I am convinced that it is of great importance for us, as individuals and as a society, to shape a healthy relationship with animals; one that will do them justice and one that will provide us humans with a good conscience. If we reject this relationship, be it on purpose or out of ignorance, moral neglect will pursue that will negatively affect long term human relations.
So how do we treat animal protection in general, particularly when there is no consistent behavior or thinking among the majority of the population? It does not help to point the moral finger to holes in the system when there is possibly no system in existence.
The two cornerstones for the protection of animals are animal ethics and animal welfare legislation. One is the necessary basis for the other in terms of application. Coherent and consistent legislation for the protection of animals is dependent on ethical foundations. These principles must be made by theologians and philosophers. Clear ethical concepts are the basis for a legal system. The reason why animals should be better positioned in law is fundamental. It is easy to advocate animal protection in general and to raise them humanely, but when it comes to intricacies an ethical foundation is essential.
Should all animals be protected? And not only great apes and whales, but also pets and even invertebrates? Does such protection prohibit the killing of animals for food? Are we allowed to deny animals their freedom even when they have a "good life" in their prisons? These and many other questions can only be treated consistently if the basic ethical concepts have been clarified.
One of the most important recognitions of modern times is animal dignity. It is therefore crucial that we perceive animals in their entirety and grant them not only welfare rights, but also integrity, in other words appreciating their intrinsic value. It involves much more than simply preventing suffering and pain. If one takes the concept of dignity as a basis, not only relatively straightforward questions on livestock production and slaughtering are addressed, but others such as the keeping of pets, the use of animals for therapeutic purposes and the their use as "love objects".
By incorporating the "Würde der Kreatur" (dignity of creation) in the Federal Constitution in 1992 and subsequently in the Animal Welfare Act, Switzerland has made a promising start in this context. Other countries have since followed.
In recent years, I have observed a growing interest to improve the legal position of animals and I am offering my experience and knowledge more and more to international lobbying groups. Here, I advocate for the substantive and structural improvement of the legal status of animals in the constitution, in law and in law enforcement.
For governments, I am available as a consultant and expert assessor for analyzing the legal status of animals in the country-specific legislation and in comparison to international standards. I offer suggestions for improving the content and application of the laws and advise during the implementation and application phase.
For animal welfare organizations, I act as a strategic advisor in legal and policy matters and am available for media interviews.
I work as a lecturer at universities, am involved in promoting research in national and international animal protection law, and supervise dissertations, theses and papers.
If I can assist you in ethical issues, with preparing analysis on the legal status of an animal in your country, with creating solutions or legal documents, by appearing as a guest lecturer at your university, acting as a media partner or by offering strategic advice to your animal welfare organization, I am looking forward to working together and cooperating with you.