The Government has launched a public consultation on its draft Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill.
The draft was created in response to recent public outrage after MPs voted to leave an EU clause which says animals are sentient out of domestic law following Brexit.
According to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs [DEFRA]: “[The proposed legislation] does two things.
“It states that animals are sentient beings and it increases the maximum penalty for animal welfare cruelty offences from six months to five years imprisonment.”
The consultation lasts for seven weeks, and ends on January 31, 2018.
This gives people an opportunity to share their thoughts on the draft bill.
According to DEFRA: “The Bill reflects the principle of animal sentience in domestic law and increases the maximum sentences for animal cruelty tenfold, from six months to five years in England and Wales.
“This draft Bill will embed the principle that animals are sentient beings, capable of feeling pain and pleasure.
“It contains an obligation, directed towards government, to pay regard to the welfare needs of animals when formulating and implementing government policy.
“The animal sentience provisions do not apply to policies which have been devolved to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The devolved administrations have the ability to take the same steps as we are proposing in devolved areas if they wish to do so.”