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Injecting Compassion into International Wildlife Law: From Conservation to Protection?

  • Werner Scholtz (a1)

International wildlife law is concerned with the conservation of sentient species, but generally ignores the welfare of individual animals. It therefore does not reflect a recognition of the moral worth of animals and perpetuates the dichotomy between conservation and welfare. It is the primary goal of this article to ascertain how welfare concerns may be incorporated into international wildlife law in order to ensure that it takes cognizance of the moral worth of animals. The article advocates an injection of ethics, via a welfare-centric approach, into wildlife law in order to escape the dichotomy between conservation and welfare in relation to wild animals, and so to advance the progressive development of law that is conducive to wildlife protection rather than merely to its conservation.

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This article was made possible through the generous funding of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung. I am grateful for the comments of Duncan French on a previous draft. Any errors or omissions remain the sole responsibility of the author.

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1 Jacobs, M., ‘The Spirits of Bali’ (1986) 36(1) Flora Malesiana Bulletin, pp. 39203925 , at 3921.

2 European Communities – Measures Prohibiting the Importation and Marketing of Seal Products, Report of the Appellate Body, WT/DS 400/AB/R and WT/DS401/AB/R, 22 May 2014 (EC – Seal Products).

3 Sykes, K., ‘The Appeal to Science and the Formation of Global Animal Law’ (2016) 27(2) European Journal of International Law, pp. 497519 , at 498. A. Peters, ‘Symposium Foreword – Global Animal Law: What It Is and Why We Need It’ (2016) 5(1) Transnational Environmental Law, pp. 9–23.

4 E.g., Regan, T., The Case for Animal Rights (University of California Press, 1983); Singer, P., Animal Liberation (Avon, 1975); Francione, G.L., Animals, Property, and the Law (Temple University Press, 1995); Francione, G.L., Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement (Temple University Press, 1996); Francione, G.L. & Garner, R., The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation? (Columbia University Press, 2010); Sunstein, C.R. & Nussbaum, M.C. (eds), Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions (Oxford University Press, 2004); Donaldson, S. & Kymlicka, W., Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights (Oxford University Press, 2011).

5 Between these opposing positions other perspectives are to be found, such as enlightened welfarism, which suggests that although equal consideration should not necessarily be accorded to animals, their interests should weigh more than they do at present. This approach accommodates responsible experimentation on animals, for instance.

6 Francione (1995), n. 4 above, p. 6. It is not the intention of the author to provide an account of this position.

7 Ibid., p. 7.

8 A section of the animal rights movement focuses on the ultimate goal of the abolition of animal usage: Regan, T., Defending Animal Rights (University of Illinois Press, 2001), p. 3 . However, see Garner, R., ‘A Defense of Broad Animal Protectionism’, in Francione & Garner, n. 4 above, pp. 101718 , and Francione (1995), n. 4 above, p. 261. Donaldson and Kymlicka are of the opinion that, although the discourse of animal rights theory is well established in academic circles, ‘it has virtually no resonance amongst the general public’: Donaldson & Kymlicka, n. 4 above, pp. 4–5.

9 Peters, A., ‘Liberté, Égalité, Animalité: Human–Animal Comparisons in Law’ (2016) 5(1) Transnational Environmental Law, pp. 2553 . Certain proposals for the adoption of international instruments that embody a rights approach include the Universal Declaration of Animal Rights (UDAR), Paris (France), 15 Oct. 1978, available at:

10 Francione & Garnier, n. 4 above, pp. ix–xii.

11 Sykes, K., ‘Nations Like unto Yourselves: An Inquiry into the Status of a General Principle of International Law on Animal Welfare’ (2011) 49 Canadian Yearbook of International Law, pp. 349 , at 4.

12 Animals and their treatment matter because they are sentient beings, which mean that they are perpetually aware: Francione, G.L., ‘The Abolition of Animal Exploitation’, in Francione & Garner, n. 4 above, pp. 1101 , at 15. European Union (EU) law recognizes animals as sentient beings: Art. 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), Lisbon (Portugal), 13 Dec. 2007, in force 1 Dec. 2009, [2010] OJ C 83/47, available at: For a discussion of the implications of Art. 13 TFEU on EU law, see Ludwig, R. & O’Gorman, R., ‘A Cock and Bull Story? Problems with the Protection of Animal Welfare in EU Law and Some Proposed Solutions’ (2008) 20(3) Journal of Environmental Law, pp. 363390, at 379–82.

