Thursday, October 2, 2008

The World needs to Save Animals

UN holds landmark first meeting on animal welfare

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) held its first meeting dedicated to discussing the implementation of good animal welfare practices yesterday. An alliance of leading animal welfare organisations, including WSPA, attended the landmark event to call for more thorough UN consideration of animal welfare.

Alongside the Brooke, Compassion in World Farming, Eurogroup for Animals, Humane Society International and the RSPCA, WSPA yesterday presented the FAO – which is responsible for the UN’s work on food security and agriculture – with 10 recommendations on how it can include animal welfare in all its actions. Read the recommendations >>

In Monday’s forum, the alliance argued that improving the health and welfare of animals would bring considerable benefits to farmers and their families, especially in developing nations, and help the UN meet their Millennium Development Goals.

Better conditions for animals can also contribute to slowing global warming – the FAO has played a key role in international recognition of the impact of factory farming on climate change.

Better for animals, better for people

WSPA worked with the FAO earlier this year, delivering emergency relief to vital working animals after Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar.

Disaster management is just one area where WSPA’s aims complement and further the UN’s development goals of alleviating human poverty and disease – healthier animals can better support developing communities.

Similarly, sustainable, non-intensive agriculture – as promoted by WSPA’s Model Farm Project – offers solutions to poverty by providing greater job opportunities for rural communities, increasing local production for local consumption, and decreasing rural to urban migration.

“More than two-thirds of the world’s poor are dependent on farm animals for incomes and food,” said WSPA’s Justine Holmes, spokesperson for the alliance. “By bringing the well-being of these animals under its remit the UN FAO would be taking the biggest single action to help improve livelihoods, reduce poverty, contribute to nutritional goals and support trade in animal products.”

Following up on a positive first step

At the meeting, the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Sweden all signalled their desire to see animal welfare remain on the FAO agenda.

The alliance is now urging the FAO to keep up the momentum by holding an official discussion about animal welfare and its relevance to their work when its Committee on Agriculture meets next April.

This kind of discussion could lead to animal welfare being recognised as a key area of the FAO’s work at their annual conference in November 2009.

Help push animals up the UN agenda

The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare is a set of principles which, if adopted by the UN, will result in international recognition of animal welfare. These principles will also positively influence policy on sustainable agriculture, poverty reduction, and protecting the environment.

The governments of New Zealand and Sweden are all backing the Declaration.

Please add your voice by visiting Animals Matter to Me. Together we can take the message that animals matter all the way to the UN.

Animal Rights in Nazi Germany according to wikipedia

There was widespread support for animal welfare in Nazi Germany[1] and the Nazis took several measures to ensure protection of animals.[2] Many Nazi leaders including Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring were supporters of animal protection. Several Nazis were environmentalists, and species protection and animal welfare were significant issues in the Nazi regime.[3] Heinrich Himmler made efforts to ban the hunting of animals.[4] Göring was an animal lover and conservationist.[5] The current animal welfare laws in Germany are more or less modification of the laws introduced by the Nazis


At the end of the nineteenth century, kosher butchering and vivisection were the main concerns regarding animal protection in Germany. These concerns continued among the Nazis.[7] According to Boria Sax, the Nazi view on animal protection rejected anthropocentric perspective — animals were not to be protected for human interests, but for themselves.[8] In 1927, a Nazi representative to the Reichstag called for actions against cruelty to animals and kosher butchering.[7]

In 1932, the Nazi party proposed a ban on vivisection. In the early 1933, representatives of the Nazi party to the Prussian parliament held a meeting to enact this ban. On April 21, 1933, almost immediately after the Nazis came to power, the parliament started to pass laws for the regulation of animal slaughter.[7] On April 21, a law was passed on the slaughter of animals. On April 24, Order of the Prussian Ministry of the Interior was enacted regarding the slaughter of poikilotherms.[9] Nazi Germany was the first nation to ban vivisection.[10] A law imposing total ban on vivisection was enacted in August 16, 1933, by Hermann Göring as the prime minister of Prussia.[11] He announced to end the "unbearable torture and suffering in animal experiments" and told that those who "still think they can continue to treat animals as inanimate property" will be sent to concentration camps.[7] On August 28, 1933, Göring announced in a radio broadcast:[12]

