BOLTON'S Tory MP has denied accusations that the Government does not recognise that animals can feel pain and experience emotions.

Chris Green has moved to 'set the record straight' after the Government was criticised for defeating efforts to transfer existing EU protocols into the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill so that animals are still recognised as sentient beings under domestic law after Brexit.

Animal rights groups have reacted furiously to the vote, complaining that it will put animals' welfare at risk.

However, the Bolton West MP says his party is 'committed to higher standards of animal welfare than exist in the EU' and wants to strengthen legislation after Brexit.

He said: "I’m receiving a lot of messages about animal sentience and wanted to set the record straight.

"No, MPs did not vote that animals aren’t sentient. Of course we believe that animals have feelings.

"The amendment in question was about whether we want to transfer existing EU laws to replace UK law we already have — and of course we don’t want to do that as we are committed to higher standards of animal welfare than exist in the EU.

"The EU allows animals to be kept in horrifically cruel conditions. It also allows bullfighting, foie gras, fur farming, donkey torture and even goat throwing.

"The UK has higher standards of animal welfare than any other country in the Europe — as seen by our recent reforms — and we certainly want to use Brexit as a chance to strengthen this even further."

The clause, which was tabled by Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas, was defeated by 313 votes to 48 in the House of Commons after Labour abstained.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "This Government is committed to the very highest standards of animal welfare. As the Prime Minister has set out, we will make the United Kingdom a world leader in the care and protection of animals.

"It has been suggested that the vote last week on New Clause 30 of the EU Withdrawal Bill somehow signalled a weakening in the protection of animals — that is wrong. Voting against the amendment was not a vote against the idea that animals are sentient and feel pain — that is a misconception."