The new German Animal Protection Law contains no relevant improvements although Minister Aigner’s first draft did propose some changes for the better. These included banning the branding of horses and prohibiting the display of torture bred animals or entering them in sporting competitions. Even these scant reforms went too far for the majority parties in the German Bundestag, CDU/CSU and FDP; they rejected the respective provisions in the Committee on Agriculture, and the federal ministry made the required revisions. In some parts of the new law, the current standard of animal protection is even lowered, for example, in future it will be much more difficult to ban the keeping of certain species of wild animals in circuses. In other parts even the animal protection standard required by EU Directive 2010/63/EU (Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes) is not fulfilled, which violates European law. This relates, for example, to experiments performed on vertebrates for educational purposes at universities or hospitals. According to the EU Directive, such experiments may only be performed if they are approved by the competent authority. The new law however demands only that the organizer informs the authority two weeks prior to the experiment; approval is not required. However, an approval process for animal experiments for this purpose by a neutral party could determine whether the educational goal could not also be reached without the use of live animals.
Keywords: German Animal Protection Law, Directive 2010/63/EU, animal protection standard