13 Spark, G.B., ‘Protecting Wild Animals from Unnecessary Suffering’ (2014) 26(3) Journal of Environmental Law, pp. 473494 ; Wandesforde-Smith, G. & Hart, L.A., ‘Exploring the Borderlands between Wild and Non-Wild Animals: Wildlife Law and Policy in Transition’ (2015) 18(4) Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy, pp. 269275 . The distinction is not always clear as wildlife may be owned by people and kept in captivity. An individual may claim ownership of a wild animal through possession, control, domestication or confinement, or through killing the animal: Schaffner, J.E., An Introduction to Animals and the Law (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), p. 22 . The validity of the distinction between non-wild/wild animals for the purposes of welfare regulation is questioned.

14 For a comprehensive comparative overview of domestic jurisdiction that regulates animal welfare, see Wagman, B.A. & Liebman, M., A Worldview of Animal Law (Carolina Academic Press, 2011), pp. 2847 , Ch 5 (pp. 255–78) of which discusses constitutional provisions of relevance. See also M. Michel, ‘Tierschutzgesetzgebung im Rechtsvergleich: Konzepte und Entwicklungstendenzen’, in Michel, M., Kühne, D. & Hänni, J. (eds), Animal Law – Tier und Recht (Dike, 2012), pp. 593625 .

15 The most cited example is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Washington, DC (United States (US)), 3 Mar. 1973, in force 1 July 1975, available at: Art. VIII(3) CITES, e.g., obliges parties to ensure that specimens in transit are properly cared for so as to minimize the risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment. It is clear that the minimization of the risk of injury and damage to health relates to the objective of conservation. Similar requirements are included in Arts III(2)(c), III(4)(b), IV(2)(c), IV(5)(b), IV (6)(b), V(2)(b) and VII(7)(c) CITES. For a comprehensive discussion, see Bowman, M., ‘Conflict or Compatibility? The Trade, Conservation and Animal Welfare Dimensions of CITES’ (1998) 1(1) Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy, pp. 963 , at 9, 21–5.

16 Harrop, S.R., ‘The Dynamics of Wild Animal Welfare Law’ (1997) 9(2) Journal of Environmental Law, pp. 287302 , at 287.

17 Kelch, T.G., Globalization and Animal Law: Comparative Law, International Law and International Trade (Kluwer Law International, 2011), pp. 239270 ; Sykes, K., ‘Sealing Animal Welfare into GATT Exceptions: The International Dimensions of Animal Welfare in WTO Disputes’ (2014) 13(3) World Trade Review, pp. 471498 .

18 Sykes, n. 11 above, p. 10.

19 Peters, , n. 3 above.

20 Park, M. & Singer, P., ‘The Globalization of Animal Welfare: More Food Does Not Require More Suffering’ (2012) 91(Mar./Apr.) Foreign Affairs, pp. 122133 .

21 Bowman, M., ‘“Normalizing” the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling’ (2008) 29(3) Michigan Journal of International Law, pp. 293499 , at 459.

22 The intrinsic value of biological resources is recognized in the Preamble to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), 5 Jun. 1992, in force 29 Dec. 1993, available at:

23 Bowman, M., Davies, P. & Redgwell, C., Lyster’s International Wildlife Law (Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 672 .

24 Harrop, n. 16 above, p. 289.

25 Harrop, S.R., ‘Climate Change, Conservation and the Place for Wild Animal Welfare in International Law’ (2011) 23(3) Journal of Environmental Law, pp. 441462 , at 450.

26 Ibid., p. 442.

27 Becker, L.C., ‘The Priority of Human Interests’, in T. Regan & P. Singer (eds), Animal Rights and Human Obligations (Prentice Hall, 1989), pp. 8794 , at 92.

28 For a narrative of the history of the interaction between humans and animals: Kelch, n. 17 above, pp. 1–18; Nibert, D., Animal Rights/Human Rights (Rowman and Littlefield, 2002), pp. 101141 .

