“ . . . UND DIE TIERE” CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION FOR GERMANY’S ANIMALS (pdf file - 134.36 KB)
In the summer of 2002, Germany welcomed animals into the folds of constitutional protection. With the addition of the words “and the animals,” Germany became the first country in the European Union (“E.U.”), and the second on the European continent,to guarantee the highest level of federal legal protection to its nonhuman animals. Though a welcomed development in the eyes of most Germans, this groundbreaking event received very little attention on the world stage. Common misconceptions about the ramifications of the constitutional amendment resulted in limited to no accurate representation in worldwide media. Likewise, international policymakers and animal protectionists have shown little awareness of this development and its potential implications. In addition to possible legal effects, the social implications of such an occurrence in a major western country are vast. International leaders will certainly take note as the effects of this change begin to take place in Germany’s laws and, increasingly, in its international policies. More importantly, the global animal protection community should take note of what is possible, and what can be learned from the achievements of Germany’s animal protection community. This study traces the legal and social developments leading to Germany’s constitutional amendment which provides protection to animals, showing how this legal highpoint was achieved. Multiple sources are used, including congressional, judicial, and party documents, press releases, international media reports, personal communication with leaders in four major German animal protection organizations, interviews with a key Ministry official, and published materials. This study will also critically assess the claims of the animal protection and opposition communities in order to predict where German animal law is going and what effects this change will have on the treatment of animals both within Germany and internationally. Concluding thoughts will address how the international animal protection community can understand this legal victory in a constructive context.