The Ministry of Justice on Monday gave advance notice of a revision to the civil law that would grant animals legal status as individuals with lives that deserve to be protected.
The ministry said it has added the new clause, “animals are not objects,” to article 82 of the Civil Code.
Under the existing law, animals are identified as “an object that takes up space” and are not separated from inanimate things, so animal abusers have been punished only for damaging property if they face a penalty at all.
The revision came after social consensus was reached on the need to improve animal protection, the ministry said, amid a steady rise in the number of companion animals and heightened awareness of animal welfare.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the number of households raising pets was estimated at 6.38 million in 2020, up 8 percent from the previous year’s 5.91 million. The figure roughly translates to 28 percent of the country’s 23 million households.
Once the revision is passed by the National Assembly and comes into force, relevant laws will be expected to get tough on animal abuse and mistreatment, the ministry said. (Yonhap)