Dr. jur. Christian Sailer

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Lecture given in the university of Belgrade
- "forum romanum" - on the 19th Jan. 2001

Constitutional rights for animals?

by Dr. Christian Sailer

The relationship between man and animals has, over thousands of years, been characterized by extreme inconsistency. In archaic so-cieties animals were held to be sacred and godlike. In the religion of the Old Testament they had a diametrically opposite function: they were given as sacrifices to God. In ancient Rome they held the status of being articles of property - along with women, chil-dren and slaves. In the Middle Ages it might even happen that the animals were brought before court and sentenced if they had in-jured human-beings. And in our day and age millions of cattle, pigs and sheep have become the object of an industrial meat pro-duction, which results in a treatment of the animals which, for the most part, drives them to madness. Since the mad-cow disease as an epidemic now hits back at human-beings, the relationship be-tween man and animals will, as from now, take on a new dimen-sion. The relationship is, therefore, not only fatal to the animals. It is also highly dangerous for human-beings. 

In any case the relationship has never been so intensive. Mankind has never before caused so many animals so much suffering. For instance in the intensive live-stock farms in which the victims of the modern meat-industry are packed into such small space that, out of fear and aggression, they attack one another. Pigs bite off each others' ears and tails, hens mutually pluck out their feathers and hack themselves bloody. The battery-hens eke out a miserable existence in cages that are smaller than a piece of paper. In order to control the animals' aggression it is not unusual to break out a pig's teeth or cut off one of the hens claws. The animals are ex-pected to live under conditions which literally drive them crazy and necessitate a constant use of drugs and antibiotics. Even then a third of the victims becomes ill and dies whilst still in the sheds. 

After the tortures of intensive livestock farming there follows a life of suffering on the way to the slaughterhouse - right across Europe by means of trucks and ships. We have all experienced the pictures on television: cattle, sheep, horses, pigs and poultry crammed together in lorries and ships; thirsty, in a state of exhaus-tion, badly hurt, dying or already dead. Many of them are on the way for days or weeks on end - from Germany as far as the Leba-non or Egypt. Business with live-transport to foreign countries is very lucrative, for it is highly subsidized. The livestock will be thoroughly maltreated once again: in transport which is far too cramped and in which it once more comes to fights between ani-mals of the same species, through heat and thirst, cold and hunger, the fear of unknown surroundings and through being beaten by sticks and electric shocks. An animal which can no longer get on to its feet again, will, if necessary, be thrown onto the ship by means of a fork-lift-truck or a winch. Many of the animals reach their destination with broken bones, injuries to their eyes and haematoma.
And then the final agonies before the butchering take place. Poul-try, whilst still alive, is hung, upside down, by its feet on con-veyor-belts and dragged through an electrically-charged bath of water, in order to numb the animals before slaughter. In the case of cattle and sheep this stupefying takes place by means of electric pincers or through CO2. It is not unusual for this procedure to fail, and the animals come round again and are slaughtered and bled to death whilst still fully conscious. The victims seem to be seized by an indescribable fear when they are driven along the narrow pas-sages towards the place of slaughter. They come to a halt again and again, screaming, but the following animals push them for-wards. There is more screaming in front of the location where the animals are to be stupefied. The slaughterers wear earmuffs. 

And to name a final example: Special forms of tortures are thought out for the animals in the scientific laboratories. They are made ill in order to test various medicines, they are operated on, have transplantations and amputations and poison is directly injected into the abdomen or the lungs. In order to test the efficiency of the poison it is considered a part of the experiment, that the animals, whilst fully conscious, battle for hours or even days with high fe-vers and bloody diarrhoea, writhing in convulsions. Worldwide three hundred million animals are killed each year in experiments: mice, rats, birds, fish, rabbits, monkeys, dogs and cats, sheep and even cattle and horses. 

All this takes place in countries in which ethics and morals are claimed to be the foundation of their legal system, and which feel themselves committed to human rights and humanity. In such a si-tuation three questions of fundamental value arise. Firstly: Which ethical and philosophical (in German: weltanschauliche) maxims are we faced with in our present-day dealings with the animal world. Secondly: To what extent does the legally established protection of animals fulfil the conditions of the ethical pos-tulations? And thirdly: To what extent is an implementation of the law for the protection of animals necessary, and its anchorage in the constitution imperative? I could imagine that all these ques-tions and problems are not only valid for the German system of law well-known to me, but, in a similar form, are more or less valid for most other European states including the Republic of Serbia, too.

