Different rights for wildlife and cattle

An animal is neither an individual nor a subject under the law

Dutch wildlife lives under protection of the contemporary 'Game Act, the Flora and Fauna Act and the Fishery Act'. By these laws it does not matter how many animals are killed by hunting them, just as long as the species does not become extinct. Because these animals belong to the wildlife, their well-being does not have to be legally guaranteed. At most, rules are being formulated against illegal hunting methods, in order to fight poaching and amateurish hunt. Besides "wildlife" there are animals that do not live in freedom; animals that became domesticated or are being kept as cattle. For these kinds of animals, since the year 1992 The Netherlands have the 'Health and Welfare Law for Animals'. This law aims to protect the well-being of the individual animals. The fact that animals are being protected by law, does not yet mean that in our society they have rights. Under the law animals (still) are objects of justice: movables of which the ownership can change, that can be hired out and in respect of which it is allowed to hunt and slaughter them. Unlike a human being, the animal is not a subject of justice: in our society it cannot carry rights and duties. In our opinion in the 'Health and Welfare Law for Animals' an essential matter is being passed over, that ought to be fundamental and natural for every living creature, viz… to be entitled to freedom.

Fake protection for livestock

With regard to cattle farming though, a number of rules are being wielded that resemble this: the so called "five rights of animals kept in cattle farming". When it comes down to animals, man measures by two standards. For wildlife other laws apply than for farm cattle. Next to that, no laws and obligations are laid on people in the normal companionship with animals, and only extreme expressions of ill care or bad treatment are forbidden.
Read more on the question if animals do in fact have rights.
Read more on freedom.

logoThis page describes one aspect of the influence that man has on the quality of life of an animal. We wish to promote the (in other countries as well) growing of awareness, that freedom is also important for an animal. An animal is not a thing, but a being that has the right to quality of a natural way of life. If you want to do something to help animals, click here for our suggestions.

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