Spain just passed a new rule focusing on animal welfare. From January 5, 2022, pets are no longer an ‘object’ but ‘sentient beings’ according to the court of law.

This means that they have the capacity of expressing emotions and feelings. Additionally, in case of a separation, pets cannot be seized, abandoned, mistreated, mortgaged, or even removed from one of the owners.

It has been in the making for four years and was approved by the Congress of Deputies, Spain’s lower house on Thursday.

The law marks a change in both Spain and several other nations. Other European nations including Germany Switzerland, Portugal, France, and Austria, consider animals as sentient beings.

The UK’s Animal Welfare (sentience) bill is awaiting a report in the House of Lords. The rule will help in ensuring that all government orders affect the welfare of animals.

In case of separation or divorce, a judge is to consider the animal’s fate with just as much importance as other members of the family.

The new rule changes the Mortgage law, civil procedure law, and the civil code. Moreover, the law applies to animals, both wild and domesticated.