The Federal Constitution (FC), which forms the basis on which all other regulations are built and obliges the federal government to legislate in the field of animal welfare. Hence, animal welfare is a constitutional principle and its objectives may therefore restrict fundamental rights expressly guaranteed by the Constitution, such as personal freedom, freedom of faith and conscience, freedom of scientific research, economic freedom, and the guarantee of property rights.
A truly unique constitutional provision is article 120 paragraph 2 FC which stipulates that the federal government must take into account, among other things, the dignity of the creature, which also includes animal dignity, when adopting regulations on the handling of the genetic material of animals, plants and other organisms. There is a consensus that respect for the dignity of the creature is a general constitutional principle to be observed not only in the context of genetic engineering, but in the entire legal system and anytime the law is applied to a human-animal relationship. Switzerland is the only country in the world that has enshrined the protection of animal dignity at constitutional level.