Volume 55 (2018) / Issue 1
This article aims to make sense of the ways in which a paradox manifests itself in the Union’s constitutional architecture: the dual status attributed to animals as both “products” and “sentient beings”. The introduction of the notion “sentient beings” in Article 13 TFEU purports to reshape the existing understanding of animal welfare in EU law. But, in practice, this shift creates clear tensions with the previous status of, and protections for, animals as “products” under Union law. The article seeks to explore the reasons for this “duality” and its possible consequences. In particular, the discussion is framed by the constitutional limits as to what the EU can achieve in the context of animal welfare, and the social and political context within which animal welfare has to operate. This leads to the question of whether the formal tensions under Union primary law relating to the dual status of animals are perhaps inevitable in contemporary legal systems which employ an animal welfare paradigm.
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