Brexit animals not sentientThread Started November 21 at 12:37PM
It's a strange thing, but this week it appears the UK's withdrawal from the EU renders animals incapable of feeling pain and emotion.
Most of the current legislation relating to animal welfare comes from the EU, but from March 2019, those laws will no longer apply. As part of withdrawal, the government is setting out its replacement policies for those areas of regulation formerly set by the EU. Under EU law animals are recognised as sentient beings, capable of feeling pain and emotion. Our MPs have quietly decided to drop this legal recognition of sentience.
Quite why is not entirely clear. Animals clearly do feel pain and emotion, so for what purpose might any new legislation deny that fact? My belief is that this is a precursor to dropping/cutting back agricultural subsidies to farmers. To sweeten the bitter pill of losing the (currently mostly EU funded) handouts our farmers have been receiving from the state since the war, it's possible that the strict welfare regulations concerning livestock may be relaxed somewhat, and that failing to include this statement in future animal welfare regulation will make it easier to lower the standards expected.
Farmers are facing possibly the biggest ever reform to subsidies. Successive governments have been trying to reduce farming subsidies for years, but have failed to do so because farming is an important area of our economy, and because land-owning farmers are influential members of the electorate.
Strangely enough, many such farmers were Brexiteers. I think they failed to realise that over 50% of their subsidies came from the EU. I only know because I worked for the department which offered environmental stewardship subsidies.
I also used to handle GFP (Good Farming Practice) reports, which dealt specifically with animal welfare. Some of them did not make pretty reading. For significant breaches of GFP, we could stop money from their environmental stewardship funding. But if that funding no longer exists, unscrupulous farmers may feel there is little incentive to keep their animals better. And if, by law, animals are no longer regarded as sentient beings, how much obligation will be placed on farmers to keep their livestock to a better standard?
I had heard (perhaps Steve might be able to clarify this) that when New Zealand's government stopped subsidising its farmers, regulations concerning animal welfare and environmental protection were considerably relaxed.
But is it really true that farmers must be subsidised to enable them to give consideration to animal welfare and environmental impact? Wouldn't a better plan be to stop supermarkets from ripping farmers off by paying pennies for their produce?
We need farmers. In a war, without being able to farm our own produce, we could be starved into submission. But must we allow farmers to rape our land and torture animals in the name of profit, all for us to have cheap meat and out-of-season veg?
The farming industry might be in need of overhaul in terms of subsidies, but that shouldn't be at the expense of the welfare of beings which are, indeed, sentient.
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Reply on November 21, 2017 01:36 PM
It seems almost criminal that a renegotiation of regulations protecting endangered species and our planet's natural resources is necessary because of political change.
Perhaps some of the laws were difficult for special interest groups to accept have over the years have become common sense. I see enough documentaries revealing animal cruelty on commercial farms to know there are still people who are immune to the pain another living creature can endure. The trophy hunters have little social conscience and slaughter animals for high. Yet, I'd like to think most people care and would defend animal rights.
Trump has negated so many regulations in manufacturing that it shows a disregard for clean water. Yes, he was about to repeal the law against importing the carcasses of exotic animals. I'm guessing publuc outrage put his pen onn pause.
I had no idea how much has to renegotiated under the Brexit mandate. Keep us posted. Your insights always teach me something.
Reply on November 21, 2017 02:06 PM
Well, a lot of folks don't realise how much of our legislation is tied up with the EU. Many worry about the effect Brexit might have on human rights legislation. The common response is, 'we had those laws before', but actually, did we?
It would be interesting to see how human and animal rights legislation changed when we first joined the EU. And it will be interesting to see how those regulations are altered as the UK exits.
But the biggest issue will be funding. Many are of the opinion that the UK gives and gives, but gets nothing back. They don't appreciate how much money comes back to us through the EU. EU money has regenerated huge areas in Wales and the North of England, traditionally areas neglected by Westminster.
Going forward, to utilise the money we are no longer giving to the EU, we will need to ensure the kind of even distribution using funding from the EU gave us.
Nationally, the electorate needed to have a far better understanding of what would be affected, what we gained and lost from EU membership, and what legislation we might gain or lose BEFORE voting. Too many people had no clue (and still don't) how much of our legislation was tied up in the EU. Too many people thought it was all about straight bananas and Brussels bossing us about. It wasn't that simple.
Whether we should or should not have remained in the EU is debatable, but the fact is, voters on both sides weren't in possession of all the facts, because our MPS fighting on one side or the other don't appear to have been, either. Nobody had a proper plan for brexit, because nobody thought it would actually happen. The prime movers and shakers in persuading us to leave have slunk off into the night, it seems, without leaving any kind of exit strategy behind. Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP (UK independence party) had only one wish. To get us out of the EU. Interestingly enough, when his party achieved their main aim, he resigned, and walked away. He didn't want to deal with the mess, because he hadn't bothered to actually think that far ahead.
Because absolutely nobody had a real plan, the MPs who can't just bugger off, who actually have to deal with the reality of Brexit, are making it up as they go.
I don't say we should have stayed because it might have been easier. I'm wishing that all these charismatic fools who told the public what they wanted to hear had actually put some thought into how to do this without losing some of the useful stuff and without it costing us an arm and a leg. Over a quarter of those who voted 'leave' now feel they were lied to about how much better off we'd be, when the truth was, nobody really knew what would happen.
We will see.
Reply on November 21, 2017 05:13 PM << Modifed November 21 at 5:19PM >>
For some reason, this post reminds me of the story of when young Prince Charles announced he was planning on visiting Australia to attend school at Melbourne Grammar. His mother, realising that Melbourne could get quite cool in the winter, advised "Australia? Wear the fox hat." Misunderstanding, Charles replied - "Oh, it's a little island off the west coast of New Zealand." Well, maybe Emma will get it, or Steve - no one else is likely to.
At the risk of bringing down the wrath of Emma, I'll make my usual point here. I believe the idea of "humane farming" is an oxymoron. No animal wants to die, and if I wouldn't eat my own children to satisfy my hunger, I can't see why I should eat someone else's - along with all the pain and suffering that entails.
Yes, to be sure, traditional livestock production might be somewhat "better" than the heartless factory farming that goes on today, but the image of happy cows on happy sun-drenched farms eating happy fresh green grass until the day their skull is smashed in with a metal bolt prior to having their throat slit and being hung up to bleed out - and that's the "lucky" ones - is far from the truth of what actually goes on. All meat production is inhumane.
As Linda McCartney famously said (sometimes it's attributed to Paul) - "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian."
As humans, our attitudes on this subject are severely distorted. We see one mammal species as our best friend, while other animal species, just as sentient, as intelligent, as feeling, we see as lunch. Who hasn't seen pictures of skinned dogs hanging up on hooks in China, waiting for someone to take them home for dinner, and been totally sickened and revolted? Yet why is it not equally revolting if it is a sheep or a cow or a pig on that same hook?
Reply on November 21, 2017 06:01 PM
Your comments make complete, total, logical sense, Craig. I don't understand the disconnect between one animal over another either, so I won't be offering much fodder for debate, at least not yet.
But I did want to say I got the fox hat part. Most amusing. :))
Reply on November 21, 2017 06:19 PM
Silly me, Gloria. I was forgetting that there are other colonials here who are not from South of the equator :)
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