Following a petition, members of the French parliament voted to approve a new law. This law changes how 63 million animals are seen.
The new legislation, which is sponsored by French President François Hollande, changes the definition of animals from “movable property” to “living and sentimental beings“.
Thanks to the parliamentary vote, dogs, cats, horses and other pets in France will now have new rights.
Former French Education Minister and French philosopher Luc Ferry was one of the 700,000 people, including other scientists and academics, who signed the French petition. The petition that called for the end of the definition of “animal” used in the Napoleonic civil code of 1804.A definition that equals pets with pieces of property like movables. Ferry believes the secular definition is out of touch with reality – “absurd,” he tells the Daily Mail.
“No one ever tortured a watch,” Ferry explains. “Animals suffer, they have emotions and feelings. It’s not about making animals subject to the law but simply protecting them against certain forms of cruelty.“
An obvious fact
The head chef of the French animal welfare organization who initiated the petition, 30 Millions d’Amis, which means “30 million friends”, Reha Hutin, applauds the vote, telling the Telegraph that by passing the bill the parliament recognized “an obvious fact: animals are beings with feelings.”
“[It was] ridiculous to see pets as furniture that can walk alone,” she adds. The redefinition will probably pave the way for stronger laws against cruelty to animals.
And a French lawyer, Franck Mejean, says the parliamentary vote will end a “legal gray area” for cats, dogs and other pets trapped in the middle of the divorce.
“I’ve already asked a judge to grant the shared custody of a cat,” Mejean explains. “Neither spouse wanted to part with him.”
But this new measure is not without opposition. Critics believe the new law could ban practices such as hunting, fishing, and other animal-related sports. Others fear that the new definition of “animal” can be adopted by animal rights activists. Who can argue that the current practices of French slaughter and the consumption of meat are wrong because they involve the death of “beings with feelings”.