The Cabinet approved a revision to the civil law Tuesday that would grant animals legal status as individuals with lives that deserve to be protected.
The revision was proposed by the Ministry of Justice in July to add the new clause, "animals are not objects," to Article 82 of the Civil Code.
Currently, 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 amid a steady rise in the number of companion animals and heightened awareness of animal welfare.
It will be submitted to the National Assembly Friday for a vote on its passage. The ministry expects relevant laws to get tough on animal abuse and mistreatment once the revision comes into force. (Yonhap)