The newly appointed Federal Animal Welfare Officer will help to ensure a more thorough implementation of animal welfare law in Germany.

From broiler chickens struggling under their artificially enhanced weight to heavy-laden cows, hope springs anew for all animals in Germany. The light at the end of the tunnel is Ariane Kari, Germany’s first-ever national commissioner for animal protection. Kari’s mission is to bridge the gaps in Germany’s animal welfare laws, which took constitutional status back in 2002.

Kari, a seasoned veterinarian, beams with determination to catapult animal welfare to greater heights. “Through educational and public relations work, I aim to share more knowledge about the needs of animals because knowledge protects animals,” she explains. Now, for the first time in history, the multitude of Germany’s pets and livestock – from 11 million cattle to 173 million poultry – have a legal representative at the federal level.

Kari is a trailblazer in animal welfare, having served as deputy animal welfare officer in Baden-Württemberg since 2017. Her new role falls under the ambit of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. This appointment comes with glowing commendations from Cem Özdemir, the country’s food and agriculture minister, who describes Kari as a “proven expert.” But Kari’s appointment isn’t merely a checkmark on the government’s to-do list. “With this office at the federal level, we’re structurally and institutionally strengthening animal protection in Germany,” Özdemir assures.

But the journey ahead for Kari isn’t without challenges. Thomas Schröder, the president of the German Animal Welfare Federation, acknowledges Kari’s uphill task and highlights the crucial need for her authority to be recognized across federal ministries. From livestock transport issues handled by the Ministry of Transport to regulating animal testing under the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, it’s clear that animal welfare isn’t an isolated issue.

The challenge then lies in ensuring that the concept of animal welfare doesn’t remain confined to a single ministry but is weaved into the fabric of all governmental departments. Despite animal protection being enshrined in Germany’s Basic Law since 2002, many feel that the country has lagged behind in its commitment to animal welfare, especially in areas like industrial agriculture.

But Schröder has faith in Kari’s potential to catalyze change within the limited tenure of her position, which expires with the current legislative period. The worst-case scenario would see the role discarded if the incoming government undervalues animal welfare.

For Kari, the ticking clock is a reminder to ensure that all future laws not only promote equality and sustainability but also prioritize animal welfare. As Schröder suggests, the perfect outcome would be for each law to carry the stamp of being “compatible with the national objective for animal welfare.”

Original source: https://www.onegreenplanet.org