I. The ethical starting-point which determines the relationship be-tween man and nature and animals in Europe results from an an-thropocentric conception of the world (in German: Weltbild) char-acterized by Jewish-Christian thought. According to this God cre-ated man as creation's crowning glory. How threatening this came to be for the rest of living things is already discernible in Genesis Chapter 9 Verse 2 where God is supposed to have said: "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things." In the New Testament this attitude is not basically corrected. Jesus of Nazareth took a stand against the ritual animal sacrifice of the Old Testament and thought it right to seek an animal which had gone astray on the Sabbath Day. But otherwise, according to the ac-counts of the Evangelists, of whom, admittedly, not one was an ear- or eyewitness, He has supposedly said very little about deal-ing peaceably with animals, which in the face of what he preached in His teachings, and the Sermon on the Mount in particular, is very surprising. On the other hand Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, propagated, all the more, an unlimited consumption of meat: "Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake". From the official church which de-veloped in the following centuries, the pre-emminence of man, as opposed to animals, was, above all, accentuated by the fact that man was solely in the possession of an immortal soul. Francis of Assisi's love of animals was a mere episode. According to Thomas of Aquin animals have no soul at all. These religious-"weltanschauliche" premisses put their seal on the fate of animals for about two thousand years. 

On the part of philosophy, which, for centuries, held itself to be the servant of theology, no help came. On the contrary: In the 17th Century the mathematician and philosopher Descartes intensified the way of looking at the world from a centrally human point of view by his famous words: "Cogito ergo sum". The spirit was re-duced to its place in the human brain and the rest of the world was dead matter. An animal was nothing more than a machine which Descartes compared to a clockwork mechanism of wheels and springs. This mechanical conception of the world celebrated its triumph in connection with the developing natural sciences, but lost sight of life, the soul and the spirit. Spirit and life were no longer seperate identities but the result of chemical combinations and physical processes. 

A century later the ethics of Immanuel Kant followed this line of anthropocentric thinking. But at least he combines the idea of pure reason with freedom and human dignity. Kant's categorical im-perative only achieves the protection of animals indirectly. A gen-tle treatment of animals is not demanded out of concern for them, but in the interests of human dignity. It concerns a man's duty to-wards himself. If he treated the animals badly his sympathy to-wards their suffering would become dulled, and in this way human morality in connection with other human beings would suffer. The protection of animals as a protection for human beings. 

It is apparent that this anthropocentric approach cannot get us a-nywhere, for it doesn't put the animals, as fellow-creatures with their own intrinsic value, in the picture. The philosophy of english empiricism proves to be much more friendly towards animals. One of their leading representatives, David Hume, a contemporary of Kant, starts from a closely related assumption, namely, that ani-mals, too, can experience pain, joy, fear, so that the interests of the animals are to be protected independently. Jeremy Bentham takes up Hume's hypothesis and his philosophy is to become a form of basic program for the protection of animals just coming into being. He literally writes: "The day may come, when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. ... The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?" 

Rousseau and Schopenhauer are also regarded as a classical rep-resentatives of such pathocentrical ethics. For Schopenhauer "boundless compassion for all living things" is "the surest guaran-tee for morally good behaviour". One of the most well-known rep-resentatives of an ethic which emphasises the intrinsic value of animals was Albert Schweitzer. His doctrine of reverence for life places more emphasis on man's responsibility for all forms of life rather than from the point of view of compassion. This culminates in the much-quoted sentence: "I am life that wants to live, in the midst of life that wants to live." (or in German: Ich bin Leben, das leben will inmitten von Leben, das leben will). 

I will now leave it at this exemplary portrayal of the state of opin-ion concerning the ethical thinking about protection of animals. Anthropocentric thinking on the one hand, and on the other, a concept for protection which may be applied to animals, proved to be the fundamental issues of ethical protection of animals. Both have, up until the present day, been continued. This applies in par-ticular to the pathocentric component right up to the call for inde-pendent rights for animals and the same valuation of the life-interests of animals and human beings - about which I will speak later. It was a long way - from the towering image of God-like man in biblical thinking, through the concretization of nature and life as seen through the eyes of Descartes, through Kants duty of ethics right up to the regaining of the unity of body and soul, spirit and matter in the english empiricism and in the german variety of pathocentric thought.

