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Global Animal Law

Head of Section:

Anne Peters

Video Anne Peters about her research area Global Animal Law

About the Project:

A globalised problem requires a global solution: Contemporary animal law suffers from a mismatch between almost exclusively national legislation on the one hand, and the global dimension of the problems in need of regulation on the other hand. While attention to animal law within individual jurisdictions is on the rise, states can no longer effectively regulate animals unilaterally. The much-decried governance gap arising from globalisation also concerns animals. The imperative of global (as opposed to purely national) regulation and legal analysis, of a global animal law, arises from the fact that virtually all aspects of (commodified) human−animal interactions (ranging from food production and distribution, working animals, animal use in research, to breeding and keeping of pets) possess a transboundary dimension. Legal rules on animals, their status, their welfare and potentially rights can be effective only if they are enacted both on the domestic and on the international level, and in the form of state or inter-state regulation and non-state standards.
Global Animal Law as a new analytical lens and legal field: A new legal field of Global Animal Law is emerging out of a range of subfields, including, for example, human rights law, trade law, food and agricultural law, health law, and environmental law, each in their transnational and international dimensions.
Global Animal Law is an umbrella term that allows researchers to grasp the complex nature and characteristics of the pertinent legal issues, and thus to better analyse, criticise, and advance the legal regimes governing animals globally. Generally speaking, ‘global’ law is a regulatory mix combining a host of different types of norms. Besides the various ‘levels’ of national, international, supranational, and regional or sub-state law, the regulatory network consists of norms made by states and by private actors, thus including standards emerging from industries, often in collaboration with governmental agencies. Finally, it includes both hard and soft law, ranging from codes and international conventions to declarations sponsored by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which often act transnationally. Global Animal Law also includes topics currently addressed only in national law.
Speaking in terms of Global Animal Law conveys the message that animal law can be best understood, applied, and analysed when legal practitioners and scholars have an eye simultaneously on the various ‘levels’ of the law, and on various norm types. The corpus of domestic, international, and local law, of state-made and privately generated, and of hard and soft law related to the treatment and welfare of animals has reached a critical mass justifying summing it up as a cross-cutting matter or as a legal field of its own, under the overarching heading of Global Animal Law.

Oxford Handbook of Global Animal Law

The Handbook intends to be a comprehensive reference work that authoritatively establishes the new field of Global Animal Law, maps it, identifies relevant legal issues, and forms a platform for further legal research.

The Handbook will address foundational as well as cutting-edge issues of Global Animal Law. It will also identify and analyse key principles, concepts, and actors shaping this field. It shows the impact of other disciplines and different intellectual paradigms on the formation and on our understanding of Global Animal Law. Finally, country reports, religion reports, snapshots on critical topics, and case notes provide succinct information on salient and current issues and problems.

Oxford Handbook of Global Animal Law

Animals in International Law (Hague Lecture 2019)

The plight of animal individuals and species inflicted on them by human activity is a global problem with detrimental repercussions for all humans and for the entire planet (Chap. I). The book gives an overview of the most important international legal regimes which directly address animals (Chap. II). It canvasses species conservation treaties such as the International Whaling Regime (Chap. III) and analyses the animal protection rules of the EU (Chap. IV). The book also analyses the chilling effects of international trade law on national and EU animal welfare measures and the possibilities for using the exceptions to trade liberalisation obligations and the new generation of trade agreements for frontrunner states’ animal friendly regulations (Chap. V). The current international law of armed conflict neglects the horrible effects of warfare on the various groups of animals, both wild and domesticated and suggests legal strategies for protecting animals in wartimes (Chap VI). Chapter VII discusses how fundamental rights for animals would fit into the fabric of international law and which practical and symbolical benefits for animals such a codification would convey.
Chapter VIII recapitulates that public international law creates more harm than good for animals and suggests legal strategies, including progressive treaty interpretation, treaty-making, and animal interest representation, for closing the animal welfare gap in international law. A body of global animal law needs to be developed, accompanied by critical global animal studies.

Anne Peters, Animals in International Law, Collected Courses of The Hague Academy of International Law, Recueil des Cours Vol. 410 (Leiden: Brill 2020), 95-544 (Livre de poche 2021).

