"If EU Constitution Art III-121 would concern human rights there would be no leeway whatso'ever for culturally based violence against people. It is the spirit of this article to protect animals, the letter of this article condones every animal abuse in the name of "cultural heritage". The animals cannot vote against this crippled law, so they depend on people to fight the injustice of it. It would grace the EU if it would for once look through our animals eyes."

First goal achieved:
Animal welfare anchored in the EU Constitution - Jurisdiction must follow!
Demand this with your Petition!

The Heads of State and Government agreed in Brussels on the 18th of June 2004 on the EU Constitution and signed it in Rome at the end of 2004. Animal welfare was in fact also included. The campaign »animals' constitution«, which we initiated in April 2003, was therefore successful! We would like to thank all those who participated. The Constitution was supposed to come into force on the 1st of November 2006. However, this process was stopped in 2005 when France and the Netherlands voted in referenda against the Constitution.

Retrospective: more than 80.000 petitions
The many more than 80.000 petitions collected up until June 2004 were handed over to the President of the European Convention, which developed the Constitution, and subsequently to all Heads of State and Government. All petitions that have been collected after July 2004 will be handed over to the Presidency of the European Council, which changes every six months. The petitions demand that the President of the European Council publish a report at the end of the Presidency. This report shall document whether the Union objective of animal welfare has already had an effect on the Rulings of the European Court of Justice and on EU regulations.

On the 1st of January 2006 Austria took over the EU Presidency and will be followed by Finland on the 1st of July 2006, then Germany (from the 1st of January 2007) and Portugal (from the 1st of July 2007). Slovenia will commence its Presidency on the 1st January 2008.

Current wording in the EU Constitution
Animal Welfare is now anchored in Article III-121 (previously Article III-5a) with the following wording:
»In formulating and implementing the Union's agriculture, fisheries, transport, internal market, research and technological development and space policies, the Union and the Member States shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the requirements of animal welfare, while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage.«

Jurisdiction must follow:
Animal welfare thus stands next to gender equality, combating discrimination based on certain characteristics and environmental protection as an objective of the European Union. The legal repercussions of this article are therefore comparable with the consequences of the definition of animal welfare as a state objective in Article 20 a in the German Constitution.

As a result of the European Constitution the EU and member states are now called upon to take account of animals as sentient beings in jurisdiction, in formulating legal regulations and in political programmes. The Union objective also allows a weighting of decisions in favour of animals in situations where animal welfare and other interests conflict. Article III-121 does allow for national regulations and customs of member states to be taken into account, but does not regard these as binding.

In the end, however, it will be a change in the decisions of the European Court of Justice in favour of the animals which proves the actual success of Article III-121.

Experience tells us that legal decisions in animals' favour will not come automatically, but rather that indefatigable campaigners for animal rights and animal welfare will be needed to enforce animals' rights in conflict situations. The animal welfare group lawsuit currently subject to political discussion in Germany will undoubtedly be the only true means of control at an EU level. This, however, will take further years to achieve!

Therefore: continues:
Help us! Send another petition!

Even though the Constitution will not come into force in the near future, it represents even now a consensus between the EU and the member states. A strengthening of animal protection by means of Article III-121 must therefore now already be reflected by regulations and court rulings! We will send this demand together with the demand to remove the aforementioned limitations to animal rights and the received petitions every six months to the Chairperson of the EU Council of Ministers and to the President of the EU.

Let us once again campaign successfully for the animals' rights! Every petition counts! Sign the letter to the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende, who until the 31st of December 2004 is also the President of the European Council. Demand in your letter of petitions:

1. the right of animals to be regarded before courts of law, in legislation and in political programmes as sentient beings, as well as

2. the removal of the phrasing in Article III-121: »... while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage.«