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New Zealand legally recognises animals as ‘sentient’ beings

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A change to New Zealand law has recognised what pet owners and scientists have known for years – that animals have feelings.

The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading on Tuesday, states that animals, like humans, are “sentient” beings.

“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.

New Zealand legally recognises animals as ‘sentient’ beings

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