Urgent appeal for animals, like humans, to be legally recognised as "sentient beings".

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In 2015, France, New Zealand and the province of Quebec, Canada recognized animals as sentient beings. I believe South Africa should lead the way as the first African country to do the same.

To recognise that animals are sentient is to acknowledge clearly that they are able to experience both positive and negative emotions, including pain, distress and emotional trauma.

This would make hunting of wild animals, animal testing and capture or ill treatment, illegal and would afford animals the right not to be owned as property.

This would go a long way towards ensuring decent and humane housing and treatment of animals by individuals, breeders and retailers. Currently the requirements for the care and housing of animals are minimal, and inadequately enforced.

It really is time we South Africans climb aboard and stand up for our fellow non human beings, who give us so much and enrich our lives in so many ways.