Animal welfare in Nazi Germany

There was widespread support for animal welfare in Nazi Germanycite book
author= Thomas R. DeGregori
title=
publisher= Cato Institute
location=
year= 2002
pages= p153
isbn= 1930865317
oclc=
doi=
] and the Nazis took several measures to ensure protection of animals.cite book
author= Arnold Arluke, Clinton Sanders
title= Regarding Animals
publisher= Temple University Press
location=
year= 1996
pages= p132
isbn= 1566394414
oclc=
doi=
] Many Nazi leaders including Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring were supporters of animal protection. Several Nazis were environmentalists, and species protection and animal welfare were significant issues in the Nazi regime.cite book
author= Robert Proctor
title= The Nazi War on Cancer
publisher= Princeton University Press
location=
year= 1999
pages= p5
isbn= 0691070512
oclc=
doi=
] Heinrich Himmler made efforts to ban the hunting of animals.cite book
author= Martin Kitchen
title= A History of Modern Germany, 1800-2000
publisher= Blackwell Publishing
location=
year= 2006
pages= p278
isbn= 1405100400
oclc=
doi=
] Göring was an animal lover and conservationist.cite book
author= Seymour Rossel
title= The Holocaust: The World and the Jews, 1933-1945
publisher= Behrman House, Inc
location=
year= 1992
pages= p79
isbn= 0874415268
oclc=
doi=
] The current animal welfare laws in Germany are more or less modification of the laws introduced by the Nazis.cite book
author= Bruce Braun, Noel Castree
title= Remaking Reality: Nature at the Millenium
publisher= Routledge
location=
year= 1998
pages= p92
isbn= 0415144930
oclc=
doi=
]

Measures

At the end of the nineteenth century, kosher butchering and vivisection were the main concerns regarding animal protection in Germany. These concerns continued among the Nazis.cite book
author= Arnold Arluke, Clinton Sanders
title= Regarding Animals
publisher= Temple University Press
location=
year= 1996
pages= p133
isbn= 1566394414
oclc=
doi=
] According to Boria Sax, the Nazi view on animal protection rejected anthropocentric perspective — animals were not to be protected for human interests, but for themselves. In 1927, a Nazi representative to the Reichstag called for actions against cruelty to animals and kosher butchering.

In 1932, the Nazi party proposed a ban on vivisection. In the early 1933, representatives of the Nazi party to the Prussian parliament held a meeting to enact this ban. On April 21, 1933, almost immediately after the Nazis came to power, the parliamentstarted to pass laws for the regulation of animal slaughter. On April 21, a law was passed on the slaughter of animals. On April 24, Order of the Prussian Ministry of the Interior was enacted regarding the slaughter of poikilotherms.cite book
author=Boria Sax
title=Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust
publisher=Continuum International Publishing Group
location=
year=2000
pages=p181
isbn=0826412890
oclc=
doi=
] Nazi Germany was the first nation to ban vivisection.cite book
author= Kathleen Marquardt
title= Animalscam: The Beastly Abuse of Human Rights
publisher= Regnery Publishing
location=
year= 1993
pages= p125
isbn= 0895264986
oclc=
doi=
] A law imposing total ban on vivisection was enacted in August 16, 1933, by Hermann Göring as the prime minister of Prussia.cite book
author= Frank Uekötter
title= The Green and the Brown: A History of Conservation in Nazi Germany
publisher= Cambridge University Press
location=
year= 2006
pages= p55
isbn= 0521848199
oclc=
doi=
] He announced to end the "unbearable torture and suffering in animal experiments" and told that those who "still think they can continue to treat animals as inanimate property" will be sent to concentration camps. On August 28, 1933, Göring announced in a radio broadcast:cite book
author= Kathleen Marquardt
title= Animalscam: The Beastly Abuse of Human Rights
publisher= Regnery Publishing
location=
year= 1993
pages= p124
isbn= 0895264986
oclc=
doi=
] Goering also banned commercial animal trapping, imposed severe restrictions on hunting, and regulated the shoeing of horses. He imposed regulations even on the boiling of lobsters and crabs. In one incident, he sent a fisherman to concentration camp for cutting up a bait frog.

