This is huge, and I mean HUGE news not only for these places, but for the entire world. Not long ago, Quebec and New Zealand — the former of which has always been a hot-spot for puppy mills due to their lack of animal cruelty laws — decided that all animals (including those puppies!) are sentient beings.
What does this mean, you ask? Basically, every furry, feathered, and scaled creature, from livestock to pets, have feelings and emotions and are capable of experiencing fear, pain, sadness, love, and everything that comes with it.
I know what you’re thinking. “Seriously? That’s it?” And I admit, the same thought ran through my mind at first until I realized that not everyone has as much common sense as we do. After all, any dog owner can tell you that “Duh! Of course animals have feelings.” I know. We know. It just took a little longer for everyone else to catch up.
Animal abusers can now be convicted much more easily and will receive harsher punishments, and investigators can demand to see an animal if suspicions regarding their treatment arise. Additionally, mistreated animals can be seized with a warrant, and guilty persons will be hit with growing fines and jail time for repeat offenses.
But wait, I’m not finished… cosmetic testing and research on animals is no longer allowed, either.
While this all may seem small considering the number of places that still disagree, the very fact that it’s happened marks a major leap forward. According to the chair of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee, Dr. Virginia Williams, “the explicitness is what is new and marks another step along the animal welfare journey.” And with time and continued determination (and just a glance into any animal’s eyes, for Pete’s sake), the rest of the world will hopefully not be far behind.