Animals in the International Law of Armed Conflict

Animals are the unknown victims of armed conflicts. Wildlife populations usually decline during warfare, with disastrous repercussions on the food chain, on fragile ecosystems and precarious habitats. Belligerents take advantage of the war chaos for poaching and trafficking of animal products. Lifestock, companion, and zoo animals, highly dependent on human care, are direct victims of hostilities. The forthcoming book is the first legal analysis of these issues. It maps the framework of international humanitarian law. It examines which and how the concepts, principles, and rationales can be applied and adapted for a better protection of animals. The contributions inter alia discuss precautions for animal civilians, problems of animal combatants and prisoners, a specific status for veterinarian personnel, the recognition of biodiversity hotspots as specifically protected zones, and the potential of enforcement mechanisms. The concluding chapter draws together novel interpretations and reform proposals.

Research Project


Anne Peters/Jérôme de Hemptinne/Robert Kolb (eds), Animals in the International Law of Armed Conflict (Cambridge: CUP 2022).

Animals in war: At the vanishing point of international humanitarian law, International Review of the Red Cross 104 (2022), 1285-1314, (with Jérôme de Hemptinne).

A Plea for „Animalizing“ the International Law of Armed Conflict, Articles of War, Blog of the Lieber Institute West Point, (with Jérôme de Hemptinne), 11 October 2022. A Plea for “Animalizing” the International Law of Armed Conflict - Lieber Institute West Point


Jérôme de Hemptinne (Geneva Academy)

Staff Member(s):

Saskia Stucki

Cooperation partners

Brooks Mc Cormick Jr Animal Law & Policy Program, Harvard Law School

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Master's Degree in Animal Law and Society,

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights,


Anne Peters mentioned in: "Auch Putzerfische erkennen sich selbst im Spiegel", review of the book "Das unterschätzte Tier", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 30 April 2022, 12.
„Zwei Worte, ein Inhalt? Warum Tierschutz kein Artenschutz sein muss“, interview within the series „Mensch und Tier“ of the radio station hr-iNFO, 22 May 2021.
Anne Peters and PETA present legal opinion on extending the duration of unanaesthetized piglet castration in Berlin, 14 March 2019.

Anne Peters mentioned in: Carole Koch und Samuel Misteli, "Pioniere im Stall", NZZ Folio 7/2016, 38.

Anne Peters mentioned in: Petra Pinzler, "Ein deutsches Tierleben", Die Zeit Nr. 21, 15 Mai 2014, 36.

"Brauchen Rind und Robbe eigene Rechte?", interview about the complicated relationship between humans and animals, Basler Zeitung, 10 April 2014, 23.

Talks and Transfer of Knowledge

Lassen sich Tierversuche ethisch rechtfertigen?

10 October 2022: Panel discussion at the Einstein-Center 3R at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Berlin

The legal rights of rivers, apes, and elephants and the discrimination of chicken, cows, and pigs

29 September 2022: Plenary lecture at the 2nd Conference of the French Society for philosophy and legal and political theory (SFPJ at the Université Toulouse

16.04.2021: Les animaux dans le droit international

Seminar, HeidParisMax

Information about the Event



28.10.2020: Global Rights. Animal Rights.

Keynote Lecture, Max Planck Law Annual Conference (online)


About the Event
22 June 2020: Anne Peters, “Covid-19 shows the need for a Global Animal Law”, Opening Keynote Address at the webinar series “Coronavirus and Animals: The Human-Animal Relationship in Pandemic Society” of the International Center for Animal Law and Policy, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

8 August 2019: Anne Peters as an expert in the habeas corpus proceeding for the Andean bear Chucho at the hearing of the Colombian Constitutional Court.

Link to the video

(Contribution Anne Peters at 3:43:49)

20 February 2019: Anne Peters, "Biodiversity and animal rights: irreconcilable paradigms?", presentation at the 5th event of the lecture and discussion series: "Fundamental Research and Shaping the Future" of the Scientific Council of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science: "Biodiversity: Ecological and Legal Fundamental Research in Exchange." in Berlin

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 talk as part of the series "radioWissen" of the radio station Bayern 2.

