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Animal charity calls on MSPs to back motion to continue to recognise animal sentience in Scotland after Brexit

The move comes after a Westminster vote to scrap EU legislation which recognises non-human animals as sentient beings. (iStock)
The move comes after a Westminster vote to scrap EU legislation which recognises non-human animals as sentient beings. (iStock)

ANIMAL protection charity OneKind has called on MSPs to support a motion to maintain the legal recognition of animal sentience after Scotland leaves the European Union.

The motion was put forward by Mark Ruskell, MSP for Scottish Greens.

The move comes after a Westminster vote to scrap EU legislation which recognises non-human animals as sentient beings.

Mark Ruskell MSP, the Scottish Greens’ environment spokesperson, said the Westminster government’s decision has ‘opened the door to animal suffering’.

He said: “We are a nation of animal lovers, but the Westminster government has now opened the door to animal suffering in an utterly reckless move to abandon legal protection.

“There’s a real opportunity for the Scottish Government to step in and ensure that animal welfare remains high on the agenda, at least in one part of Britain, and I’ll be urging ministers to embed hard won European protections for animals into our own laws.”

OneKind Director Harry Huyton said backing the motion was ‘Scotland’s chance to show the world that we’re a progressive country’.

He said: “We’ve been told repeatedly that Brexit won’t lead to a race to the bottom on animal welfare, yet MPs look set to break this promise at their first opportunity.

“Animal welfare is a devolved issue, however, so we’re calling on Holyrood to rise to the challenge and lead the way for the UK. A commitment from the Scottish Government to this principle would not only be good for Scotland’s animals, it will increase the pressure on Westminster to follow suit.

After Westminster failed to recognised animals as sentient being as part of the EU Withdrawal Bill, this is Scotland’s chance to show the world that we’re a progressive country that values and protects our animals.”