The Lisbon Treaty: Recognizing Animal Sentience
An Animal Rights Article from


Compassion in World Farming

"A sentient animal is one for whom feelings matter"
- John Webster, Professor Emeritus, University of Bristol

The Lisbon Treaty is good news for farm animals. It brings a greater opportunity to improve the lives of billions of individual animals, each one a sentient being with intrinsic value.

Back in 1991, Compassion in World Farming submitted a petition to the European Parliament, calling for animals to be recognized as sentient beings, capable of suffering. This was accepted as a ‘treaty declaration’ which is not legally binding, but nonetheless a significant first step on the road. Then, in 1997 with the Treaty of Amsterdam, it became a Protocol, with legal status. The new Lisbon Treaty, in force from December 1st 2009, includes animal sentience as an Article, meaning that recognition of animal sentience is now in the main body of the Treaty and carries considerably more weight.

This Article will give us more strength in our negotiations with governments and policy-makers and in monitoring enforcement of the laws that are already in place. For example, the requirement for ‘full regard’ to be paid to the welfare requirements of animals is a crucial one, as sadly modern farming systems all too often fall short of this. We can now take this legislation and ensure that it is used as a strong tool for lobbying and secure a better future for farm animals.

From the beginning, our supporters have played an enormous part in making this progress possible and we will be counting on your support in turning this legislation into action.

Compassion in World Farming and Animal Sentience

Farm animals are sentient beings. This means they can feel pain and suffer; learn from experience; make choices; feel joy, fear or misery; and enjoy the company of others.

Keep up to date with the latest news on animal sentience! Visit Animal Sentience for scientific material and Lives Of Animals for news, stories, photos and film clips about amazing animals from around the world.

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