Constitutional Animal Law

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Constitutional Animal Law, Olivier Le Bot (2023)

Constitutional animal law has become increasingly important in recent years.

Some countries, such as Germany, Brazil, Luxembourg and India, have included a specific provision for the protection of animals in their constitutions. Such a provision has a number of notable effects: the recognition of a right to conscientious objection; the annulment of contrary acts; a basis for the limitation of fundamental rights; an incentive to take action; a limit on actions harmful to animals; a referent for the application and interpretation of the law; and a basis for legitimising criminal offences.

However, most countries do not have a specific constitutional provision. In these cases, a basis is sought in provisions protecting the environment, recognising the rights of nature, enshrining the right to life or protecting people. In the absence of such recognition, constitutional litigation concerning animals focuses mainly on fundamental rights, challenging laws that protect animals or regulate the conditions of their use.

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