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Animal Law

Pets in France get legal status as ‘living beings capable of feelings’

Posted Apr 18, 2014 10:27 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Pets in France are no longer just “movable goods” as a result of a bill passed by the National Assembly.

The new bill amends the civil code to describe animals as "living beings capable of feelings,” according to the International Business Times. Lawmakers acted on Tuesday after nearly 700,000 people signed an online petition seeking a more modern definition of animal. The Telegraph, Mail Online and RFI also have stories.

The new law is expected to allow pet owners to claim damages for suffering when their animals are killed, according to IBT. It will also have an impact in divorce cases, according to divorce lawyer Franck Mejean.

“I have already asked a judge to award shared custody of a cat,” he told the Telegraph. “Neither spouse wanted to part with it.”

Critics say the bill could lead to suits challenging slaughter practices, hunting and scientific research.

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