TIERethik - Zeitschrift zur Mensch-Tier-Beziehung


Dispassion as a means to sovereign interpretation – on the genesis of scientific vocabulary in agricultural animal protection
Philipp von Gall



The reform of the German Animal Protection Law in 1972 paved the way for the state’s agricultural animal protection policy in the last four decades. At that time, political players representing agricultural interests supported the introduction of new terms to be used in the context of agricultural animal protection including “species appropriate” and “behavior appropriate” keeping of animals, which later also led to the use of the term “animal appropriate” keeping of animals. A research discipline that should determine under which conditions these terms were justified was established with state funds. The establishment of the new academic vocabulary led to a shift away from terms that had until then shaped the image of agricultural animal protection, i.e. “cruelty” and “mistreatment”. This step aimed to objectivize the assessment of keeping conditions and separate it from human emotions. The separation from emotion can also be interpreted as a means to pursue interests. This contribution employs aspects of the philosophical debate about thick ethical concepts

to reveal some of these interests.


Keywords: agricultural policy, Animal Protection Law, thick ethical concepts,

emotion, public debate