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A Victory in New Zealand!
by KindMeal.my, 08 June 2015
A Victory in New Zealand!

New Zealand has just set a great example to the world by recognizing what animal lovers have known forever- that our furry friends are as sentient as we are, and they have feelings just like we do. This landmark ruling by NZ is the first time this shift in perception and policy has been extended to all animals, not just chimpanzees, orangutans, or dolphins.

The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, passed last month, aims to make it easier to prosecute people in animal cruelty cases, as well as banning animal testing and research, and making all hunting, capture or ill-treatment of any wild animal illegal.

Animal rights activists have celebrated the decision. “To say that animals are sentient is to state explicitly that they can experience both positive and negative emotions, including pain and distress,” said Dr Virginia Williams, chair of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee. “The explicitness is what is new and marks another step along the animal welfare journey.”

New Zealand Veterinary Association president Dr Steve Merchant said the bill greater clarity, transparency and enforceability of animal welfare laws, according to the country’s regional newspaper the Nelson Mail. “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,” he said. “The bill brings legislation in line with our nation’s changing attitude on the status of animals in society.”

Let’s hope the rest of the world follows suit. Acknowledging that all animals are sentient beings makes it impossible to justify abuses that livestock farmers routinely practice, on the theory that the animals are commodities, not living, feeling creatures. While we're waiting for other countries to pass the same enlightened legislation, let's make our own statements by eating less meat.

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