Canada just declared that animals are now considered “Sentient Beings” and not just property.

According to the CBC, a new Canadian bill that was issued in late 2015 states that “animals are now to be considered as “sentient beings” opposed to being labeled as property.”

“Animals are not things. They are sentient beings and have biological needs.”


It’s important to mention that this legislation applies to all domesticated/farm animals and even certain wild animals. Investigators now have more power to demand to see if an animal is being mistreated, or if there is “reasonable cause” for them to seize the animal.

Even goldfish don’t escape the proposed rules.

“If you have a goldfish you have to take care of it,” he said. “Don’t get a goldfish if you don’t want to take care of it.”

The bill gives inspectors the power to demand to see an animal if they have “reasonable cause” to suspect the pet is being mistreated. They can also obtain a warrant from a judge to enter a home and seize animals. First-time offenders face fines as low as $250 and as high as $250,000.

You can read/listen to more here – Canada just declared that animals are now sentient beings and nor property



Related Post
  1. Avatar
    Sep, 10, 2016

    I didn’t realize this bill was passed. I can leave this world happy now.
    You can judge a society by how they treat their animals.

  2. Avatar
    Sep, 12, 2016

    Great! We’ll see if it works and really, just Canada??

  3. Avatar
    Sep, 13, 2016

    Couldn’t agree more!!!

  4. Avatar
    Sep, 13, 2016

    I know right Michelle…But I’m proud that my Country is doing this…it’s about damn time. But you’re so right, this legislation needs to be passed in countries who have horrendous records of animal abuse and mistreatment…like Thailand, China and so many others.

  5. Avatar
    Lisa Nicks
    Sep, 13, 2016


  6. Avatar
    Lois Kyle
    Sep, 13, 2016

    This is a good start…..I feel so bad for these animals that keep people alive to treat them like a piece of garbage..

  7. Avatar
    Sep, 13, 2016

    Kind of misleading. The bill was passed in the Quebec assembly, meaning it’s a provincial law not a federal one. Maybe the author was confused because the Provincial assembly in Quebec is called “l’assemblée nationale.” Still good, but not for all of us Canadians.

  8. Avatar
    Sep, 13, 2016

    Not only is this just Quebec, but some other provinces already have this. From the CBC article:

    “Paradis said the bill will put Quebec more in line with Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia, which he noted have the strongest animal-welfare laws in the country.”

  9. Avatar
    David Hicks
    Oct, 6, 2016

    What is the definition of sentient? There has to be a legal definition for this to be enforced. Secondly do they have any real testable data to support sentience, or do they just feel they are sentient. This could be a difficult law to enforce if it is vague and not well defined. Also what will the definition of mistreatment be, will it be based on the animals biological needs, or on the what the needs are perceived to by anyone? Laws should be based on objective fact, not subjective opinions. Not saying this is a bad idea, but curious as to how all of these questions are being answered. Will this require law enforcement to intervene if a prey animal is killed and eaten by a predator? If that is ok, then will killing and eating domesticated prey animals by human predators be condoned or will both of these instances be considered murder? If wild animals are sentient and they overpopulate, will the government be obligated to provide supplemental feed the populations? If you are familiar with population ecology, and Thomas Malthus you know that far more organsims are born than the habitat can support. I wish this article provided more facts about this law.

  10. Avatar
    Oct, 6, 2016

    And it failed to pass 🙁

    “Last night, despite wide support to strengthen protections for animals, Bill C-246 (the Modernizing Animal Protections Act) was defeated in the House of Commons.

    This bill would have been a historic win for animals in Canada, updating animal criminal cruelty laws that have remained largely unchanged since the 19th century, including banning trade in shark fins and dog and cat fur, and strengthening fur labelling laws.”

  11. Avatar
    Debrah McCabe
    Mar, 15, 2017

    So they’re sentient beings. So what? Our government still allows brutal ‘standard industry practises’, still allows sealers to brutally slaughter baby seals, and still gives out licenses to kill bears, wolves, deer and anything else that humans want to point their guns or traps at. And with that new ‘sentient being’ certification change, did they actually assign more inspectors so that jerks who abuse actually get caught and pay the price for their cruelty?

  12. Avatar
    May, 4, 2019

    This bill is provincial legislation and applies in Quebec only. Whether or not an animal is considered property is for each province to decide, so “Canada” will likely never have a law on this, at least not without re-writing the constitution to make the federal government responsible for this.

    I don’t know about other provinces, but here in Ontario (which has nearly 50% of Canada’s population and presumably a proportionate share of Canadian animals), they are legally considered property. But who cares, anyways? Just because they are legal property doesn’t mean the owner can treat them the same as one of their old lamp shades.

    Being legal property is not mutually exclusive with being a living creature. The important thing is whether or not the law forbids mistreatment of the animal and has appropriate penalties for those who violate the law, and that is fortunately the case here in Ontario as well as most jurisdictions that considered animals property. There is no evidence that animals fare any better in jurisdictions where they are not considered property and there’s really no reason to expect that there would be.