In 24 November 1933, Nazi Germany enacted another law, "Reichstierschutzgesetz" (Reich Animal Protection Act), for protection of animals.cite book
author=Boria Sax
title=Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust
publisher=Continuum International Publishing Group
location=
year=2000
pages=p179
isbn=0826412890
oclc=
doi=
] cite book
author= Luc Ferry
title= The New Ecological Order
publisher= University of Chicago Press
location=
year= 1995
pages= p91
isbn= 0226244830
oclc=
doi=
] This law listed many prohibitions against the use of animals, including their use for filmmaking and other public events causing pain or damage to health,cite book
author=Boria Sax
title=Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust
publisher=Continuum International Publishing Group
location=
year=2000
pages=p175
isbn=0826412890
oclc=
doi=
] feeding fowls forcefully and tearing out the thighs of living frogs.cite book
author=Boria Sax
title=Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust
publisher=Continuum International Publishing Group
location=
year=2000
pages=p176
isbn=0826412890
oclc=
doi=
] The two principals ("Ministerialräte") of the German Ministry of the Interior, Clemens Giese and Waldemar Kahler, who were responsible for drafting the legislative text, wrote in their juridical comment from 1939, that by the law the animal was to be "protected for itself" ("um seiner selbst willen geschützt") and made "an object of proctection going far beyond the hitherto existing law" ("Objekt eines weit über die bisherigen Bestimmungen hinausgehenden Schutzes"). [Clemens Giese and Waldemar Kahler (1939). "Das deutsche Tierschutzrecht, Bestimmungen zum Schutz der Tiere", Berlin, cited from: Edeltraud Klüting. "Die gesetzlichen Regelungen der nationalsozialistischen Reichsregierung für den Tierschutz, den Naturschutz und den Umweltschutz", in: Joachim Radkau, Frank Uekötter (ed., 2003). "Naturschutz und Nationalsozialismus", Campus Verlag ISBN 3593373548, pp.77 (in German)] The law was the first which abolished the distinction between domestic and wild animals. It defined as legal subjects "all living creatures that in general language and biologically regarded as animals. In a criminal sense, there is no distinction between domestic and wild animals, higher or lower valued animals, or useful or harmful animals to humans." [http://www.kaltio.fi/index.php?494 Animal Rights in the Third Reich] ]

On February 23 1934, a decree was enacted by the Prussian Ministry of Commerce and Employment which introduced education on the animal protection laws at primary, secondary and college levels. On 3 July 1934, a law "Das Reichsjagdgesetz" (The Imperial Hunting Law) was enacted which limited hunting. On 1 July 1935, another law "Reichsnaturschutzgesetz" (Reich Nature Conservation Act) was passed to protect nature. The animal protection laws made by the Nazis were the strictest in the history. Conservation zones were established all over the country for the protection of endangered species. Lithuania and major parts of Ukraine were outlined for afforestation into their natural state as soon as their population was destroyed. Nazi Germany was the first in the world to place the wolf under protection.

In 1934, Nazi Germany hosted an international conference on animal protection in Berlin.cite book
author= Arnold Arluke, Clinton Sanders
title= Regarding Animals
publisher= Temple University Press
location=
year= 1996
pages= p137
isbn= 1566394414
oclc=
doi=
] On March 27, 1936, Order on the slaughter of living fishes and other poikilotherms was enacted. On March 18 the same year, an order was passed on afforestation and on protection of animals in the wild. On September 9, 1937, a decree was published by the Ministry of the Interior which specified guidelines for transportation of animals.cite book
author=Boria Sax
title=Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust
publisher=Continuum International Publishing Group
location=
year=2000
pages=p182
isbn=0826412890
oclc=
doi=
] In 1938,animal protection was accepted as a subject to be taught in public schools and universities in Germany.

Effectiveness

Despite enacting various laws for animal protection, there was a lack of enforcement. The Nazis also felt that vivisection was important for research, including research necessary for rearmament. As a consequence, the original intentions of the law were abandoned and regulations became weaker. The law enacted by Hermann Göring on August 16, 1933 banning vivisection survived only three weeks and it was revised by a decree of September 5 with more lax provisions. In the end, the Reich Interior Ministry distributed blank permits to the universities and research institutes to conduct animal experiments and did not interfere in experiments on animals.cite book
author= Frank Uekötter
title= The Green and the Brown: A History of Conservation in Nazi Germany
publisher= Cambridge University Press
location=
year= 2006
pages= p56
isbn= 0521848199
oclc=
doi=
] According to "Pfugers Archiv für die Gesamte Physiologie" (Pfugers Archive for the Total Physiology), a science journal at that time, there were many animal experiments during the Nazi regime.cite book
author= C. Ray Greek, Jean Swingle Greek
title= Sacred Cows and Golden Geese: The Human Cost of Experiments on Animals
publisher= Continuum International Publishing Group
location=
year= 2002
pages= p90
isbn= 0826414028
oclc=
doi=
] In 1936, the "Tierärztekammer" (Chamber of Veterinarians) in Darmstadt filed a formal complaint against the lack of enforcement of the animal protection laws on those who conducted illegal animal testing. In general, the effectiveness of the law remain limited.cite book
author= Frank Uekötter
title= The Green and the Brown: A History of Conservation in Nazi Germany
publisher= Cambridge University Press
location=
year= 2006
pages= p57
isbn= 0521848199
oclc=
doi=
]

Controversies

Equating animal protection with Jewish persecution

There is some controversy over the attitude of the Nazis for legislation regarding animal welfare. As the Nazis equated animal protection with Jewish persecution, the laws and accusation of vivisection were often used as a pretext to prosecute Jewish scientists. In 1940, a discussion was started within the administration about prohibiting pets which are not much useful for the purpose of saving foodstuffs for human consumption. But personal interference by Hitler stopped this proposal. Ultimately a decree was published by the administration against pets, but it referred only to the pets in the possession of non-Aryan citizens. On February 15, 1942, a decree was published prohibiting Jews from keeping pets, which the Jews found humiliating.