An absolute and permanent ban on vivisection is not only a necessary law to protect animals and to show sympathy with their pain, but it is also a law for humanity itself.... I have therefore announced the immediate prohibition of vivisection and have made the practice a punishable offense in Prussia. Until such time as punishment is pronounced the culprit shall be lodged in a concentration camp.[12]

Lab animals saluting Hermann Göring for his order to ban vivisection. Caricature from Kladderadatsch, a satirical journal, September 1933. Göring prohibited vivisection and said that those who "still think they can continue to treat animals as inanimate property" will be sent to concentration camps.
Lab animals saluting Hermann Göring for his order to ban vivisection. Caricature from Kladderadatsch, a satirical journal, September 1933. Göring prohibited vivisection and said that those who "still think they can continue to treat animals as inanimate property" will be sent to concentration camps.[7]

Goering also banned commercial animal trapping, imposed severe restrictions on hunting, and regulated the shoeing of horses. He imposed regulations even on the boiling of lobsters and crabs. In one incident, he sent a fisherman to concentration camp[12] for cutting up a bait frog.[10]

In 24 November 1933, Nazi Germany enacted another law, Reichstierschutzgesetz (Reich Animal Protection Act), for protection of animals.[13][14] This law listed many prohibitions against the use of animals, including their use for filmmaking and other public events causing pain or damage to health,[15] feeding fowls forcefully and tearing out the thighs of living frogs.[16] The two principals (Ministerialräte) of the German Ministry of the Interior, Clemens Giese and Waldemar Kahler, who were responsible for drafting the legislative text,[14] wrote in their juridical comment from 1939, that by the law the animal was to be "protected for itself" ("um seiner selbst willen geschützt") and made "an object of proctection going far beyond the hitherto existing law" ("Objekt eines weit über die bisherigen Bestimmungen hinausgehenden Schutzes").[17] The law was the first which abolished the distinction between domestic and wild animals. It defined as legal subjects "all living creatures that in general language and biologically regarded as animals. In a criminal sense, there is no distinction between domestic and wild animals, higher or lower valued animals, or useful or harmful animals to humans."[18]

On February 23 1934, a decree was enacted by the Prussian Ministry of Commerce and Employment which introduced education on the animal protection laws at primary, secondary and college levels.[9] On 3 July 1934, a law Das Reichsjagdgesetz (The Imperial Hunting Law) was enacted which limited hunting. On 1 July 1935, another law Reichsnaturschutzgesetz (Reich Nature Conservation Act) was passed to protect nature.[14] The animal protection laws made by the Nazis were the strictest in the history. Conservation zones were established all over the country for the protection of endangered species. Lithuania and major parts of Ukraine were outlined for afforestation into their natural state as soon as their population was destroyed. Nazi Germany was the first in the world to place the wolf under protection.[18]

In 1934, Nazi Germany hosted an international conference on animal protection in Berlin.[19] On March 27, 1936, Order on the slaughter of living fishes and other poikilotherms was enacted. On March 18 the same year, an order was passed on afforestation and on protection of animals in the wild.[9] On September 9, 1937, a decree was published by the Ministry of the Interior which specified guidelines for transportation of animals.[20] In 1938, animal protection was accepted as a subject to be taught in public schools and universities in Germany.[19]

