Sentient Beings

New Zealand Enacts Bill Recognizing Animal Intelligence

The New Zealand Animal Welfare Amendment Bill that passed into law this year states that animals, like humans, are sentient beings. Dr. Virginia Williams, chair of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee, says this acknowledges, “Animals can experience both positive and negative emotions, including pain and distress.” The bill thus bans the use of animals for testing cosmetics.

Williams says the legal recognition of animal sentience provides a stronger underpinning of the requirements of the existing Animal Welfare Act. The bill also provides for penalties to enable low-to-medium-level offenders to be punished more effectively and gives animal welfare inspectors the power to issue compliance notices, among other measures.

Find a link to the legislation at

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