The regaining of life as a whole and its ethical consequences for the protection of animals are also corroborated from quite another source - modern physics or, more exactly, quantum physics. This has long overcome the conception of the world of materialism. Einstein once said: "The atoms which appear to us to be matter are in fact a concentration of energy!" And Max Planck clarified it: "All matter comes into being and is in existence only by means of a power which holds the atom, as a minute solar system, to-gether. But as there is no power, as such, in the universe, we must assume a conscious and intelligent spirit behind this form of en-ergy. This is the very basis of matter!"

And not least: In respect to religion too, another spirit is in the air. In this connection I would like to mention a religious community named Universal Life which follows up the ideas of original Christianity and assumes that God reveales Himself, at the present day, through the mouth of a prophet. And that He gives fundamen-tal insights into the correlations of life, which, in many ways agree with what the quantum physicists report: That a universal spirit weaves through everything, and that the essence of the universe is in all things: in every atom, in every molecule, in every plant, in every animal and of course, in every human being, too. It is one and the same breath which streams through man and animal: the breath of Life, of God.

II. What results from all this in regard to our contemporary deal-ings with animals, and to the protection of animals which yet has to be legally established.

If we contemplate the ethical maximum of the rigorous supporters of the pathocentric conception of protection, we ought to become vegetarians on the spot. We also ought to open the doors of the cowsheds sheep pens and pig sties in order to send all the animals to the fields so that they may die in peace. This may be something that a growing number of people adopt of their own free will: it can however only become valid law when a democratic majority desires it. On the other hand if one starts out from the ethical mi-nimum of biblical or clerical attitudes towards the protection of animals one will have to change very little - from intensive live-stock farming to the animal experiment laboratories. But that would already be incompatible with many of the requirements of the anthropocentric protection of animals. The current practicable course might lie midway between the two. The combination of a considerate treatment of animals which would be in accordance with the dignity of man, and a careful thought for the well-being of both soul and body which would be in accordance with the dignity of animals, might lead to a politically-acceptable further develop-ment of animal-protection which would not only evaluate handed-down behaviour patterns, but also include a clearly recognizable reduction of experiments on animals. It has not at all been deter-mined that the consumption of meat, and, in particular, on the scale practised today, is necessary for human-beings in the long run, or whether it is even a part of the nature of the homo sapiens sapiens who was, at the beginning of his development, possibly a vegetarian. 

What is the attitude of the legal protection of animals towards the ethical postulations between anthropocentric and pathocentric thought? First developments of law and regulations for the protec-tion of animals are to be found in the ancient Babylonian codex hammurabi around 2000 years B.C., possibly mankind's oldest code of law, which, amongst other things, contains penal provi-sions against the overtaxing of an animals capacity for work. Ro-man law, too, which applied the law of property concerning ani-mals indirectly resulted in a favourable attitude towards animals because of the protection of personal property. A ray of hope in the dark Middle Ages is the City Law of Cologne which in 1417 threatened that the "trapping of nightingales and rabbits" would mean a prison sentence. 

A systematic legislation for the protection of animals, first came about in the 19th Century and it was, in fact, England that, on the 22nd of July 1822, brought in the "act to prevent the cruel and im-proper treatment of cattle". In this the ill-treatment of farm work-ing animals resulted in punishment. Thanks to many private initia-tives for the protection of cruelty to animals it soon came to penal provisions against atrocities to animals in many European coun-tries, and, not least, in Germany. It is remarkable that, at first, it was taken into account whether the cruelty was to be considered a public offence which injured the feeling of respect of a third party whereas it was somewhat later that an injury of the animal, as such, was held to be worthy of punishment. 
In Germany it first came to an extensive codification of legal pro-tection for animals in the second half of the last century. The law for the protection of animals in the Germany of today has, in many respects, model character, and this both in positive and negative aspects. In paragraph I it promisingly says: "The intention of this law is to protect the life and well-being of an animal as a fellow creature under the responsibility of man. No one may, without good reasons, cause pain, suffering or injury to an animal." One cannot estimate too highly this declaration of belief in an ethical, pathocentric protection of animals. But the difficulties begin when one tries to put it into practice: What is a "good reason" under which the animal may be "put to pain"? The question is partly an-swered by special legal regulations. For example the field of ex-periments on animals. They may be carried out if this is "impera-tive" for medical reasons, for the recognition of dangers to the en-vironment, and for fundamental research. But what is "impera-tive"? The carrying out of a research programme or the avoidance of an acute danger? In as far as no special regulations for the treatment of animals exist, the question of whether they may, with good reasons, be caused pain, suffering, or injury is to be an-swered by way of choice between conflicting rights - a choice be-tween the interests of the user of the animal on the one hand, and the integrity of the animal itself, on the other. For example the kill-ing of so called one day-old chicks, the masculine progeny of the battery hens, for which no use is to be found in poultry-farming. They are therefore sorted out and gassed, or chopped to pieces in a chaffcutter. For a rationally-orientated maximization of profit it makes sense to kill the chickens, for they can neither be used for the production of eggs nor for fattening. On the other hand the de-struction of the chickens constitutes an exceedingly serious intru-sion in the lives of animals - in hundreds of thousands if not in millions of cases. Can this be offset by the advantages of cheap mass-produced breakfast-eggs? Or must one oppose the egg-producers with the argument: If, in advance, you are prepared to accept the fact that 50% of the hatched chicks will always be got rid of as waste-material resulting from the egg-production, then your business-concept is incompatible with the legal protection of an animal's intrinsic value as part of creation. 

