Animal lawyer

 

International Animal Law and Ethics Consultant

As an international consultant for animal law and ethics, I am available to governments, animal welfare organizations, universities and media representatives as a guest speaker and expert assessor. If I may assist you with legal or ethical issues, with preparing analysis on an animal's legal status in your country, with creating solutions or legal documents, or by appearing as a guest lecturer at your university, please follow the link below.

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"The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

Mahatma Gandhi

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.

 

Talks and Lectures

  • 24th New Zealand Companion Animal Conference in Auckland, New Zealand
  • "Voiceless" - a four-week lecture series in Australia
  • St. Hubert Department at the Senate in Paris
  • Contribution to the film "The Ghosts in Our Machine"
  • La Coscienza Degli Animali, Milan, Italy
  • University of Graz, Austria
  • La Coscienza Degli Animali, Rome, Italy
  • IAHAIO World Conference on "The Animal in the Law - A Global Perspective", Stockholm, Sweden
  • McGill University Symposium on "Political and Legal Animal Welfare, Role and Instruments ", Montreal, Canada
  • FOMA Conference on "Political and Legal Animal Welfare, Role and Instruments", Barcelona, Spain
  • IAHAIO World Conference on "The Animal in the Law - A Global Perspective", Tokyo, Japan
  • National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina - "Challenges to the veterinary profession from the animal in law"
  • University of Heidelberg - "The animal in law and the regulatory postulate"
  • Cambridge University - "Animals in European Laws - legal aspects of human-animal bonds"

 

Principles

Knowledge

In almost 30 years of professional experience, I have committed myself to those who have no voice - animals. I have worked on the most interesting criminal cases and know their legal pitfalls. My experience ranges from animals in private law, constitutional law, administrative and criminal law through to animal ethics and animals in society.

From 2007 to 2010, I was the "lawyer for animal protection in criminal matters" in the Canton of Zurich and have officially represented animals in trials against animal cruelty and violations of the animal welfare law. I have significantly contributed to the legislative approach in Switzerland which has led to animals no longer being viewed as “a thing” in legislation but considered living beings. Working as an animal lawyer, I have been involved in more than 700 cases. In addition to this, I initiated the establishment of the "Würde der Kreatur" (dignity of creation) in Switzerland's Federal Constitution.

My experience in working with universities and teaching at the Zurich Law School, as well as my four-week lecture series in Australia in 2013 and many other conferences worldwide, have given me much joy and confidence in speaking to large, academic, politically interested and critical audiences.

Practical approach

I see myself as an intermediary between universities, animal welfare organizations, legislators and the media for establishing animal welfare on a legal and ethical level.

My orientation is practical in nature. While the tasks of universities are related to theoretical or scientific research, the role of animal welfare organizations is often limited to uncovering abuse although the legal approach is often neglected. Solutions acceptable to the majority are rarely expected by these organizations.

For me, the solution lies in cooperation between universities, government, animal welfare organizations, the media and implementation at legislative level. I show understanding for all parties - the Federal Council, the universities, the farmers and the media.

Independence

Independence is important to me. I have detached myself from all organizations to preserve my freedom in thought and action. I lobby for animal interests as a freelancer.

International

In a long-term study and with the help of the "Foundation for Animals in Law", I have analyzed the legal status of animals in about 30 countries and have an extensive knowledge in international comparative law.

Media

I share my knowledge and concerns with the outside world by giving countless radio, TV and magazine interviews, nationally and internationally.

Languages

I speak German, English and French fluently.

 

The GAL project

As a brand-new platform online, the GAL website invites everybody to make realistic and visionary proposals to improve the legal condition of animals: from the local to the universal level, and from quick wins to utopias!

More information at www.globalanimallaw.org.