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Lyth-based PETA activist 'so happy' over Animal Welfare Bill


By David G Scott

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The Highland representative of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) talked about her joy after learning about yesterday's Animal Welfare Bill by the UK Government.

The Bill states that animals are to be "formally recognised as sentient beings in domestic law" and was introduced as part of the government’s first of a kind Action Plan for Animal Welfare.

"After decades of campaigning, finally we are able to say that animals are being recognised as sentient beings in UK law for the first time," said Highland Peta representative Natalie Oag who runs a riding stable at Lyth.

Lyth animal activist Natalie Oag with her faithful companion Louis Vuitton the chihuahua. Picture: DGS
Lyth animal activist Natalie Oag with her faithful companion Louis Vuitton the chihuahua. Picture: DGS

"This is a huge victory for animals and a day to celebrate. We are moving forwards and finally acknowledging animals and turning a corner after a long battle. It’s all been worth it to hear the new measures set by the government, including halting most animal live export and banning the import of hunting trophies."

The reform will be introduced through a series of bills, including an Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, and will cover farm animals and pets in the UK. There will also be protection for animals abroad, through bans in ivory, shark fins, and a potential ban on foie gras in which ducks and geese are force-fed to enlarge the liver 10 times its normal size for the so-called delicacy sold in upmarket restaurants.

Launching the Bill, Animal Welfare minister Lord Goldsmith said: "The UK has always led the way on animal welfare and now that we’ve left the EU we are free to drive for the highest standards of animal welfare anywhere in the world.

"Formally recognising in law that animals are sentient and experience feelings in the same way humans do is just the first step in our flagship Action Plan for Animal Welfare which will further transform the lives of animals in this country and strengthen our position as a global leader."

Natalie said that measures such as microchipping cats, laws to tackle puppy smuggling, and stopping people keeping primates as pets, have been several years in preparation. "Others, such as the restriction of live animal exports, have taken decades of campaigning to achieve.

Natalie in an earlier campaign to end the battery cage farming of hens. Picture: DGS
Natalie in an earlier campaign to end the battery cage farming of hens. Picture: DGS

"As an animal activist I feel this is a huge accomplishment and shall continue to fight on and on until my goal is achieved – that man will treat all animals with the utmost care and respect in the way he wishes to be treated himself."

By enshrining sentience in domestic law in this way, any new legislation will have to take into account the fact that "animals can experience feelings such as pain or joy", states the government Bill.

"My new campaign is to end the use of sow crates. I've spent 10 years doing petitions to end live export of farm animals and thought I would give up. Now I’m so happy," said Natalie.

Details of the Bill can be viewed on the UK Government website at www.gov.uk/government/news/animals-to-be-formally-recognised-as-sentient-beings-in-domestic-law

Related article:

Natalie's bid to save the bumblebee


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