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What difference will the new Prime Minister make for decapods?

What’s Happening in Government?

After a tumultuous spring in Westminster the resignation of Boris Johnson means that Conservative members are spending the summer attending hustings and choosing between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to be the next UK Prime Minister.

While much of the debate between the two candidates so far has focused on the economy, tax policy and tackling the cost of living crisis – the contest also has the potential to be significant for animal welfare issues, including issues that Crustacean Compassion is currently campaigning on.

How does the Prime Minister Impact Animal Welfare? The winner of the contest will be announced on Monday 5 September, before becoming Prime Minister the next day. One of their first jobs will then be to appoint a new cabinet to run government departments. These posts will include a Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, currently George Eustice MP, who will give political leadership on a range of animal welfare issues including the next steps for improving welfare for decapod crustaceans.

Since the report from the London School of Economics last year emphatically concluded that decapods are sentient and feel pain, pressure has been growing to include crabs, prawns and lobsters in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (which regulates the use of animals in science) as well as clarifying the position regarding boiling alive and live transport.

The civil servants have been working behind the scenes on future plans for animal welfare since the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act passed through Parliament in April – recognising decapods as sentient in law for the first time. Those civil servants don’t change when the new Prime Minister comes in, but they will be taking a steer from Ministers on their priorities.

It isn’t just decapod crustaceans that could be affected by the change at the top of government. Various improvements to animal welfare were thought to have the direct support of Boris Johnson, and while the Conservatives Action Plan for Animal Welfare is likely to still be official policy, and the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation continue to be supportive, the level of priority that animal welfare will be given remains to be seen.

Take Action Now to Help Animals

Crustacean Compassion are continuing to push for improvements to decapod welfare as well as working with our colleagues in the Better Deal For Animals coalition to call for wider improvements.

As part of this push, alongside 34 other UK animal welfare organisations, we wrote to the two Prime Ministerial candidates asking them to prioritise animal welfare. We need your help too! Follow the link to send our pre-written letter to both candidates:

It only takes one minute to make a big difference by ensuring the new Prime Minister understands how strongly voters feel about protecting animals from suffering #ActionForAnimals


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