Stiftung für das Tier im Recht (TIR) / Foundation for the Animals in the Law
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Since 1995, the Stiftung für das Tier im Recht (TIR; Foundation for the Animal in the Law) has been firmly committed to issues concerning animals and the improvement of their legal status. TIR has established itself as a centre of excellence for questions relating to the human-animal relationship and legal activity, as well as offering a wide spectrum of public services.
Animals are sentient fellow creatures who can suffer from pain and deserve consideration, care, and respect. They cannot speak on their own behalf and depend on the actions of committed humans to represent their needs and interests. Therefore, the goal of TIR is to act as every animal’s advocate.
TIR is the only animal welfare organization in German-speaking countries primarily specialized in law. Convinced that the law and its consistent enforcement play central roles in animals’ wellbeing, the constant improvement of animal welfare legislation and its strict implementation are critical components of TIR’s work. TIR leverages the power of the law to help not just in single cases, but to help all animals in general.
Unfortunately, the treatment of animals is not always humane and respectful. Therefore, the need for binding legal provisions is unavoidable. Although Swiss society places high emotional value on the human-animal relationship, the existing law does not offer the animals sufficient protection. Moreover, the existing laws and regulations are often not applied consistently. TIR responds to deficiencies in animal welfare law by uncovering and analysing these gaps and preparing proposals for practical legal improvements that will achieve viable legal results and efficient enforcement for the protection of animals. Subsequently, together with politicians, authorities and other organizations, TIR attempts to advocate for and implement its policies into the legal system. TIR seeks realistic, achievable goals and follows guidelines centered around policies focused on practical, educational, and strategic actions aimed at long-term positive solutions.
In order to improve legal protection for animals, the gaps in laws and enforcement must first be demonstrated. That’s why TIR has complied all existing Swiss animal welfare criminal cases and proceedings in one single database. More than 12,000 anonymised decisions (as of 2015) are gathered on http://www.tierimrecht.org and may be consulted. The result of this database is greater transparency of the criminal justice process. This transparency allows the relevant authorities to examine the need to take animal cruelty and other animal welfare crimes more seriously by initiating more criminal proceedings. The TIR database also serves as valuable aid to enforcement authorities in evaluating animal welfare crimes.
In addition to political and legal activities, TIR also strives to expose people to their significant responsibility towards animals. To do so, TIR informs people of all levels about the needs of animals, as well as on the basis for their correct legal and practical treatment. In order to make this knowledge generally available and to increase public awareness of animal welfare, TIR offers anyone interested a wide spectrum of services and tools. The wide range of objective and practical information is intended for animal owners and lawyers, and also for enforcement authorities (veterinarians, police, prosecution and criminal investigation authorities, and the courts), the media, political and veterinarian representatives, schools at higher levels, and animal welfare organizations.
Wide-ranging background information on the legal and practical protection of animals can be found on TIR’s website http://www.tierimrecht.org. As a valuable aid to solving legal problems relating to animals, TIR also provides answers in writing or by phone to those individuals seeking advice. Answers to the 200 most frequently asked questions can also be found on http://www.tierimrecht.org.
The centrepiece of TIR is the specialized library containing over 15,000 works (books, reports, documentaries, etc.) on animals in the law, ethics and society. This is the most comprehensive collection of literature in the German-speaking world offering scientists, students, and the media a huge font of information for their work. The relevant bibliographic data of about 12,000 works (as of 2015) can also be consulted in the “virtual library” on http://www.tierimrecht.org, allowing for easy Internet research. The library also contains a media archive with newspaper and magazine articles on over 200 animal welfare subjects.
In addition, TIR regularly publishes complete and easily understandable standard works on animal welfare law, as well as articles in the specialized and daily press. TIR staff also speaks on the various aspects of the human-animal relationship, in Switzerland and abroad, at seminars, conferences, and training events for animal owners and enforcement authorities. Moreover, TIR is a reliable source of information for print and online media, radio, and television for questions about animals in the law.
Through its legal work and actions, TIR has achieved striking success in the protection of animals. For instance, TIR significantly contributed to the 2003 legislation that established that animals are no longer considered “things” under Swiss law, but instead as independent living beings, and that animal dignity was expressly protected under the Swiss Animal Welfare Act in 2008. The express ban on sexually motivated acts with animals (zoophilia) can also be attributed to the intensive efforts of TIR (2008). Furthermore, TIR’s well respected work and presence is greatly responsible for the fact that animal welfare law is no longer considered a marginal subject in limited circles, but instead is now an acknowledged legal discipline. Through the targeted support of the younger generation of lawyers, TIR also strives to ensure the continual evolution of animal welfare law now and into the future.
TIR is a completely independent non-profit organization and is not subsidised by the Swiss Confederation or the cantons. It is exclusively financed by private donations and project-dependent contributions.
Phone +41 (0)43 443 06 43
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Animal agriculture, Working animals, Animals in research, Hunting and fishing, Animals in religion, Animal ethics and philosophy, Zoos and aquariums, Animals in entertainment, Animal cognition, Companion animals, Animal shelters, Dogs, Cats, Rodents, Livestock, Working animals, Wild animals, Marine animals, Mammals, Birds, Reptiles and amphibians, Fish, Invertebrates