Should we play politics with animals' feelings?

Conor O'Gorman

Well-Known Member
Official Member
‘Dogs are no smarter than pigeons’, said scientists and journalists following a 2018 review of animal brain power.

Yet, everyday millions of people walk blithely by urban pigeons with missing feet and broken wings; suffering and emotionless in silence.

How many of us would walk past a Labrador pup in the street dragging a broken leg, whining loudly and seeking our compassion with feeling eyes that pierce our soul?

Such is the conundrum politicians currently face in trying to square scientific evidence with unconscious bias in the government’s new Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill.

In May the government published its action plan for animal welfare stating that it wanted to recognise animals as sentient beings in law. This in turn would lead to government ministers being held accountable to Parliament for the way they take animal welfare into account when making policy decisions.

So, it was surprising that when the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill was introduced to the House of Lords that the Bill did not define animal sentience.

Rather, the Bill seeks to create an animal sentience committee that would scrutinise all government policy. Moreover, it would also make recommendations on whether or not the government has due regard to animal sentience; all without an agreed definition of animal sentience.

Since the advent of these policy developments, BASC has joined forces with the Angling Trust to brief politicians and civil servants on the potential impact the Bill could have on sustainable shooting and angling, leaving country sports vulnerable to those seeking a ban or severe curtailment.

The All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Shooting and Angling have been discussing the Bill, which will soon move from the House of Lords to the House of Commons for debate.

MPs will also be scrutinising the Bill through an inquiry by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee which BASC has submitted a response to.

Policy development around animal welfare and sentience will continue to be politically volatile.

A recent Lords debate on the Bill was heated, with peers scathing about proposals that could open up a Pandora’s box of unintended consequences for society. Not to mention a potential barrage of judicial reviews.

While an animal rights agenda may resonate in some Whitehall circles and on social media, rural MPs could soon find themselves defending policies that are out of touch with their constituents.
 

Husky

Well-Known Member
Scientist's now say that plants are sentient, surely it's discriminatory to not include plants in the Bill ?
If I was a carrot I would want the same protection as an animal !
 

stevec

Well-Known Member
This is a really good point. I question the ethics of insect based protine, given how many insects have to die to produce it. I might be a bit soft, but it doesn't sit well with me. Saying that, I have been cheerfully swatting horseflies off my neck all day without a second thought.
 

Fadcode

Well-Known Member
There are already plans underway to stop Zoos, Circuses, and indeed to stop recreational fishing, and it is easy to see where this is going, eventually they want to ban any danger to animals or stop any exploitation of what they see as exploitation to any animal.
It is an ill thought out strategy, because eventually it will come in conflict with the majority of people, as the restrictions expand, eventually they will have to call for the banning of dogs, Horses, cats, they can't be seen to be discriminating against certain animals, and exploiting others, and i am sure the public at large won't put up with it.
You have to look at the instigators and try to fathom their motives, a bit like the call to eat less meat, wouldn't this mean a massive culling of animals as they would no longer be economic to keep, and as these non economic animals are sentient would a cull not be actually cruel? But you won't find a Vegan agreeing with that.
Why is it that the people with oddities, (and I apologise if I offend anyone by saying that), always try to preach and convert others, why don't they just do their thing and get on with life.
I myself have a few oddities, but they are mine, and I keep them to myself, they are nobody else's business.
 

Buckaroo8

Well-Known Member
Conor,
You really want to **** these people up??
…..Open a sanctuary for urban pigeons with missing feet.
That way, we can say “nobody cares more about paraplegic pigeons than US!!”
We can do this, just start up a “just giving” page and we can begin raising funds to help these birds
 

Pete1774

Well-Known Member
Animal sentience is almost impossible to define or measure and has parallels with Anthropomorphisn. The attribution of human characteristics or behaviours to animals, is often used as an emotional tool by the antis to generate pulic support for their views and yet has little, if any basis in science. There have been several papers published in psychological journals which examine the reasons for this human behaviour, noteably ones where human characteristics were attributed even to robots and AI entities. As children we a brought up to ascribe anthopomorphic properties to inanimate objects such as toy animals and many of the old Disney films gave animals almost human like qualities so it is hardly surprising that we readily ascribe human emotions to animals. This is not to say that we can abandon the principles of humane dispatch of animals when hunting or slaughtering animals for food etc. The problem is that if the sentience bills gets into law without any evidence base then how do we decide which creatures are sentient and which are not? Is fly spray cruel? Should all insecticides be banned? I have owned several snakes for many years and they certainly exhibit behaviours which on simple observation could be seen as sentient but that does not mean a snake can exerience human like emotions. A snake has a tiny brain, most of which is concerned with movement and prey detection leaving little to process the complex data of emotional response. Many of our primate cousins display social behaviours whch are close to our own and it is not unreasonable to believe that they experience emotions and feeling which would not be far removed from our own. Rabbits and many other mammal species exhibit social behaviours but where does sentience stop? Bees and ants exhibit a high level of social organisation so is an individual bee or ant sentient? Most big cats live solitary lives and have little social interaction so are they less sentient than bees? As someone once said, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
 

Buckaroo8

Well-Known Member
Animal sentience is almost impossible to define or measure and has parallels with Anthropomorphisn. The attribution of human characteristics or behaviours to animals, is often used as an emotional tool by the antis to generate pulic support for their views and yet has little, if any basis in science. There have been several papers published in psychological journals which examine the reasons for this human behaviour, noteably ones where human characteristics were attributed even to robots and AI entities. As children we a brought up to ascribe anthopomorphic properties to inanimate objects such as toy animals and many of the old Disney films gave animals almost human like qualities so it is hardly surprising that we readily ascribe human emotions to animals. This is not to say that we can abandon the principles of humane dispatch of animals when hunting or slaughtering animals for food etc. The problem is that if the sentience bills gets into law without any evidence base then how do we decide which creatures are sentient and which are not? Is fly spray cruel? Should all insecticides be banned? I have owned several snakes for many years and they certainly exhibit behaviours which on simple observation could be seen as sentient but that does not mean a snake can exerience human like emotions. A snake has a tiny brain, most of which is concerned with movement and prey detection leaving little to process the complex data of emotional response. Many of our primate cousins display social behaviours whch are close to our own and it is not unreasonable to believe that they experience emotions and feeling which would not be far removed from our own. Rabbits and many other mammal species exhibit social behaviours but where does sentience stop? Bees and ants exhibit a high level of social organisation so is an individual bee or ant sentient? Most big cats live solitary lives and have little social interaction so are they less sentient than bees? As someone once said, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Interesting
 

Greymaster

Well-Known Member
Surely the obvious exemption to respecting animal sentience is to utter a prayer to your god before inflicting death upon it. You could even have an annual festival where you throw such animals off the roof or a building, or boil them alive, (lobsters are going to be spared this fate but not dogs in China). you could even gather with like minded friends and have a mass ritual sacrifice of sentient creatures provided the perpetrators utter their prayer beforehand.
 

John Gryphon

Well-Known Member
I don`t see any rescue services helping out the many one legged seagulls here. Fish snip a leg off when the birds are sitting on the water,should we be doing something about the horrible cruel fish?
 
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