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“Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty." 

- Albert Einstein

New Zealand Leads in Animal Welfare Reform. Europe Follows

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

Writer Ellie Chivers Takes a Look at the Global Shift in Animal Welfare Policies.

Photo by Christopher Burns


In 2015, New Zealand set the standard for animal rights globally. The passing of their Animal Welfare Amendment Bill was cause for celebration amongst activists everywhere, as the momentous move finally recognised the sentience of all animals, as opposed to only chimpanzees, orangutans and dolphins.


The bill also banned animal testing and research in the country, as well as giving clearer guidelines on how to prosecute animal cruelty. It truly was a breakthrough. But, 5 years on from that ground-breaking bill, we take a look at sentient recognition globally.


North America


Animal sentience is still not wholly recognised in North America as they are still considered “objects” by law. While there have been backtracks this decade for animal rights in North America since NZ’s Welfare Amendment Bill passed, there have been changes for the better elsewhere in the fight for animal rights.