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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.
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.