29 Yang considers this as one of the distinctive features of environmental ethics: Yang, T., ‘Towards an Egalitarian Global Environmental Ethics’, in H. ten Have (ed.), Environmental Ethics and International Policy (UNESCO, 2006), pp. 2345 , at 24.

30 This is in accordance with the definition of the World Commission on Environment and Development Experts Group on Environmental Law: Birnie, P., Boyle, A. & Redgwell, C., International Law and the Environment (Oxford, 2009), p. 593 .

31 Harrop, S.R., ‘From Cartel to Conservation and on to Compassion: Animal Welfare and the International Whaling Commission’ (2003) 6(1–2) Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy, pp. 79104 , at 80–1.

32 Art. I(a) CITES, n. 15 above, defines species to include ‘any species, subspecies or geographically separate population thereof’.

33 The whaling regime presents an example: see Scholtz, W., ‘Killing Them Softly? Animal Welfare and the Inhumanity of Whale Killing: From Conservation to Compassion’ (forthcoming 2017) 20 Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy .

34 Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention), Ramsar (Iran), 2 Feb. 1971, in force 21 Dec. 1975, available at:

35 Art. 1 CBD, n. 22 above, includes the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components as objectives of the instrument. Art. 2 CBD defines biological diversity as ‘the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.’ Thus, biodiversity relates to the diversity of ecosystems (or habitat), species and genetic diversity.

36 Art. 2 CBD, n. 22 above, defines an ecosystem as ‘a dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit’. Art. 8 CBD places an emphasis on in situ conservation, which it defines as ‘the conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings’.

37 A precise universal definition of animal welfare does not exist. Some commentators restrict the notion to physical well-being, whereas others focus on the emotional response of animals. For a discussion, see Haynes, R.P., Animal Welfare: Competing Conceptions and their Ethical Implications (Springer, 2010), p. 107 . The Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards between the European Union, Canada and the Russian Federation (1998, in force July 2008, available at:, Annex I, Pt I, para. 1.3.1 affirms that the ‘[w]elfare of animals is indicated by measures of the extent of ease or difficulty in their coping with the environment and the extent of failure to cope with their environment’. Although welfare can vary widely, the term ‘humane’ is used only for those trapping methods where the welfare of the animals concerned is contained at a sufficient level.

38 Gillespie, A., ‘Humane Killing: A Recognition of Universal Common Sense in International Law’ (2003) 6(1) Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy, pp. 129 , at 4.

39 Sykes, n. 3 above, p. 505.

40 Harrop, S.R., ‘The International Regulation of Animal Welfare and Conservation Issues through Standards Dealing with the Trapping of Wild Animals’ (2000) 12(3) Journal of Environmental Law, pp. 333360 , at 350.

41 For a comprehensive overview, see Gillespie, A., Whaling Diplomacy: Defining Issues in International Environmental Law (Edward Elgar, 2005), pp. 148177 , and Fitzmaurice, M., Whaling and International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 153183 .

42 Harrop, n. 16 above, p. 287. The incidental derivation of welfare measures from conservation objectives may be illustrated by reference to the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention), Bern (Switzerland), 19 Sept. 1979, in force 1 June 1982, available at: Art. 8 is concerned with the reduction of the killing of endangered or sensitive species through indiscriminate methods of capture of animals. The incidental welfare consequence of this provision is that it may alleviate suffering, as indiscriminate methods can result in suffering, in particular to non-target animals.

43 Purdy, J., ‘Our Place in the World: A New Relationship for Environmental Ethics and Law’ (2013) 62(4) Duke Law Journal, pp. 857932 , at 862.

44 Ibid., p. 860.

45 Ibid., p. 862.

46 Tribe, L.H., ‘Ways Not to Think About Plastic Trees: New Foundations for Environmental Law’ (1974) 83(7) The Yale Law Journal, pp. 13151348 .

47 Ibid., p. 1341.

48 Stone, Cf. C.D., Should Trees Have Standing? And Other Essays on Law, Morals and the Environment (Oceana, 1996), pp. 147 .

