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The French government passed an amendment to the civil code yesterday that upgrades the status of animals and recognises them as ‘living beings endowed with sensibilities.’

Proposals to ban industrial farming, cockfights and bullfighting were rejected.

The penal code and the rural code already recognised animals as feeling creatures, but until yesterday animals were considered ‘personal property’ under the 210-year-old French civil code.

The amendment is intended to ‘reconcile the legal characterization and emotional value of the animal.’

“The Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis is delighted by the recognition from deputies that animals are sentient, living beings in the civil code,” the organization said. “It’s a step forward in a battle the foundation has long been fighting and will continue to fight.”

But not everyone received the news with joy.

Green MP Laurence Abeille was not happy that the change was made while a “much more ambitious bill on animals’ status” is being developed, stated RFI.

Christophe Marie, a Brigitte Bardot Foundation spokesman, said to AFP: “It’s no revolution for animals. That the status of animals changes from ‘personal property’ to ‘sentient, living being’ is good. But what is not good is that it should have been done long ago.

“It basically standardizes legal texts, but in no way does it challenge the exploitation of animals.”

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