Something similar is valid for the processing-premiums for calves, known, popularly, as Herod premiums. In order to reduce the overcapacity on the meat-markets in some European countries subventions for the disposal of calves are paid. This led German cattle-farmers to transport their up to 20-day-old calves abroad for slaughter. As far as the stabilizing of the meat-markets and the surety of the meat producers income is concerned this may be a form of action in which the animals are not killed "without good reason." In other words a legal exception to the state of facts would exist. But taking into consideration the "responsibility of man towards animals as a part of creation", the choice between conflicting rights can only end in favour of animal protection, and against a way of looking at things merely oriented towards the uses of industrial meat production." For it virtually means the end of an ethical understanding of the idea of animal protection if at first calves are produced for which, from the beginning, there is hardly a chance of normal marketing, and which are then often transported more than a thousand kilometers in order to slaughter them and make them into animal feed or cat or dog food." (Johannes Casper)

An important part of animal-protection law is the regulation for keeping livestock in a manner characteristic for the various spe-cies. Paragraph 2 of the German law lays down: "Whoever keeps an animal, looks after or is in charge of one, must, in accordance with the animal species and its needs adequately feed, look after and provide it with appropriate accomodation and he may not re-strict the animals possibilities of movement in accordance with its species so that it suffers pain or avoidable illness or injury." 

One can only congratulate the animal concerned on so much legal care. But unfortunately little has changed as far as its fate is con-cerned. An animal's life is still as sad and sorry as I described at the start. Why? The legislator works, of necessity, with relatively general and indefinite legal conceptions. To a great extent he lea-ves it to the statutory orders to put it into concrete terms. It shall set down what animals in their mass-accommodation should be granted as far as the possibilities of movement and group-needs are concerned, with what they shall be fed, how they shall be transported and how all this shall be supervised. In as far as such statutory orders really were issued, they were limited to minimal standards, which could not even approximately do justice to the sublime objectives of the law. One thinks of the statutory for the holding of poultry which allows the caged hens 450 square centi-meters of floor-space or of the statutory for the holding of pigs which allows pigs up to an average weight of 110 kg a habitat of 1 square meter at the most. The animal protection authorities are, in regards to the supervision of regulations, partly aware of their generous liberality and partly overtaxed. Even the minimal exis-tence standards are often not kept. And animals are not in a posi-tion to sue for their rights. But the holders of mass animal farms, live-stock dealers and animal experiment laboratories can go to Court against the orders of thepublic authorities which followed as an enforcement of the law of animal protection. In doing so they mostly have the stronger position, for their activities are protected by law. (The freedom of practising a profession, the freedom of science and research), whilst the public authority for the protec-tion of animals can only enforce statutory law (non-constitutional law). And that is why one of the best experts on the situation con-cerning the legal protection of animal rights in Germany and Europe in general stressed that: "Up to now the endeavours to-wards an effective protection of animals against the modern phe-nomenon of intensive livestock owning on a European level, but in national law too, have hardly changed anything as far as the unfa-vourable methods of so-called animal protection is concerned. In the future therefore, if not a fundamental abolition of the holding of animals under dubious standpoints regarding animal protection is called for, then at least everything within our power should be done to see that the legal potential for animal protection and con-trol of the methods practised in the holding of animals is pro-foundly applied." 

III. That brings us to the third of the questions we posed at the be-ginning: To what extent is, for the batterment of the legal protec-tion of animals an anchorage in the constituion imperative?

