Animals just has a big win in New Zealand this month when the country finally ruled them as "sentient beings."

The new Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, passed on May 12, recognizes for the first time that animals have feelings and can experience pleasure and pain.

This means that all animal owners legally must "attend properly to the welfare of those animals," reported Independent

To ensure all people are considering the welfare of their animals now the government will have checks made to see if there has been "assessment of the suitability of using non-sentient or non-living alternatives in the project" and "replacement of animals as subjects with suitable non-sentient or non-living alternatives."

The bill also included new rules for the welfare of animals involved in testing and research. 

"Expectations on animal welfare have been rapidly changing. The bill brings legislation in line with our nation's changing attitude on the status of animals in society, " Dr Steve Merchant, President of the New Zealand Veterinary Association, told Independent.