Link to the talk

16 January 2017: Anne Peters, "Tierethik in der Grundlagenforschung", panel discussion in the general administration of the Max Planck Society, Munich.

Link to the recorded long version

Link to the short version

19 January 2016: Anne Peters, "Globales Tierrecht und die Internationalisierung der Rechtsordnung", Inaugural Lecture at the Department of Law of the Freie Universität Berlin.

4-5 April 2014: First Annual European Animal Rights Conference "The Animal Turn and the Law", University of Basel, Faculty of Law.

Conference website

Article to the topic on the Verfassungsblog


  • Peters, Anne: Animal Rights. In: Elgar Encyclopedia of Human Rights, Christina Binder, Manfred Nowak, Jane A Hofbauer, Philipp Janig (eds.). Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham 2022, 129-135.
  • Peters, Anne, Jérôme de Hemptinne, Robert Kolb (eds.): Animals in the International Law of Armed Conflict. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2022, XXVII+409 p. doi: 10.1017/9781009057301 Animals in the International Law of Armed Conflict
  • Peters, Anne, Jérôme de Hemptinne: Animals in Wartime: A Legal Research Agenda . In: Animals in the International Law of Armed Conflict, Anne Peters, Jérôme de Hemptinne, Robert Kolb (eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2022, 3-27. Chapter
  • Peters, Anne, Jérôme de Hemptinne, Robert Kolb: Key Findings and Recommendations . In: Animals in the International Law of Armed Conflict, Anne Peters, Jérôme de Hemptinne, Robert Kolb (eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2022, 385-404. Chapter
  • Peters, Anne: Staatsziel Tierschutz – Rechtsauftrag und Verantwortung Deutschlands in der Europäischen Union. MPIL Research Paper Series No. 2022-15, 2022.
  • Peters, Anne(ed.): Studies in Global Animal Law. Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, 2020. doi: 10.1007/9783662607565
  • Book Review: Peters, Anne, Ley, Hendrik Stephan: Das Instrument der Tierschutz-Verbandsklage: Hintergründe, theoretische Grundlage und praktische Umsetzung, Berlin, 2018. In: Die Verwaltung, 52, 459-461, 2019.
  • Peters, Anne: Religious Slaughter and Animal Welfare Revisited: CJEU, Liga van Moskeeën en islamitische Organisaties Provincie (2018). In: Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law 5, 269-297 (2019).
  • Peters, Anne: Die Rechtsstellung von Tieren – Status Quo und Weiterentwicklung . In: Haben Tiere Rechte? – Aspekte und Dimensionen der Mensch-Tier-Beziehung. Schriftenreihe Bd. 10450. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Bonn 2019, 122-134.
  • Peters, Anne: Between Trade and Torture: Animals in EU law. In: Zeitschrift für europarechtliche Studien 2, 173-196 (2019).
  • Peters, Anne: Rights of Human and Nonhuman Animals: Complementing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In: American Journal of International Law Unbound 112, 355-360 (2018). doi: 10.1017/aju.2018.84.
  • Peters, Anne, Saskia Stucki, Livia Boscardin (eds.): Animal Law: Reform or Revolution? Schulthess, Zürich, 2015.

    Reviewed by:

    Peters, Anne, Saskia Stucki: Vorschläge für eine tierfreundliche, verfassungskonforme und richtliniengetreue Umsetzung der EU-Tierversuchsrichtlinie in Deutschland. Schulthess, Zürich, 2014.

    Peters, Anne: Animals Matter in International Law and International Law, Matters for Animals, Introduction to Symposium on Global Animal Law (Part I), AJIL Unbound, 18 September 2017.

