The UK is considering legal protections for animals’ feelings — so what do animals ‘feel’?

Lesnye Klyuchi fur farm in Russia’s Stavropol Territory
A mink with kits in a cage at a fur farm in Pelagiada, Russia. | Photo by Ruslan Shamukov / TASS / Getty Images

Animals with spines in the UK could soon be legally recognized as “sentient” beings with feelings if a bill being debated in Parliament moves forward. Should the bill become law, it could get lawmakers to consider animals’ feelings, like pain or even joy, when crafting any new policy. The bill is part of a larger push by the government to set high standards for animal welfare in the country.

That raises a lot of questions for humans. Are animals used for food or fur bored in their pens, for instance? And what do you do with an individual who might react differently to a situation than its peers, based on its unique personality?

If passed, the bill would create an “Animal Sentience…

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Author: Justine Calma