Germany and Austria are said to be among the countries where animal welfare is very important. If you look at the relevant legislation, you might almost think that there could be some truth to it. Right at the beginning of the Austrian Animal Welfare Act it says the following:
§ 1 TSchG: The aim of this federal law is to protect the life and well-being of animals from the special responsibility of humans for animals as fellow creatures.
According to the law, we are to understand „the animal“ as a „fellow creature“ and as such it is our responsibility to protect it and ensure that it feels comfortable. It is therefore important to read paragraph 5, because it lists what apparently contradicts this well-being:
§ 5 TSchG: It is forbidden to inflict unjustified pain, suffering or harm on an animal or to put it in severe fear.
In contrast, the German Animal Welfare Act, which combines both paragraphs of the Austrian counterpart, is as follows:
§ 1 TSchG: The purpose of this law is to protect the life and well-being of humans from their responsibility for animals as fellow creatures. No one may cause pain, suffering or harm to an animal without just cause.
So, it is agreed that one is talking about a “fellow creature”, a term that is very expressive because the animal is seen as such. Not just as something else, but as a creature that is there with us – not for us. In addition, one must not inflict any pain, suffering or harm on this fellow creature, in Austria this is also forbidden in fear, but – here comes the restriction – not without a reasonable reason or unjustified. This shows the perfidy, because legal texts want to be read carefully. So, you are allowed to do it, fellow creature or not, if you have a reasonable reason or can justify it. But what is a reasonable reason and when is it justified? The legislature is silent on this.
If you look at the practice of the animal exploitation industry, the extraction of meat, milk, eggs, etc., i.e., in summary, from animal products or from alleged scientific knowledge, is reason enough to inflict pain, suffering and damage on our fellow creatures and put them in severe fear to move. If that weren’t the case, the entire industry would have to be shut down immediately, because the life of the so-called farm animals is a single, horrific martyrdom that cannot be ignored. Nevertheless, it is tolerated or accepted because it is a reasonable reason or justifies everything from a human-speciesistic point of view.
Nevertheless, even in this fundamentally cruel industry, incidents occur again and again that can hardly be surpassed in terms of cruelty. Research by the animal rights organization SOKO Tierschutz in 2018 revealed that massive violations of the Animal Welfare Act were being systematically committed in a slaughterhouse in Bad Iburg. Cattle are seen being dragged out of the truck lying on chains without anesthetic, with the use of kicks, punches and electric shocks. Actually, sick animals are no longer allowed to come to the slaughterhouse but have to be cared for on the farm. But the veterinary care is apparently too expensive, so that not only is this not done, but even money should even be earned with these animals. Anyone who sees the video knows how far the fairy tale of humane slaughter, which is always served up to us, misses reality. These were not isolated cases, but daily practice. Thanks to the work of SOKO Tierschutz, 70 cases were reported, of which the managing director Heinrich Wilhelm B. is accused of involvement in 60 cases. And the slaughterhouse was closed.
Actually, one would have to assume that the accused would be punished accordingly after such vehement violations of the Animal Welfare Act. But the verdict that was finally pronounced is a slap in the face to anyone who still believed in the rule of law in any way. The main defendant gets two years in prison – but not that he has to serve this sentence, because it is suspended on probation. In addition, he must pay € 3,000.00. His two employees each received nine months, also on probation, and a fine of € 2,000 and €1,500 respectively. One can only be stunned by this. What’s left is the feeling that you can treat animals, our so graciously called fellow creatures, however you want, exercising your most sadistic tendencies on them, as long as it’s for industrial use. Ultimately, no one is looking. And if something does come to light in the public eye, what the heck, it’s not taken seriously as a crime anyway. But what should you do when you can no longer rely on the courts? In the end, just helping to ensure that fewer and fewer of our fellow creatures are subjected to this system by getting out of it as a consumer. Everything else is lost hope.