  • Peters, Anne, Saskia Stucki: Globales Tierrecht. In: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Jahrbuch 2017 (2017). doi: 10.17617/1.3K. Article
  • Peters, Anne: Tierwohl als globales Gut: Regulierungsbedarf und -chancen. In: MPIL Research Paper Series No. 2016-03 (2016). Abstract
  • Peters, Anne: Vom Tierschutzrecht zu Legal Animal Studies: Forschungsdesiderate und -perspektiven Rechtswissenschaft Themenheft: Tiere und Recht. In: Rechtswissenschaft Themenheft: Tiere und Recht 7, 325-337 (2016).
  • Peters, Anne: Tierwohl als globales Gut: Regulierungsbedarf und -chancen. In: Rechtswissenschaft Themenheft: Tiere und Recht 7, 363-387 (2016).
  • Peters, Anne (Co-editor): Rechtswissenschaft Themenheft: Tiere und Recht, volume 7, issue 3, Nomos, Baden-Baden, 2016.

  • Peters, Anne: Global Animal Law: What it is and why we need it. In: Transnational Environmental Law 5, 9-23 (2016). Global Animal Law: What it is and why we need it (PDF, 164.1 KB)
  • Peters, Anne: Liberté, Égalité, Animalité: Human-Animal Comparisons in Law. In: Transnational Environmental Law 5, 25-53 (2016). Abstract
  • 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: Tiere im Recht. In: EMMA 4, 86-89 (July/August 2016). Abstract
  • Peters, Anne: Tier-Recht im Zeitalter des Menschen. In: Das Anthropozän - Zum Stand der Dinge, Jürgen Renn, Bernd Scherer (eds.). Matthes & Seitz, Berlin 2015, 67-87.
  • Peters, Anne: Animal Law - A Paradigm Change. In: Animal Law: Reform or Revolution?, Anne Peters, Saskia Stucki, Livia Boscardin (eds.). Schulthess, Zürich 2015, 15-32.
  • Peters, Anne: Liberté, égalité, animalité. In: Kulturstiftung des Bundes Magazin 23, 12-15 (2014). Article
  • Peters, Anne, Saskia Stucki, Livia Boscardin: The Animal Turn – What is it and why now?., 14 April 2014. Article


Summer term 2022

Block seminar: Aktuelle Fragen des Tierrechts

University of Heidelberg and FU Berlin, 7 - 9 July 2022

Winter term 2020/2021

Max Planck Law Class: Global Animal Law

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Zoom, 28. Januar 2021

Summer term 2020

Block seminar: Aktuelle Fragen des Tierrechts

University of Heidelberg and FU Berlin

Announcement Heidelberg Seminar "Tierrecht" (PDF, 231.7 KB)

Winter term 2019/2020

Visiting Professorship, Seminar: Global Animal Law

The University of Michigan Law School, 24 September - 10 October 2019

Winter term 2018/2019

Lecture: International Law and Animals

The Hague Academy of International Law, 14 - 18 January 2019

Programme Winter Courses 2019 (PDF, 323.3 KB)

Winter term 2017/2018

Master in Animal Law and Society, Lecture: Global Animal Law: Cases and Controversies

Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, 23 - 25 January 2018

Winter term 2017/2018

Visiting Professorship, Seminar: Global Animal Law

The University of Michigan Law School, 18 September - 6 October 2017

Summer term 2017

Block seminar: Globales Tierrecht

Freie Universität Berlin, 12 - 14 July 2017

Poster (PDF, 302.0 KB)

Summer term 2017

Master in Animal Law and Society, Lecture: Global Animal Law: Cases and Controversies

Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, 14 - 16 June 2017

Summer term 2016

Colloquium: Internationales Umwelt- und Tierrecht

Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, 31 May - 1 June 2016

Summer term 2016

Master in Animal Law and Society, Lecture: Global Animal Law: Cases and Controversies

Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, 21 - 23 April 2016

Summer term 2015

Master in Animal Law and Society, Lecture: Global Animal Law: Cases and Controversies

Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, 23 - 24 April 2015

Winter term 2014/2015

Interdisziplinäres Blockseminar zur Theorie der Mensch-Tier-Beziehung: Politisch-philosophische, völker- und europarechtliche Zugänge (Anne Peters, MPI Heidelberg und Bernd Ladwig, Otto-Suhr-Institut, FU Berlin)

Freie Universität Berlin, 17 October 2014, 29 November 2014, 6/7 February 2015

Winter term 2013/2014

Master in Animal Law and Society, Lecture: Global Animal Law: Cases and Controversies

Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, 9 - 10 January 2014