Sunday Tasmanian – Pet Column for 31st March
How about this as a vision for the future? Not only are we caring about the cute animals that share our lives, we’re caring about them all. High standards of care and protection for all animals is accepted by the majority of the population, politicians, legislators and authorities. Strong and practical animal welfare legislation is in place nationally and supported in law.
An official public database provides access to procedures for delivering good animal welfare outcomes. Animal lawyers defend mistreated animals and confirm high standards of animal welfare to the public. This is the vision of Antione Goetschel, the world’s first lawyer for animals who will be speaking in Hobart on April 29th.
A specialist in human-animal relationships in Swiss and international law, Antoine has represented animal interests in cruelty cases and played a major role in Swiss animal law referendums. He fought successfully for having the dignity of living beings protected by the Swiss Constitution. Swiss laws on the protection of animals took effect in 2008 and set out, species by species, measures to protect the dignity and well-being of animals.
By bringing animal welfare to the constitutional level, Switzerland has created a balance between the interests of the owner on the one hand and the animal on the other. The sentience of animals and their right to freedom from unnecessary suffering from pain, damage and fear is enshrined. Scientists are providing us with better understandings of animals. Their expertise can demonstrate that previous methods or attitudes are no longer valid or acceptable as far as animal suffering is concerned. This knowledge can guide political discussion and consumer trends. For example, more consumers now are ready to pay higher prices for organically produced meat and free range eggs and seek out non-dairy alternatives.
Antione Goetschel’s Hobart presentation is part of an annual animal law lecture series hosted by national welfare organisation Voiceless – for more details visit www.voiceless.org.au/lecture/2013/locations/tasmania-uni