TIR attended various international animal welfare conferences in 2018
This year the Stiftung für das Tier im Recht (TIR) was represented at various international conferences, namely the third Global Animal Law Conference in Hong Kong, the EGALS Conference in Turku, Finland, the CITES Standing Committee meeting in Sochi, Russia, the Animal Law Conference in Chicago, USA, and the Animal Welfare Law conference in Vienna, Austria.
December 12, 2018
Global Animal Law Conference in Hong Kong
TIR attended the third Global Animal Law Conference in Hong Kong from May 4 to 5, 2018. Animal welfare law experts from all over the world discussed concepts for strengthening the legal status of animals on a national and international level. Speakers from 20 countries (China, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, England, Scotland, Poland, France, Finland, Spain, and Switzerland) presented national and cross-border strategies for improving animal welfare.
TIR was represented by executive director Dr. Gieri Bolliger, Dr. Michelle Richner, and Andreas Rüttimann. Gieri Bolliger had the honor of hosting a panel focusing on animal welfare law in Europe with animal welfare experts from France, Poland, and Switzerland.
TIR is a member of the Educational Group for Animal Law Studies, EGALS, which held its fourth international conference on September 19, 2018, in Turku, Finland. Animal welfare lawyers from across Europe came together to discuss how to define the term "animal law" with regard to its significance as a seminal and independent legal discipline. TIR was represented at the event by its deputy executive director Vanessa Gerritsen, Katerina Stoykova, and Beat Leutwiler.
The animal welfare lawyers demonstrated the multi-faceted nature of the term "Animal Law" as they talked about their individual projects and experiences and the focus of their work. It appeared that the expectations placed on a university course in this field can vary greatly depending on the target group. For example, while LL.M. Sacha Lucassen from the University of Aarhus (Denmark) examined the interdisciplinarity and cultural differences between students interested in animal law, Dr. Joe Wills from the University of Leicester (U.K.) addressed the perspective of restrictions on fundamental rights resulting from animal welfare regulations.
In her presentation "Animal law in the public, academic and political environment" Vanessa Gerritsen introduced TIR's various fields of work. She pointed out that legal and practical work both in academia and on the political and social level can improve the human-animal relationship. She therefore called for a broad definition of the term "animal law", especially with a view to an independent university subject in the future, in order to cover all aspects of the coexistence of humans and animals.
From October 1 to 5, 2018, the CITES Standing Committee met in Sochi, Russia. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international trade agreement aimed at controlling and preventing the overexploitation of endangered animal and plant species. Also, the original document is deposited in Geneva, Switzerland, at the headquarters of the CITES Secretariat. So far, 183 countries have signed the agreement. CITES protects a total of around 5,800 animal and 30,000 plant species. These are classified into three categories (Appendices I-III) according to their degree of endangerment. Depending on their classification, international trade in these species is either prohibited or requires a permit.
More than 600 representatives of governments and non-governmental organizations attended the conference to discuss compliance and enforcement issues, as well as international trade in ivory and Japanese trade in strictly protected sei whales. The full conference program can be viewed here.
TIR attended the 26th Animal Law Conference in Chicago from October 12 to 14 following an invitation from the Center for Animal Studies (CALS) of the Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Animal welfare experts from across North America came together to discuss various aspects of animal welfare law.
Organized annually by CALS and the Lewis & Clark Section of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF), the animal law conference is the largest and most important of its kind in the United States. Since 1993, animal welfare lawyers (professors, attorneys, and students) and other interested parties have been meeting here to discuss legal developments in animal welfare law and concepts to improve the legal status of animals.
This year's conference focused on questions relating to the exploitation of farm animals.
Among other things, the speeches addressed the negative effects of the livestock industry both for animals and the environment. They also discussed the legal possibilities for improving the situation of farm animals and various strategies for promoting animal-free alternatives to animal products. The entire conference program can be viewed here.
On December 6, TIR attended the third "Tier & Recht-Tag" (Animals and the Law Day) organized by the animal welfare ombudsman's office of Vienna. This year's symposium focused on the topic "Animal welfare and species conservation – similarities, differences, and opportunities". TIR's deputy executive director, Vanessa Gerritsen, gave a presentation on the current situation and legal framework in Switzerland.
The point of the symposium is to provide a platform where current legal issues revolving around animal welfare and possible legislative amendments can be discussed.
The conference has been held annually since 2016 and attracts many participants. The event has become a major forum for pratitioners, researchers, and other parties interested in the animal welfare law of the German-speaking countries.
The conference program can be viewed here.
TIR is proud to be part of the "global animal law family" and is convinced that intensive cross-border exchange of information and ideas promotes further development of animal welfare law and ultimately helps improve the well-being of animals around the world.