreements,” he told the BBC.