Preservation of life and avoidance of pain

The Animal Protection Act also appears to assume that preservation of life is less important for animals than freedom from pain. For example, § 9 Para. 2 No. 8 Animal Protection Act requires the immediate and painless killing of surviving test animals insofar as they would otherwise only continue to live in pain and suffering. Similarly, the inflicting of pain is subject to considerably more rigorous regulations and is regarded - from the legal standpoint - as needing greater justification than the killing of test animals.

This weighting - better a painless death than survival with pain - is generally justified by the assertion that animals are "creatures of the present" without awareness of self or future: for them - unlike for humans - pain is therefore considered a greater evil than a painless death. This argument is, however, controversial; it is contended that, especially in the case of more highly developed animals, it makes sense to speak of individuality and future-oriented preferences. Just as with human individuality, this would then also substantiate protection of life or at least diminished dominance of the goal of pain avoidance relative to the goal of life preservation.

Nida-Rümelin, Julian / von der Pfordten, Dietmar (1996): Tierethik II: Zu den ethischen Grundlagen des deutschen Tierschutzgesetzes. In: Nida-Rümelin, Julian (Hg.): Angewandte Ethik. Die Bereichsethiken und ihre theoretische Fundierung, Stuttgart: Kröner, 484-509.

Krebs, Angelika (2003): Sprache und Leben. In: Brenner, Andreas (Hg.): Tiere beschreiben. Erlangen: Fischer (Reihe Tierrechte - Menschenpflichten 9), 175-190.

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