The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the Angling Trust are working together to lobby on the upcoming Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill and the potential impacts the law could have on sustainable shooting and angling.
BASC and the Angling Trust – representing over 3 million people who shoot and fish – have created a joint brief prior to the Second Reading in the House of Lords on 16 June. The brief was discussed in detail at a joint meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Shooting and Angling.
The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill creates an animal sentience committee which will scrutinise all government policy and make recommendations on whether or not the government has due regard to animal sentience.
Questions on the necessity of the Bill, especially seeing that the Animal Welfare Act 2006 was described as sufficient during Brexit discussions, were raised at the meeting and parliamentarians were asked to seek clarification during the Second Reading on the remit and powers of the Committee.
Christopher Graffius, BASC’s executive director of communications and public affairs, said: “We all agree that animals are sentient beings. Our concerns relate to the uncertainties around the Committee, the lack of definition and how animal rights extremists can hijack the process.”
Martin Salter, Head of Policy at the Angling Trust, said: “The open-ended nature of the current Bill clearly leaves it vulnerable to mission creep which will be exploited by those wishing to ban or severely curtail country sports such as fishing and shooting.
“Further clarification is required and that message has been made loud and clear to parliamentarians.”