important very early player within the animal protection movement was
Dr Theodor Plieninger (1795-1879), who later became the defining figure
of the first decade of the Württemberg Animal Protection Society.
Plieninger also criticised fattening methods regarding pigs and cattle.
He also demanded that the animals be driven more gently to the
slaughterhouses and criticised the practice of piling up shackled
animals on transport wagons. Plieninger, Knapp and the Stuttgart
petition also vehemently opposed the stuffing of geese and ducks, as
well as the extraction of frog legs.
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
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
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.
"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.