Sunday, December 4, 2022

Nazi legislation against animal cruelty

From Sydney Criminal Lawyers, on Lexology (via Legal History Blog): "The History of Laws Against Cruelty to Animals". A particularly interesting section discusses the Nazis:

There can be no words to sufficiently encapsulate the appalling atrocities perpetrated by one of history’s most evil people, Adolf Hitler, and his fascist Nazi party.

And one must take special care before giving credit for any act to the person at the helm of history’s most disgusting and shameful political, social and cultural regime, whereby millions of innocent men, women and children were tortured and murdered, including the systematic use of humans for medical experimentation, annihilation of ‘undesirable’ groups in society including the disabled and slaughter of large segments of targeted racial and religious groups.

Hitler and his extreme right-wing party exemplified the very worst of humankind, and the regime’s ultimate demise was a Godsend to all moral people.

But the irony must also be acknowledged that while on the way to murdering millions of human beings, the famously vegetarian and dog-loving Hitler took unprecedented steps to protect non-human animals from cruelty. And many of the enacted laws go way further than present day legislation.

In that regard, 24 November 1933 saw the German parliament (the Reichstag) the under the Chancellorship of Hitler and Presidency of Hermann Göring) pass the Reichstierschutzgesetz, or Reich Animal Protection Act, which is listed in the above table.

The law imposed a total ban on the almost-universally accepted, and even encouraged and publicly funded, practices of vivisection (operating or experimenting on live animals) and slaughter of animals without anaesthetic.

In a 1933 speech approved by Hitler, Göring declared an end to the “unbearable torture and suffering in animal experiments” and warned that those who “still think they can continue to treat animals as inanimate property” would be sent to concentration camps.

The regime saw a range of further prohibitions to protect animals including bans on animal trapping, the boiling of crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters, live baiting, neglect and cruel acts to domestic animals, and severe restrictions on hunting.

And so it was – perhaps history’s most evil regime was ironically perhaps the most benevolent in the treatment of non-human animals.

This is just one one section of the long post, which includes a chronology of developments and a discussion of Australian law. 

1 comment:

  1. Another irony is the punishment for humans who harm animals - they will be sent to concentration camps.