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Animal sentience ‘recognised’ for the first time under Australia’s new ACT laws. Not really

The animal welfare legislation passed today extends the rights of cats and dogs, but the practical implications are not as far-reaching as they sound.

JAKE EVANS: ‘The ACT has become the first jurisdiction in Australia to change the legal status of animals from being purely ‘property’ to sentient beings in their own right. The animal welfare legislation passed today extends the rights of Canberra’s cats and dogs — but the practical implications are not as far-reaching as they sound… The new laws enshrine simple rights for animals, such as the right to free movement.

“Owners” can now be penalised for tying a dog up for more than 24 hours, leaving it unable to exercise… The laws also recognise an animal’s right to food, water, shelter, clean living and health care, with specific offences for failing to attend to those necessities…

There are also new offences punishing people who hit or kick an animal, abandon it or confine it in a car have also been passed. And while the laws relate mostly to pets, requirements to report a mammal hit by a car remain, as does an obligation to alleviate suffering of an injured bird or other non-mammal…

There are still reasonable exceptions to that law, such as allowing chicken coops, bird cages and cat containment areas. But the new laws criminalise any confinement that restricts an animal’s movement — including farm animals’. SOURCE…

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