Falmouth and Helston's MPs have voted against recognising animals as sentient beings under UK law as the government continues to transfer EU legislation ahead of Brexit.

St Ives MP Derek Thomas and Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton, along with Camborne and Redruth MP George Eustice - also Minister of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - voted with the government against an amendment to bring the recognition of animal sentience from EU to UK law last week.

The amendment's proposer, Green MP Caroline Lucas, said she had raised the matter as the recognition of animal sentience had been enshrined in EU law as part of the Lisbon Treaty in 1999, and as the treaty was not due to be transferred along with other legislation, she was merely closing a "loophole," something which parliament "could very easily rectify."

She pointed out that the UK had originally pushed for the inclusion of the original clause by the EU, recognising that animals were "not simply agricultural goods like bags of potatoes" but "they have the capacity to feel pain, hunger, heat and cold, and... are aware of what is happening to them and of their interaction with other animals."

And she added: "The UK has no legal instrument other than article 13 of the Lisbon treaty to provide that animals are sentient beings."

While Conservative MPs said that animal rights would be dealt with in later domestic legislation, she said the amendment was "an opportunity for the government to demonstrate that there is political will behind their words," and any future legislation would be a welcome addition.

She also responded to claims that the matter was covered in the Animal Welfare Act by saying the act did not specifically recognise sentience, and only covered domestic pets.

Mr Thomas said the vote had been taken "completely out of context," and that other EU animal welfare laws to be transferred to the UK, which came after the Lisbon Treaty, will "make sure that the same protections are in place," while currently UK standards are higher than those of other EU countries.

He said: "I am completely content with what the government are planning on animal welfare," and added "I feel that my vote has not jeopardised Britain’s high animal welfare standards either current or in the future."

Mrs Newton said suggestions, that last week's vote signalled a weakening in the protection of animals, were "wrong."

She said: "I did not vote for the Caroline Lucas amendment because it was not necessary - the 2006 Animal Welfare Act already recognises animals as sentient beings."

Both MPs said they had voted against a "faulty amendment" which would not have achieved its aims.

It had been suggested by ministers in Parliament that one of the reasons for not including animal sentience in the transfer of legislation was to allow the UK to more easily complete trade deals and to compete with other markets after Brexit.

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said: "The reality is that high animal welfare standards sometimes mean higher input costs... as we seek new deals with countries that perhaps have much lower animal welfare standards, there will be an economic temptation to lower our standards."

The Packet is awaiting a comment from Sarah Newton.