Thank you for contacting me about the parliamentary petitions on animal sentience and caged farm animals.

I agree we must seek to end this ‘cage age’ of outdated farming practices that cause animals distress and restrict natural behaviours. I support ending the use of cages on British farms by 2025, allowing producers time to plan and make necessary changes. I also support a phased ban on sow farrowing crates with a reasonable phase out period, replacing them with safe, free-farrowing systems.

It is vital that we enshrine the principle of animal sentience in law to prevent practices that expose both wild and domestic animals to cruel and degrading treatment, and to ensure that government and public bodies must have due regard to animal sentience.

The petitions were scheduled for debate in Parliament on 9 September 2019, however, the debate was postponed due to Parliament being prorogued that week and it was not rescheduled before the general election was called. As both petitions received over 100,000 signatures, they will be considered for debate in the new Parliament once the new Petitions Committee is set up.

The Government said in September 2019 that it is actively looking into the use of cages and will consider the full range of options that are available for future reform. It said it is committed to making any necessary changes required to UK law in a rigorous and comprehensive way to ensure animal sentience is recognised after the UK leaves the EU. However, two years on from the initial proposals, the Government has yet to bring forward this promised legislation. I urge the Government to introduce legislation to enshrine animal sentience in law as soon as possible.

Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue. I will continue to follow developments on this issue closely.

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