Some good news for a change as New Zealand officially recognises animals as sentient beings:
Animals are now legally recognised as ‘sentient’ beings in New Zealand
“The New Zealand Government has formally recognised animals as ‘sentient’ beings by amending animal welfare legislation.
The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill was passed on Tuesday.
The Act stipulates that it is now necessary to ‘recognise animals as sentient’ and that owners must ‘attend properly to the welfare of those animals’.”
To my way of thinking the recognition of animals as sentient beings should mean an end to their enslavement, exploitation and mistreatment, including killing them for any reason.
Unfortunately this is not the case.
While this is excellent news representing a significant step forward and may improve life for many animals it does not of course bring to an end animal slavery, exploitation and abuse such as killing them for their flesh. No matter how good the welfare laws are to protect animals at the end of the day animals still cannot live out their lives as nature intended free from negative human interference, and for farm animals ultimately a premature death. According to the above article, while cosmetic testing is banned, testing for research purposes continues though the New Zealand government now demands that checks be made as to whether there has been ‘assessment of the suitability of using non-sentient or non-living alternatives in the project’ and ‘replacement of animals as subjects with suitable non-sentient or non-living alternatives’. I assume that if there are no non sentient alternatives they are still prepared to use sentient creatures for research, animals who suffer pain and fear and wish to live as you or I do.
Hunting also appears to continue if it “is part of a generally accepted practice in New Zealand for the hunting or killing of wild animals of that type or animals in a wild state of that type”.
“30AWilful or reckless ill-treatment of wild animals or animals in wild state
“(1)A person commits an offence if the person wilfully ill-treats a wild animal or an animal in a wild state.
“(2)A person commits an offence if the person recklessly ill-treats a wild animal or an animal in a wild state.
“(3)A defendant has a defence to a prosecution for an offence against subsection (1) or (2) if the defendant satisfies the court that the conduct alleged to constitute an offence is or is part of a generally accepted practice in New Zealand for the hunting or killing of wild animals of that type or animals in a wild state of that type.
Animal Welfare Amendment Bill:
Nonetheless all things considered at the least we now have another government which officially recognises that animals are sentient beings.
In January 2015 France recognised animal Sentience.
Recent amendments to French Civil Law have modified the classification of animals from ‘personal property’ to ‘living beings gifted with sentience’.
“We wholeheartedly congratulate France on the passage of the new amendment which formally establishes what we already know in our hearts: animals are ‘living, sentient beings’ that deserve protection.”
Mike Baker, Chief Executive of World Animal Protection:
Also in the EU treaty of Lisbon animals are considered as sentient beings.
Sadly ethical progress takes time with small incremental steps rather than great leaps forward, but progress is progress. However we should not become complacent as there is still a long way to go before animals are free from cruelty, harm and exploitation at the hand of man.
The next step is to recognise that as a consequence of their sentience all animals should be allowed to live free them from any kind of exploitation or the negative interference of humans including but not exclusive to the following purposes: rearing for meat or other animal derivatives, labour, research and entertainment .
There is only one way to go if you truly recognise animals as sentient creatures and that is to go Vegan and campaign to improve the lot of animals everywhere in order to bring an end to the mistreatment of the myriad other species with whom we share this world.
Go vegan in 30 days with the 30 Day Vegan Pledge
This is a good target to set but please don’t give up if you don’t manage to go vegan in thirty days, all progress is good and it might take longer for some people. So please do not give up if you do not reach your target in a set time.
This news though is welcome progress indeed and hopefully other countries will follow New Zealand’s lead.
New Zealand Declares Animals Are Sentient Beings
Animals have feelings, French parliament rules:
Read more Animal Sentience Stories
This article is also included in my Website Blog Vegan Rambles: