PETA Germany has filed a first-of-its-kind legal challenge on behalf of every male piglet in Germany. In an effort to end the forcible castration of young pigs, the group is asking the country’s highest court to consider that the practice – which is painful but widespread on farms and often done without pain relief – violates their most basic right: to live free from pain and suffering.
In 2013, the German government moved to end the practice of castrating piglets without pain relief – however, it has since delayed the implementation of the ban. PETA Germany is arguing that the castration of piglets is contrary to German law – which states that animals should not be harmed without reasonable cause – and that even with pain relief, the practice would still be a violation of the piglets’ right to freedom from pain, as it wouldn’t be completely pain-free.
PETA Germany’s goal is not only to end the painful castrations but also to have the piglets’ right recognised in German courts, paving the way for animals to be granted other fundamental rights. PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk commented on the case:
Not long ago, women, people of colour, humans with disabilities, and others were treated with disrespect and their interests were ignored. Now, people are waking up to the view that legal rights should not be determined by your species any more than by your gender, age, or skin colour.
This case pushes the growing conversation about the ethics of dominating, harming, and killing intelligent, sentient beings for no reason other than human greed and convenience. Our society has evolved, and history has shown that the law evolves with it – and when it does, we will look back on our treatment of these animals with shame, as many of us already do.
The written complaint was drafted by PETA Germany and lawyer Dr Cornelia Ziehm with non-material support from Ärzte gegen Tierversuche e.V., Dr Karsten Brensing (a marine biologist, behaviourist, and author), Menschen für Tierrechte – Bundesverband der Tierversuchsgegner e.V., and Rechte der Natur/Biokratie, an initiative of HAUS DER ZUKUNFT Hamburg.
The best way to help pigs is to go vegan. Rejecting the daily cruelty that occurs on factory farms and in abattoirs is as easy as making some simple and delicious changes when you sit down for dinner. Order PETA’s free vegan starter kit for tips, recipes, and advice.