Intolerance for non-Nazi activists

Boria Sax in his book "Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust" documented that the Nazis manipulated attitudes towards animal protection to conform to their own symbolic system. By equating the National Socialist German Workers Party with "nature", the Nazis reduced ethical issues to biological questions. As a result, predatory animals were honored along with their human counterparts i.e. leaders and functionaries of the Nazi party, and opponents were identified as sheep destined for being killed.cite book
author= Boria Sax
title= Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust
publisher= Continuum International Publishing Group
location=
year= 2000
pages=
isbn= 0826412890
oclc=
doi=
]

With the claim of having a special bond with nature, the Nazis stigmatized their opponents as being unnatural. The Nazi regime showed intolerance for activism related to environmentalism and animal protection by their adversaries. "The Friends of Nature" was a socialist-oriented environmental organization which had a membership of over 100,000. The Nazis disbanded this organization and all of its properties were confiscated.cite book
author=Boria Sax
title=Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust
publisher=Continuum International Publishing Group
location=
year=2000
pages=p41
isbn=0826412890
oclc=
doi=
]

Influence after World War II

The views of Nazi Germany on protection of animals often came up within some far right-wing political parties. Support for animal welfare is seen among neo-fascists [http://www.armyths.org/ Animal rights myths FAQ] ] and many have observed there are affinities between neo-fascism and some ecocentric ideas.cite book
author= David Pepper
title= Modern Environmentalism: An Introduction
publisher= Routledge
location=
year= 1996
pages= p229
isbn= 0415057442
oclc=
doi=
] There has been the Green Nazi phenomenon in the United States. The famous speech by Hermann Göring on prohibition of vivisection is found on some neo-Nazi websites. The Nazi efforts on animal protection have some influence on Finnish radical deep ecologist Pentti Linkola.cite book
author= Mika LaVaque-Manty
title= Arguments and Fists: Political agency and justification in liberal theory
publisher= Routledge
location=
year= 2002
pages= p159
isbn= 0415931983
oclc=
doi=
]

Difference from animal liberation movement

The Nazi concept of protecting animal rights was different from the modern animal liberation movement. The view which Nazis had about the relationship between human and nature was mystical. The animal liberation movement is based on the concept of equality of humans and animals and seeks an end to the rigid moral and legal distinction drawn between human and non-human beings. The Nazi ideology justified similar arguments by inequality. According to the Nazi view, a hierarchical continuum was seen.cite book
author=Boria Sax
title=Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust
publisher=Continuum International Publishing Group
location=
year=2000
pages=42
isbn=0826412890
oclc=
doi=
] At the top of this hierarchy was the Aryan race, then came the animals, and finally, the Untermensch or the races the nazis regarded as sub-humans (i.e., Jews). The ones on top of the hierarchy had the moral duty to defend their weaker brothers. Humanity as a concept was completely rejected.

There was an ideological tradition behind the Nazis' ideas of animal rights. In the spirit of nationalism, German thinking already imagined a connection with the nature and animals during the rise of Romanticism in the 19th century. Richard Wagner linked vegetarianism and prohibition of animal testing with Antisemitism. He opined that meat eating and animal oppression originated from Jewish culture and animal testing was related with the Jewish custom of kosher butchering. The influence of Wagner on the thoughts of the Nazis connects their actions against vivisection with the persecution of the Jews. The latter was partially justified as animal protection. The Jews oppressed animals, therefore attacking them was defending the animals and a moral duty.

The concept of the Nazis regarding vegetarianism had little link with the recognition of the moral significance of animals. It was primarily an anthropocentric concern for the quality of food, which was connected with racial purity.cite book
author= Robert Garner
title= The Political Theory of Animal Rights
publisher= Manchester University Press
location=
year= 2005
pages= p87
isbn= 0719067103
oclc=
doi=
]

Notes

References

* [http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Germany/Nazianimalrights.htm Nazi Germany and animal rights]

Further reading

*Harvard reference
last1=A. Posner
first1=Richard
authorlink=
year=2001
title=Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline
place=
publisher=Harvard University Press
isbn=067400633X
url=


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