The overarching research objective is to shed light on a discrete branch of international law: global animal law (GAL). The starting hypothesis is that contemporary animal law must also be global (i.e. both transboundary and multi-level) in order to be effective. In times of globalization, basically all aspects of (commodified) human−animal interactions (ranging from food production and distribution over working animals, uses in research, to breeding and keeping of pets) possess a transboundary dimension. Animal welfare has become a global good which requires global regulation.
Many aspects of the factual and legal situation of animals depend on climate and ecology, and in turn impact on those. Also, human’s attitudes towards animals are influenced by habits, religion, the wealth of a society, its state of industrialization, and other cultural factors. For these reasons, any global regulation of animals needs to take into account and must be linked to international economic environmental law, international human rights law, the law of development, and should generally be sensitive to north−south relations. Attention also needs to be paid to consequences for animal welfare of legal obligations to liberalize markets.
The research will contribute to the historical and conceptual groundwork and to the practical development of GAL by furnishing appropriate legal arguments and concepts, and should stimulate law reform by identifying legal gaps. To that end, the dispersed international (universal and regional, notably European) norms (hard and soft) on animal welfare must first be identified, mapped, and analyzed. Second, international and European law suits (before the ECJ, the ECHR, the ICJ, the WTO Dispute Settlement Bodies, etc.) and legal reform projects in the entire field are commented and criticized.
While international norms on animal welfare (as opposed to species protection) are currently not in place, the Council of Europe and the European Union have increasingly adopted legal norms on animal welfare, mostly in the agricultural context. Moreover, the European Court of Human Rights is developing case law on the interface between human rights and animal law. The regional body of law therefore invites study with a view to suggestions for the universalization of pertinent norms.
Methods: Research in GAL is usually interdisciplinary to the extent that it must draw on core findings of philosophy (ethics), biology (zoology), anthropology (human-animal studies), history, cultural studies, economics, and other disciplines. Research is often comparative and not limited to international law proper, because the relevant body of international law is very thin. The research thus involves both “horizontal” comparisons (among different national legal regimes) and “vertical” legal comparisons (among national, European, and international legal regimes).
Specific topics of study, inter alia, concern the structure of international rights for animals in comparison to human rights, the admissibility of extraterritorial animal protection laws, the conflict between free trade and animal protection, cultural relativism in animal law, conflicts between animal protection and human rights (freedom of research; freedom of religion, right to (animal) food), synergies between animal protection and human rights (such as the right to privacy, right to a healthy environment, right to (plant-based) food), food and distributive justice, and others.
In times of war, the first instinct is to relieve the suffering of human beings. Environmental and animal interests are always pushed into the background. However, warfare also strongly affects natural resources, including animals, which makes wildlife issues a matter of great concern. Habitat destruction and the resulting disappearance of animals often threaten the survival of populations affected by hostilities.
‘Over the last 50 years, certain species have been vanishing at a very high rate because of wars, with often disastrous effects on the food chain and on the balance of nature. Indeed, as recently emphasized by a report published in the Journal Conservation Biology, during this period, 80 per cent of armed conflicts have taken place in countries – such as Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda or Vietnam – that contain areas of high global species diversities’ underlines Jérôme de Hemptinne.
Being deeply anthropocentric, international humanitarian law (IHL) largely ignores questions relating to the protection of animals during armed conflicts. This research project precisely aims at filling this gap by producing a book on this issue.
Jérôme de Hemptinne (Geneva Academy)
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Master's Degree in Animal Law and Society,
Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, https://www.geneva-academy.ch/
EuroGroup for Animal Law Studies (EGALS)
University of Basel, Law school, doctoral programme “Law and Animals”: www.law-and-animals.ch
Anne Peters mentioned in: Carole Koch und Samuel Misteli, "Pioniere im Stall", NZZ Folio 7/2016, 38.
Anne Peters mentioned in: Pinzler Petra, "Ein deutsches Tierleben", Die Zeit No. 21 of 15 May 2014, 36.
“Brauchen Rind und Robbe eigene Rechte?“, Interview about the complicated relationship between man and animal, Basler Zeitung of 10 April 2014, 23.
4 October 2017: Anne Peters, "Global Animal Law: The Emergence Of A New Legal Field", presentation at the Ann Arbor University of Michigan Law School, Hutchins Hall 218.
27 July 2017: Anne Peters, "Haben Tiere Rechte?", studio interview within the framework of the series "radioWissen" of the radio station Bayern 2.
19 January 2016: Anne Peters, "Globales Tierrecht und die Internationalisierung der Rechtsordnung", Inaugural Lecture at the Department of Law at the Freie Universität Berlin.
10 November 2015: Anne Peters, "Globales Tierrecht: Aktuelle Kontroversen", School of Humanities at the University of Mannheim.
4-5 April 2014: First Annual European Animal Law Conference, "The Animal
Turn and the Law", Law faculty of the University of Basel, Switzerland.
This article problematizes the discrepancy between the wealth of international law serving human needs and rights and the international regulatory deficit concerning animal welfare and animal rights. It suggests that, in the face of scientific evidence, the legal human–animal boundary (as manifest notably in the denial of rights to animals) needs to be properly justified. Unmasking the (to some extent) ‘imagined’ nature of the human–animal boundary, and shedding light on the persistence of human–animal comparisons for pernicious and beneficial purposes of the law, can offer inspirations for legal reform in the field of animal welfare and even animal rights.
Peters, Anne, Saskia Stucki, Livia Boscardin (eds.): Animal Law: Reform or Revolution? Schulthess, Zürich, 2015.
Peters, Anne, Saskia Stucki: Vorschläge für eine tierfreundliche, verfassungskonforme und richtliniengetreue Umsetzung der EU-Tierversuchsrichtlinie in Deutschland. Schulthess, Zürich, 2014.