World Thinkers’ Ideas- Lawyer for the Animals

What does it feel like to have no voice?

Ethical values are important for the Swiss lawyer Antoine Goetschel. He represents abused animals in the court. The clients are mostly dogs but he also represents the interests of other pets, farm animals, and wildlife. Since the 1970s, Swiss animals have been more protected in legislation than animals anywhere else in the world. In Switzerland, you have to take a four-hour course before you buy a dog. The Swiss law says that social species such as hamsters and goldfish need companionship and there is a law that specifies how you put down a sick fish.

Antoine Goetschel became interested in animal rights at the age of 23. He lost his voice for a couple of days after an accident.  This incident lead to insights into the distress animals are subjected to by not being able to express themselves. He realised what it feels like to have no one to speak for you.

Taking the view of other people and animals (OPV)  into account can lead to important insights. Considering the world from the perspective of someone else, challenges you to reflect on the benefits and negative aspects of different circumstances. Defending cute animals may be easy but we need to defend all animals, says Antoine Goetschel. Putting yourself into someone else’s shoes is never easy. When the other mind belongs to an animal, it requires more than compassion for the animal to help. Imagination and different ways to trick your mind to breaking old thinking patterns is the first step. Unless you lose your voice, for a day or two, just like Antoine Goetschel.

Getting rid of old ways of thinking about the world is just as important as getting new ideas. Maybe it is even the first necessary step towards getting new ideas.

You may also like this article by Wired Science.

Photo:   Hound Dog by Maggie Smith
By Rainer Ebert from Houston, United States of America [CC-BY-SA-2.0
(], via Wikimedia Commons


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