[edit] Effectiveness

Despite enacting various laws for animal protection, there was a lack of enforcement. The Nazis also felt that vivisection was important for research,[11] including research necessary for rearmament. As a consequence, the original intentions of the law were abandoned and regulations became weaker. The law enacted by Hermann Göring on August 16, 1933 banning vivisection survived only three weeks and it was revised by a decree of September 5 with more lax provisions. In the end, the Reich Interior Ministry distributed blank permits to the universities and research institutes to conduct animal experiments and did not interfere in experiments on animals.[21] According to Pfugers Archiv für die Gesamte Physiologie (Pfugers Archive for the Total Physiology), a science journal at that time, there were many animal experiments during the Nazi regime.[22] In 1936, the Tierärztekammer (Chamber of Veterinarians) in Darmstadt filed a formal complaint against the lack of enforcement of the animal protection laws on those who conducted illegal animal testing. In general, the effectiveness of the law remain limited.[23]

[edit] Controversies

[edit] Equating animal protection with Jewish persecution

There is some controversy over the attitude of the Nazis for legislation regarding animal welfare. As the Nazis equated animal protection with Jewish persecution,[18] the laws and accusation of vivisection were often used as a pretext to prosecute Jewish scientists.[10] In 1940, a discussion was started within the administration about prohibiting pets which are not much useful for the purpose of saving foodstuffs for human consumption. But personal interference by Hitler stopped this proposal. Ultimately a decree was published by the administration against pets, but it referred only to the pets in the possession of non-Aryan citizens.[23] On February 15, 1942, a decree was published prohibiting Jews from keeping pets,[20] which the Jews found humiliating.[23]

[edit] Intolerance for non-Nazi activists

Boria Sax in his book Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust documented that the Nazis manipulated attitudes towards animal protection to conform to their own symbolic system. By equating the National Socialist German Workers Party with "nature", the Nazis reduced ethical issues to biological questions. As a result, predatory animals were honored along with their human counterparts i.e. leaders and functionaries of the Nazi party, and opponents were identified as sheep destined for being killed.[24]

With the claim of having a special bond with nature, the Nazis stigmatized their opponents as being unnatural. The Nazi regime showed intolerance for activism related to environmentalism and animal protection by their adversaries. The Friends of Nature was a socialist-oriented environmental organization which had a membership of over 100,000. The Nazis disbanded this organization and all of its properties were confiscated.[25]

[edit] Influence after World War II

The views of Nazi Germany on protection of animals often came up within some far right-wing political parties.[18] Support for animal welfare is seen among neo-fascists[26] and many have observed there are affinities between neo-fascism and some ecocentric ideas.[27] There has been the Green Nazi phenomenon in the United States. The famous speech by Hermann Göring on prohibition of vivisection is found on some neo-Nazi websites.[18] The Nazi efforts on animal protection have some influence on Finnish radical deep ecologist Pentti Linkola.[18][28]

[edit] Difference from animal liberation movement

The Nazi concept of protecting animal rights was different from the modern animal liberation movement. The view which Nazis had about the relationship between human and nature was mystical. The animal liberation movement is based on the concept of equality of humans and animals and seeks an end to the rigid moral and legal distinction drawn between human and non-human beings. The Nazi ideology justified similar arguments by inequality.[18] According to the Nazi view, a hierarchical continuum was seen.[8] At the top of this hierarchy was the Aryan race, then came the animals, and finally, the Untermensch or the races the nazis regarded as sub-humans (i.e., Jews). The ones on top of the hierarchy had the moral duty to defend their weaker brothers.[18] Humanity as a concept was completely rejected.[8]

There was an ideological tradition behind the Nazis' ideas of animal rights. In the spirit of nationalism, German thinking already imagined a connection with the nature and animals during the rise of Romanticism in the 19th century. Richard Wagner linked vegetarianism and prohibition of animal testing with Antisemitism. He opined that meat eating and animal oppression originated from Jewish culture and animal testing was related with the Jewish custom of kosher butchering. The influence of Wagner on the thoughts of the Nazis connects their actions against vivisection with the persecution of the Jews. The latter was partially justified as animal protection. The Jews oppressed animals, therefore attacking them was defending the animals and a moral duty.[18]

The concept of the Nazis regarding vegetarianism had little link with the recognition of the moral significance of animals. It was primarily an anthropocentric concern for the quality of food, which was connected with racial purity.[29]

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