Many people recently learned that nonhuman animals (animals) are now considered to be "living beings gifted sentience," rather than "movable property," under the French Civil Code. I've had a number of emails letting me know how happy people are about this news, however, I came to realize that many people didn't read the short article about this change in legal status.
The change in legal status for other animals is very limited in scope. So, for example, the new amendment "does not change the situation for farmers significantly because it does not create a special status for animals between the men and goods. Animals thus remain property under the Civil Code." (my emphasis) And, this change "only applies to pets or wild animals tamed or held in captivity. The sentience of wild animals, meanwhile, is not recognized." (my emphasis)
There is other legislation that has focused on animal sentience. The Treaty of Lisbon, passed by member states of the European Union that went into force on Dec. 1, 2009, recognizes that "In formulating and implementing the Union's agriculture, fisheries, transport, internal market, research and technological development and space policies, the Union and the Member States shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals, while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of the Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage."