European Union (Withdrawal) Bill — New Clause 30 — Animal Sentience and Animal Welfare — 15 Nov 2017 at 21:45
The majority of MPs voted against recognising animals as sentient beings and against paying full regard to animal welfare requirements.
The majority of MPs voted against transposing a requirement derived from a European Union treaty for animals to be recognised as sentient beings, and for full regard to be given to animal welfare requirements, into UK law so it would continue to have effect if the UK left the European Union.
Article 50 of the consolidated (as amended) Treaty on the European Union states the "[European Union] Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question" on a state's withdrawal from the European Union". Prior to this vote the United Kingdom had given notice of withdrawal from the European Union under Article 50.
The concept of considering animals as sentient beings did not otherwise appear in UK legislation at the time of the vote. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 does contain some provisions relating to animal welfare but they are not as broad as those within the European Union treaties.
A week after the vote Environment Minister Michael Gove issued a written ministerial statement saying:
- It has been suggested that the vote last week on New Clause 30 of the EU Withdrawal Bill somehow signalled a weakening in the protection of animals - that is wrong. Voting against the amendment was not a vote against the idea that animals are sentient and feel pain - that is a misconception.
MPs were considering the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.
The proposed new clause rejected in this vote was titled: EU Protocol on Animal Sentience and stated:
- “Obligations and rights contained within the EU Protocol on animal sentience set out in Article 13 of Title II of the Lisbon Treaty shall be recognised and available in domestic law on and after exit day, and shall be enforced and followed accordingly.”
An explanatory note accompanying the rejected new clause stated:
- This new clause seeks to transfer the EU Protocol on animal sentience set out in Article 13 of Title II of the Lisbon Treaty into UK law, so that animals continue to be recognised as sentient beings under domestic law.
Article 13 of Title II of 2007 Lisbon treaty referred to states:
- In formulating and implementing the Union's agriculture, fisheries, transport, internal market, research and technological development and space policies, the Union and the Member States shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals, while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of the Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage.
That text has now become Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The reference to a protocol appears likely to be due to confusion with the: "Protocol on protection and welfare of animals" contained within the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam which provided for an annex to the treaty stating:
- In formulating and implementing the Community's agriculture, transport, internal market and research policies, the Community and the Member States shall pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals, while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of the Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage.
The protocol in the 1997 treaty appears to be a precursor to the article in the 2007 treaty.
The vote was on the motion:
- That the clause be read a Second time.
The rejection of the motion meant the proposed new clause was rejected.
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (No)||Minority (Aye)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||304 (+2 tell)||0||0||96.5%|
|LDem||0||11 (+1 tell)||0||100.0%|
|SNP||0||33 (+1 tell)||0||97.1%|