Michael Gove blames social media for 'distorting' animal sentience vote

Posted On: 
24th November 2017

Michael Gove has hit out at the way social media “corrupts” and “distorts” news following reports that MPs had voted to weaken animal rights following Brexit.

Enviroment Secretary Michael Gove
PA Images

Earlier this week MPs voted not to write part of an EU treaty recognising animals as "sentient beings" that feel emotion and pain into the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The defeated amendment then led to news reports and claims on social media that Tories had voted to water down animal welfare rights.

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Mr Gove yesterday issued a statement however, insisting that MPs had voted down the amendment because it was "faulty" and that the UK would have more freedom to strengthen its animal welfare stance following Brexit.

"On social media there was a suggestion that somehow MPs had voted against the principle that animals were sentient beings. That did not happen. That was absolutely wrong," Mr Gove told the Today programme this morning. 

"There’s an unhappy tendency now to believe what is shared on social media is more reliable than what is shared on Hansard or the BBC.

"We’ve got to stand up to the way social media corrupts and distorting both reporting affects reporting and decision making. 

He added: “We’ve got an opportunity to do that today but it’s important that all of us do that.

"And some of those who have shared some of the messages on social media have been generous enough to acknowledge that in their zeal and in their desire to make sure maintain we’ve maintained the very highest standards that they may have unwittingly passed these message on.”