There are those that talk about "sentience" and law that recognises animals as "sentient", as if it was something new. Actually, it's not. In fact, 200 years ago the law recognised animals as sentient when it criminalised people's actions that resulted in animals unnecessarily "feeling or experiencing" (which is the definition of sentience) pain, distress or suffering.
So "animal sentience" is IMPLICIT in law wherever there is any kind of animal protection/anti-cruelty law.
EXPLICITLY stating that animals are sentient changes nothing to "business as usual" UNLESS the outcome for the animals is something more than baseline protections from cruelty.
It's a simple equation to determine what animals feel, isn't it? Like us, they're capable of "feeling and experiencing" pain AND pleasure. In fact, the science of the Five Domains validates what most people inherently know - that animals experience negative (e.g. pain, distress, suffering) AND positive (e.g. comfort, interest, pleasure) states.
One of the barriers to evolving animal law so that people have responsibilities for an animal's pleasure rather than just its pain, is the alleged inability to measure pleasure.
Well, we all knew it would happen eventually, but here it is. Technology that helps to assess and understand the emotional wellbeing of animals. In a nutshell, tech' that helps answer the question "Is this animal happy"?
Have a look at this link - and note that reputable retailers, who are mindful of the "social license" of business that directly or indirectly involves animals, are already leading the way. International Animal Law Founder Ian Robertson says "with the proper legal reform, consumers can have the confidence that ALL retailers, companies and industries are looking after the animals pleasure rather than just its pain, rather than just SOME of them".
What do you think? Is it time to do more for animals than just protect them from cruelty?