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The recognition of animals as sentient beings in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) gave rise to expectations as to real concern and care for animal welfare and a balance of human-animal interests. However, both the EU-legislation and the Finnish animal protection legislation is based on an animal welfare paradigm, meaning that animals have a weak legal status compared to humans that makes it impossible to de facto balance human and animal needs and interests in an effective manner from an animal point of view. The weak legal status of animals in the hierarchy of norms in the Finnish legal system contributes to the continuation of the oppression and exploitation of animals. The Finnish Animal Rights Lawyers Society have therefore made a proposal to strengthen animals’ legal status by including animals in the Finnish Constitution (FC) by safeguarding animals’ certain fundamental rights, thereby providing tools for balancing of human-animals interests. This article focuses on the re-evaluation of animal protection from an animal and constitutional point of view.
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