Laws Passed That Recognize Animals as “Sentient Beings”

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Animals are now recognized as “sentient beings” in the country of New Zealand and in the province of Quebec, Canada.  This means punishments for animal abusers will be harsher than before.  Animal lovers worldwide are aware of the fact that animals do feel pain and other emotions.  They are also able to recognized love, fear, anxiety, pain and happiness.  Unfortunately, there are some people in this world who don’t know anything about compassion and common sense and ends up hurting the poor and defenseless animals.

Animal rights activists in New Zealand are very pleased with the new law.  Finally, prosecuting animal abusers is now easier in their country.  Currently, there is a banned on cosmetic testing and research on animals in New Zealand.  The president of New Zealand Veterinary Association Dr. Steve Merchant said, “Expectations on animal welfare have been rapidly changing, and practices that were once commonplace for pets and farm stock are no longer acceptable or tolerated.  The bill brings legislation in line with our nation’s changing attitude on the status of animals in society.”

In Quebec, the new legislation says that: “Animals are not things.  They are sentient beings and have biological needs.”  The new law will cover all domesticated animals including farm animals and some wild animals as well.  Quebec’s Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis said that farmers’ duties include ‘taking care of their livestock and treat it with as much dignity possible from the time they are born until their death’.  “If you have a goldfish you have to take care of it.  Don’t get a goldfish if you don’t want to take care of it, Paradis explained.

With the new law, inspectors in Quebec will be able to demand to see a suspected abused animal.  They can also confiscate the abused animals with a warrant.  As for the offenders, they will be fined for their crime which ranges from $250 to $250,000 depending on the severity of their offense.  Repeat offenders will not only pay double or triple fines but will also spend some time in jail anywhere from 18 months up.

While in some parts of the world animals are being treated badly, the new laws passed in New Zealand and in Quebec is a step forward to the right direction.  Hopefully, many countries will soon follow their steps and implement the same law.

Image via KB35 at

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