One of the deficits already mentioned lies in the triangular rela-tionship between the public authority for the protection of animals, the animals to be protected, and the users of the animals. Allow me to elucidate this situation with two examples which caused a sensation in Germany:

About ten years ago there was a mass dying of seals in the North Sea. The public authorities had granted various authorizations al-lowing waste-products to be pumped into the sea, or waste to be incinerated on the high seas. As a result of this a number of nature and environmental protection associations appealed to the admin-istrative court in Hamburg in order to stop the action. They placed their claim "in the name of the North Sea seals". The seals and their protectors didn't stand a chance. The court determined that the claimants were animals, and, as such, could not take part in court proceedings. Only human-beings could have their rights vio-lated. And even the law for the protections of animals which pro-vides for the protection of animals as fellow creatures, could do nothing about it. This protection was merely to be thought of as an ethical and moral duty of man, but not as a right for these crea-tures themselves. Bearers of rights could only be human-beings, for only they could call a particular dignity of person their own, as the court, in complete agreement with the conventional anthropo-centricy argued. The seals might furthermore be poisoned.

The second example concerns monkeys for which an agonizing experiment in an experimental laboratory in Berlin was in store. According to animal protection laws in force, experiments on a-nimals may only be authorized if the purpose to be persued by the experiment could not be reached by other methods or processes, and the latest stand of scientific knowledge is taken into conside-ration. It is equally important to weigh up carefully whether, and to what degree, pain, suffering or injury are to be inflicted. In order to support the competent authority the legislator has appointed well-informed commissions. Before the background of this legal situation the Senator of the state of Berlin responsible thought that law was on his side as he prohibited the forseen ex-periment, in which the monkeys were to have an eye sewn up at birth, screws bored into their skulls and the animals fixed by their heads, for hours on end, to a so-called primate chair. After the end of the experimental phase, which was to serve so-called pure-research, the animals were to be put to death. The university lec-turer took proceedings against the prohibition of the cruelty to animals which he had in mind. And he won the case. Why? The administrative court in Berlin responsible, determined, in agree-ment with the Federal Constitutional Court, that the basic right to freedom of research restricted the standards of investigation for the authorities. The authorization must be granted "if the experi-mental scientist had scientifically proved and expounded an ethi-cal justification for an affirmative decision". The examination of the public authorities, so both courts decided, could only consist in examining the plausibility of the university lecturer's explana-tions. And the expert opinion which the animal protection authori-ties submitted in order to justify a prohibition of the animal ex-periments, helped neither the authority nor the animal.

We see, therefore, that the protection of animals doesn't only suf-fer from the missing equality of weapons between animals and animal users in regard to the possibilities of suing, but that a Da-mocles sword of unconstutionality permanently hangs over the rights for the protection of animals. This leads to the fact that se-parate enactments of animal protection are interpreted for so long, and so that they be compatible with the constitution - if not to say "bent to measure" - that they almost fully lose their protective function as a measure in favour of the animals. 

If one wants to change this unsatisfactory situation, one must an-chor the protection of animals in the constitution and, moreover, grant animals their own rights. Some people think that the dignity of man, which nowadays is to be found as the supreme value in every constitution already forges a link towards the protection of animals, for it contains the reverence towards all fellow-creatures. As we have seen jurisdiction can do very little with this. At first a basic decision of constitutional value is therefore important, in which the protection of animals, and the respect for their dignity, would be incorporated in the aims of the state. Similar aspirations are already to be found in a resolution made by the European Par-liament, and in the Swiss federal constitution. Such a state-aim still needs to be put in concrete terms by the legislative body, but the incorporation of an animal protection law in the constitution would hold more weight, in conflicts with other constitutional val-ues such as, for example, freedom of research and commercial us-age of animals.

If one really wants to help animals one must not merely dedicate a state aim to them but award them rights similar to basic rights which a trustee can take legal proceedings and which can against contend with the basic rights of scientists, meat producers and a-nimal transport owners. What could these basic animal rights be?

If we want to take animals seriously as a part of creation we must also allow them the right to an observance of their dignity as ani-mals. This would prevent them from being misused as experimen-tal objects. The conflict between the monkeys, dogs and cats mal-treated in laboratory experiments on the one hand and the interests of medicine, the chemical industry and pure researches on the other in this way gains the status of constitutional law and at last forces one to seriously weigh up whether the suffering of the ani-mals is in appropriate relation to the resulting benefit for mankind. As far as this weighing up is concerned it will also play a part as to whether it is in accordance with the "dignity of man" that he robs other living creature of their dignity, for questionable experi-ments in which, very often, the results are not transferable to hu-man-beings.

