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The purpose of this article is to attempt to understand some institutions of Polish animal protection law using the concept of “symbolic legislation”. The law is symbolic when, despite apparently ordering or prohibiting certain behaviours, it does not establish effective mechanisms for enforcing these obligations. The authors on selected examples show that in the field of animal protection law, there are no such symbolic solutions. At the same time, they indicate that not all of these situations deserve a negative assessment and come to the conclusion that the “symbolism” of regulation is not always the fault of the legislator himself. The concept of symbolic legislation allows a better understanding of how a legal act can affect social reality - among others, where there is a strong need for social education, such as in the field of animal protection.
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