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Saturday, January 23, 2016

New French Law Elevates Animals' Status

Long-Haired Tortoiseshell Cat
© A Blue Kind of Black - Fotlolia.com
It's taken a couple of hundred years, but the French parliament has finally recognized what most of us have known all along: Animals are "living, sentient beings." Until now, French law gave a cat the same status as the couch it was sleeping on.

Until a recent change to the Civil Code, all animals were considered working farm beasts and were classified as goods or furniture.

The new designation means stiffer penalties for animal abuse and cruelty, including abuse of farm animals.

While most people in France probably think the change is long overdue, it does pose some issues for the country's cattle breeders who want farms to get bigger but not necessarily better.

In 2002, Germany became the first country in the European Union to grant constitutional rights to animals, according to the website rt.com. In 2006, members of the Dutch Party for the Animals (PvdD) became the first animal-rights MPs anywhere in the world.

Although animals do have some protections in the US, most jurisdictions still consider them property, much like the computer or phone you're using right now.

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