Further more animals should be granted a basic right to a form of life fitting to their species. And then it will finally become a con-stitutional question as to whether it will be permissable to lock up millions of hens in cages in which they mutually hack one another bloody, so that their beaks and claws have to be cut in order for them to go on living at all. Here, too, the "dignity of man" is de-manded during the weighing-up of a conflict in which such treat-ment of animals is incompatible with "dignity". As in the case of castration of piglets (without anaesthetic) in order to save the meat-eaters the smell of the boar. Or the raising of pigs in dark pig-styes in order to make them apathetic and thus quicken the fat-tening process.

The egg and meat-producers would be up in arms against such ba-sic legal demands, since over the last decades inappropriate agri-cultural politics have succeeded in driving away small and me-dium-sized farms, replacing them by agricultural factories. Do we want, once and for all, to submit to the dictates of industrial meat production? Or do we want to get out of this impasse, not only because of our health, but also out of respect for the lives of ani-mals? It will not take place over night, nor should it take place by the acceptance of an economical collapse of a branch which offers work to thousands, but through a gradual transition towards a more peaceful treatment of our fellow creatures. 

This also holds good for the fundamental right of animals that they may live. As long as our society is still obsessed by the consump-tion of meat this basic right is only to be realised step by step. It is therefore only to be anchored by law after having been subjected to more detailed legal regulations. Constitutional rights would first forbid an overproduction of animals for slaughter, which then led to a procedure of annihilation. In order that a gradual transposition towards the protection of life in favour of animals may take place, a reprogramming of our eating habits will have to come about. If we no longer tell our children - who often have a natural distaste for meat - that they have to eat meat in order to make something of themselves, then the consumption of meat, would, in the fol-lowing generations be reduced of its own accord. If we made it on obligation that gastronomy offer half the dishes on the menue in the form of vegetarian meals, then our gastronomic culture would gradually change. 

For this programming not only the guarantee of a basic right, but also a state aim would be of importance. If one took all the ethical requirements fully into account then it must not only contain the aim of protecting or respecting animals, but also a further ambition directed at not slaughtering them. On the level of law, which, as a rule, only holds an ethical minimum, this high ideal, at the mo-ment, cannot gain acceptance. However its advocates should not give up a state aim pointing in this direction, even if they have to put up with a less consequent content which takes into account the consumption of meat still in existence, without losing sight of the constitutionally legal tendence towards meat-reduction. 

This might all be taken into consideration with the following for-mulation: "Each animal has a right to live in accordance with its kind. Interventions are only to be allowed under compelling rea-sons of public interest, within the framework of the law." The supporters of meat consumption will demand that this reservation of the law be in favour of animal slaughter. But for how long? Af-ter the latest evidence about the spread of the BSE-epidemic the "public interest" in food containing meat might lessen. Science can no longer rule out that the BSE prions which have led to more and more human deaths from the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, in the meantime is not only in cattle but also in poultry, sheep, lambs and pigs. For the safeguarding of basic rights for animals it would be a good idea to admit the animal protection societies the possibilies of legal action (which is already in existence in regard to nature and to landscape or to nominate an official animal protection rep-resentative with judicial independence.

These would be the legal basic-conditions with which one might help the ethical postulations of the protection of animals to be put into practice step by step. Some may, at the present day, find this utopic. But the time seems ripe for such a step. The European BSE-epidemic is "the writing on the wall". Because of the biblical and ecclesiastical low-regard for animals, we have, all too long, ousted the opposing voices of the occidental history of ideas. For instance, Pythagoras, one of the founders of greek philosophy, who warned his fellow contempories: "do not hurt a delicate plant or a guiltless animal"! Or the Greek scholar Plutarch, who, in es-sence, said: "Every meal is too costly, for which another living creature must die." Leonardo da Vinci the universal genius of the occident expressed himself even more clearly: "The time will come in which we condemn the eating of animals just as we con-demn cannibalism today."

These are personal declarations, which one may share - or not. Al-low me to finish in this spirit, with a personal declaration of my own. I have taken it from the already mentioned book containing the revelations of the prophet Gabriele, in which she conveys the disclosures of the Spirit of God: "The hour is drawing near, when everyone will have to answer for what he has done to human be-ings, to nature and to animals. The New Era is dawning, in which the bloody sacrifices and animal experiments will cease, and the slaughter and consumption of animals, too, for these are the neighbours of man. The earth will cleanse itself from all that is base. All that is unlawful will be replaced by the higher life, in which the will of God will be fulfilled more and more. People in the new era will not just worship God, but will keep His laws."

© by Dr.jur.Christian Sailer · Rechtsanwalt
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