The Angling Trust highlighted a potential threat to our beloved sport this week.
They unearthed a new Bill that potentially opens the door for animal rights activists to unnecessarily challenge angling and other field sports. The Bill is an update to the Animal Welfare Act of 2006 and is known as the Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill. Basically, the new Bill seeks to increase the sentences for animal cruelty and also write into law the concept of animals as ‘sentient beings’. However experts have advised that this definition could open the door for legal challenges with the angling world. As such, the Chief Executive of the Angling Trust, Mark Lloyd, has written to Michael Gove.
Mark wrote: “During the passage of the 2006 Animal Welfare Act, the then Government was so concerned that their new law should not be used to challenge the legitimacy of angling as a sport and fish were specifically excluded from the definition of ‘animal’ in the legislation. Should you decide to proceed with this Bill we urge you on behalf of the UK’s three million anglers to adopt a similar approach and to ensure that one of the nation’s most popular outdoor activities is not threatened in any way”
Anglers are being urged to forward this information onto their local MP, to highlight the risk to angling. Nothing is of course cemented yet, but if what the experts say becomes true, the angling world could be hit hard.