TIR Library Newsletter: Our Book Recommendation
In its first library newsletter of 2023, the Foundation for Animals in Law (TIR) once again presents selected new acquisitions, such as books, articles and films on animal-related topics. The current issue focuses on the book "Tierschutz und Tierrechte im Königreich Württemberg" (Animal Protection and Animal Rights in the Kingdom of Württemberg), which shows the origins of the animal protection movement in German-speaking countries and explores the question of animal rights and the duties humans have towards animals.
April 18, 2023
When the first German animal protection initiative addressed the public in 1838, it aimed to cause a paradigm shift in the relationship between humans and animals. In particular, the onset of slavery abolition was used as an example to give animals a voice and rights. Human rights should be followed by animal rights. Cruelty to animals and abuses should be fought consistently. The founding of the "Association against Cruelty to Animals" in Stuttgart around 1838 was followed by the founding of several smaller associations in the Kingdom of Württemberg. They all had a common political goal and thus formed the core of the animal protection alliance.
Pastor Christian Adam Dann was the driving force behind this new movement, which began, in a sense, in 1820 with his tireless educational work and efforts to reduce animal suffering and everyday animal cruelty practices. Although factory farming in today's sense did not yet exist, the situation of animals was by no means better, nor the treatment of them more gentle and just. Dann published his ideas on the protection of animals in his writings, and also specified which rights and kind of freedom they should have. He pleaded for a gentle and just behaviour towards animals, denounced the unreasonableness of humans and attributed reason and morality to animals.
Albert Knapp, who called Dann his mentor and friend, continued the efforts towards more protection for animals after Dann's death and later initiated the foundation of the first animal protection societies. It was also the time of Pietism, a religious reform movement in European Protestantism that strove for spiritual renewal, and the Enlightenment, combined with a new sensibility. Not only well-known Pietists and preachers, such as Christian Adam Dann or Albert Knapp, called for a fundamental change in the relationship to animals. Peasants and parts of the nobility also contributed practical approaches to a better treatment of animals. The book also pays tribute to the extraordinary commitment of women: They founded independent associations on behalf of animals, so-called women’s animal protection associations. The earliest independent women's animal protection society in Germany was founded in Dresden around 1844. The women considered it their main task to work towards the prevention of any cruelty to animals in the kitchen and private homes.
In his writings, Albert Knapp urged the high governorate to impose a penal law that was as detailed as possible, and advocated an animal ethics education for young people - with at least partial success: in 1839, the first law against cruelty towards animals was enacted. The penal norm was: "Anyone who causes annoyance through the crude mistreatment of animals is to be punished”. The focus here was not on the suffering of the animals concerned, but rather on human feelings. Nevertheless, the penal norm did not fail to have an effect. As a result, more pressure could be exerted on politicians to further improve the position of animals in legislation. However, just as today, it required considerable efforts on the part of animal protection organisations to enforce the penal norm in practice. However, legislation directly aimed at the protection of animals was not fully enacted until hundreds of years later, within the framework of the Reichstierschutzgesetz (Reich Animal Protection Act) of 1933.
A look at today's legislation in Germany and Switzerland shows that a number of measures have been taken in the meantime – but that animals still suffer. The protection regulations in favour of animals today are elaborated in detail. Instead of simple penal norms, there are entire sets of rules to regulate the treatment of animals. But the very fact that so many regulations exist in the human-animal relationship shows that animals are still denied the most basic rights. For example, the killing of animals for food is not forbidden, but allowed under numerous complex regulations. In order to keep the stress on the animals concerned as low as possible, it is necessary to standardise their rearing, transport and handling as precisely as possible, up to and including stunning and bleeding. Nevertheless, even considerable suffering, pain and fear caused by standardisation gaps and inadequate enforcement are no exception, even in Switzerland.
Since 2008, the Swiss Animal Welfare Act has made disrespect for the dignity of animals a punishable offence. This not only prohibits the infliction of unjustified physical and mental stress, but also other violations of the intrinsic value of animals, namely their humiliation, their excessive instrumentalisation and profound interventions in the appearance or abilities of animals. Nevertheless, millions of farm, laboratory, companion and wild animals suffer and die every year in favour of the sometimes trivial interests of humans.
Although the stuffing of geese and ducks has been banned in Switzerland - as well as in numerous European countries - for more than 40 years, the import of foie gras, which is produced by means of this extremely cruel production method, is still permitted; parliament and government persistently refuse to impose restrictions in this regard. The same applies to frog legs and many other animal source foods.
Today's reading tip shows how much time impactful changes in the human-animal relationship require. It can be seen as a plea for raising one's voice in favour of the weakest in our society and as an appeal to overcome the ignorance and disinterest of many of our contemporaries and to persistently stand up for the protection of animals in the long term. It would be urgently necessary to implement Albert Knapp's demand to integrate animal ethics into the teaching of children and young people. Currently, only a few organisations that depend on donations, such as the Foundation for Ethics in Education "Das Tier und wir" (The Animal and Us), are carrying out this important task. Even in legal studies, animal protection law has not yet arrived in the true sense of the word. Seminars on this subject are offered in Zurich by the Foundation for Animals in Law and Prof. Dr. iur. Daniel Jositsch and in Berne by Prof. Dr. Kunz.
The work "Tierschutz und Tierrechte im Königreich Württemberg" (Animal Protection and Animal Rights in the Kingdom of Württemberg) is available in bookshops and can also be consulted by appointment during opening hours in the TIR library, where reading and working space is available. Current new additions to the TIR library are regularly presented in the TIR library newsletter.
- Book: Tierschutz und Tierrechte im Königreich Württemberg by Wolfram Schlenker - in German
- Article: "Es wäre ein spektakulärer Wurf" - Animal rights activist Gieri Bolliger explains why he thinks basic rights for apes are inevitable by Katharina Fontana - in German
- Article: Grundrechte jenseits der "anthropologischen Schranke"? by Charlotte Blattner and Raffael Fasel - in German
- Book: For the Love of Animals - The Rise of the Animal Protection Movement by Kathryn Kathryn Shevelow
- Book: Wider die Tierquälerei - Frühe Aufrufe zum Tierschutz aus dem württembergischen Pietismus (Kleine Texte des Pietismus, Band 7) by Christian Adam Dann, Albert Knapp, Martin H. Jung (eds.) - in German
- Book: Aufruf an alle Menschen von Nachdenken und Gefühl zu gemeinschaftlicher Beherzigung und Linderung der unsäglichen Leiden der in unserer Umgebung lebenden Thiere (Schriften des Tierschutzvereins in Württemberg Nr. 8) von Christian Adam Dan - in German
- Book: Animal Dignity Protection in Swiss Law – Status Quo and Future Perspectives (TIR-Schriften – Band 15) by Gieri Bolliger
Animal People - The Humane Movement in America - A History of the Animal Protection Movement and the People Who Made It Happen by Gary Kaskel
- Recent additions to the TIR library: Newsletter TIR Library 01/2023
- All issues TIR library newsletter