New Zealand Now Recognizes ALL Animals As Sentient Beings!


By Sophie McAdam at


A landmark decision by the Kiwis sets a precedent that other countries should follow.
New Zealand has just set a great example to the world by recognizing what animal lovers have known forever- that our furry friends are as sentient as we are, and (obviously, dur) they have feelings just like we do. It’s a theme we have covered time and again here at True Activist, but this landmark ruling by NZ is the first time this shift in perception and policy has been extended to allanimals, not just chimpanzees, orangutans, or dolphins.

The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, passed last month, aims to make it easier to prosecute people in animal cruelty cases, as well as banning animal testing and research.

Animal rights activists have celebrated the decision. “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. “The explicitness is what is new and marks another step along the animal welfare journey.”

New Zealand Veterinary Association president Dr Steve Merchant said the bill greater clarity, transparency and enforceability of animal welfare laws, according to the country’s regional newspaper the Nelson Mail.

“Expectations on animal welfare have been rapidly changing, and practices that were once commonplace for pets and farm stock are no longer acceptable or tolerated,” he said. “The bill brings legislation in line with our nation’s changing attitude on the status of animals in society.”

You can read the entire Bill here. Let’s hope the rest of the world follows suit!

 This article (New Zealand Now Recognizes ALL Animals As Sentient Beings!) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and Note: this article was amended June 7 to correct some inaccuracies. 

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  1. I suppose Possums and other rodent are not part of this?? I was in New-Zealand a couple of months ago and I saw people actually sitting on chair outside all night shooting Possums. Apparently these rather cute _animals_ are a threath to the forest and the little weak Kiwi bird. I heard from a local that it actually happens that people can cash in dead Possums at the department of CONSERVATION. I think this is awful since these creatures have the right to be alive just as much as any other living being.

    • totally agree gorgeous , if we take of our bloody destrucive hands out of nature , the mother nature will find a way to balance the degree of the species and the rest… and i totally agree with you…maybe the light keep shining up on your way my heartful friend

      • The problem is Possums are not natural to NZ. They were introduced by man, and have wiped out dozens of species of birds. We are trying to correct our wrongs by removing them, before they wipe out more. This is true for Rabbits as well.

        So here is the dilemma… We cause a change in an ecosystem that is having a major effect. What do we do now? Just let more creature go extinct due to what we did in the past, or work to reduce the effect? Your call.

    • If we had that attitude towards all invasive species then we’d have mass extinctions all over the world, particularly in Australia.

  2. They’re sentient until sent to a slaughterhouse and have their life-force ripped from them to satisfy the selfish human palate.


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