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Animals are Sentient Beings - But Still Property - Spain

Brenda Bonnett

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Animals are Sentient Beings - But Still Property - Spain


Yesterday I published a blog entitled: Why do legislators address the supply side and not demand? where I discussed the supply:demand cycle for dogs (as commodities).  Today I received this paper on Animal Sentience: Moving Forward from WellBeing International.  Both of these make me ponder the actual outcome of legislation on animal welfare - including - can they it be effectively enforced, is there any real intention to do so, or is it mainly just words?

" ... Spain passed its bill declaring animals to be sentient creatures joining France as the second EU country with a national law stating animals to be sentient. Animals in Spain will no longer be considered inanimate objects. They will still be treated as property in Spain but will have a different legal standing from inanimate objects."

"Apart from the EU, several other countries and regions have passed laws recognizing animals as sentient beings. Tanzania was among the first to do so, and they joined the Netherlands, Sweden, Columbia, and New Zealand. In addition, the Australian Capital Territory and the province of Quebec [Canada] have passed legislation recognizing animals as sentient." ... "In India, the country’s supreme court recognized dolphins as non-human persons".

These developments are very interesting.  An animal sentience law is the process of being passed in the UK. Legislation such as this has picked up recently and is starting to include invertebrates following the popularity of the documentary "My Octopus Teacher". As the WellBeing article says:

"It is important to keep tracking changes in legislation recognizing animal sentience - both vertebrate and invertebrate and to document the impact those changes have on how humans view and treat animals."

It is challenging to think of the ramifications of these concepts on, for example:

  • eating sentient beings
  • not being able to eliminate pest animals as we have
  • and even breeding dogs to suit our desires and wishes.

One can assume, I think, that most of these legislators have not carefully thought out, nor can they know the long-term consequence of these legislations. 

But it will be interesting to follow!




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