Dr Antoine Goetschel – The animal voice: Securing interests through law
Dr Antoine Goetschel discusses animal welfare and legislation in his keynote presentation at the 2013 Animal Law Lecture Series at the University of Sydney. In this thought provoking lecture, Dr Goetschel asks the questions why do animals matter, and why is effective animal legislation key to society?
Dr Goetschel describes how his desire to see an animal’s dignity acknowledged and protected by legislation led to a change in Swiss Constitution, and provides many examples of how the process of effective animal welfare legislation can be implanted elsewhere worldwide.
So why do animals matter in legislation? Dr Goetschel believes that legislation needs to do more than protect animal welfare or suffering, but that it should also protect the animals’ dignity, their inherent value. He advocates that legislation should respect the dignity of creatures in a similar (but not identical) way as human dignity. With this in mind he discusses why the legal status of animals should be changed - animals should not be regarded as objects in civil law legislation, instead why not have three categories: humans, animals and objects?
What is effective animal legislation, and how does this affect society? For effective legislation to occur Dr Goetschel discusses the need for effective structures in law making, and in law applying! He also acknowledges the need for animal attorney – advocates who will stand up for animals, to give animals and voice – and a public face! This helps to strengthens the public perception of animal welfare issues. Finally, Dr Goetschel describes how effective animal welfare legislation can make a society content and proud of their government and their community.
Dr Goetschel's address was part of an initiative by Voiceless, the animal protection institute and he is introduced here by Voiceless Legal Counsel Ruth Hatten.