49 Brennan, Cf. A., ‘The Moral Standing of Natural Objects’, in A. Brennan (ed.), The Ethics of the Environment (Dartmouth, 1995), pp. 3556 .

50 See, e.g., the contributions in the special edition of (2012) Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, pp. 1120 .

51 Tribe, n. 46 above, p. 1343. Stone indicates that he limits himself to a discussion of non-animal objects, but alludes to the appropriateness of his analysis to advancing animal rights, inter alia: Stone, n. 48 above, p. 9.

52 Becker, n. 27 above, p. 92.

53 Purdy, n. 43 above, p. 894.

54 Steiner, G., Animals and the Moral Community: Mental Life, Moral Status and Kinship (Columbia University Press, 2008), p. 126 .

55 Nouët, J., ‘Origins of the Universal Declaration of Animal Rights’, in G. Chapouthier & J. Nouët (eds), The Universal Declaration of Animal Rights: Comments and Intentions (Ligue Française des Droits de l’Animal, 1998), pp. 916 , at 13.

56 Purdy, n. 43 above, p. 872. For a discussion of the different approaches in environmental ethics, see Yang, n. 29 above, pp. 28–33.

57 The determination of value is inseparable from human experience, and it is therefore impossible to depart from the anthropocentric approach: Scholtz, W., ‘Animal Culling: A Sustainable Approach or Anthropocentric Atrocity? Issues of Biodiversity and Custodial Sovereignty’ (2005) 2(2) Macquarie Journal of International and Comparative Environmental Law, pp. 930 .

58 According to Purdy (n. 43 above, p. 874) the focus on value theory fails to guide action in terms of the operation of legislation.

59 Ibid.

60 It would be more correct to refer to weak anthropocentrism: Redgwell, C., ‘Life, the Universe and Everything: A Critique of Anthropocentric Rights’, in A.E. Boyle & M.R. Anderson (eds), Human Rights Approaches to Environmental Protection (Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 7187 , at 73.

61 Cochrane, A., Animal Rights Without Liberation: Applied Ethics and Human Obligations (Columbia University Press, 2012), p. 156 .

62 Francione & Garnier, n. 4 above, p. i; see also Chartier, G., ‘Natural Law and Animal Rights’ (2010) 23(1) Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, pp. 3346 . For a defence of the position that non-sentient beings cannot possess interests and moral status, see Cochrane, ibid., p. 157.

63 Cochrane, ibid., p. 158. Cochrane analyzes the proposal that non-conscious entities may also have interests and defends the welfarist understanding of interests by stating that ‘[i]t is true that not all interests are tied to conscious desires … But that does not undermine the point that the capacity for conscious experience is necessary for the possession of interests’: ibid., p. 159.

64 Ibid., p. 160.

65 Environmentalists favour holism rather than an exclusive concern with the plight of individual entities of the biotic community. This is evident from the much-quoted remark of Leopold: ‘A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends to do otherwise’: Leopold, A., A Sand County Almanac (Oxford University Press, 1949, reprinted 2001), p. 189 .

66 Cochrane, n. 61 above, p. 162.

67 Scholtz, W., ‘The Anthropocentric Approach to Sustainable Development in the National Environmental Management Act and the Constitution of South Africa’ (2005) 1 Journal of South African Law, pp. 6985 .

68 Cochrane recognizes the limits of this approach. A necessary link between habitat destruction and animal suffering does not exist per se and this implies that it will be difficult to establish obligations to prevent environmental degradation if it does not harm the well-being of animals: Cochrane, n. 61 above, p. 162. In general, however, habitat destruction will impact negatively on sentient beings (including animals), which is a good reason for preventing its destruction.

69 Gillespie, n. 41 above, p. 45.

70 Bonn (Germany), 23 June 1979, in force 1 Nov. 1983, available at:

71 E.g., CMS Convention, ibid., Art. IV(1).

72 Ibid., Art. I(1)(b).

73 Ibid., Art. I(1)(c) read with (d). The conservation status of a species will be unfavourable when the following conditions are not met: (i) population dynamics data indicate that the migratory species is maintaining itself on a long-term basis as a viable component of its ecosystems; (ii) the range of the migratory species is neither currently being reduced, nor is likely to be reduced, on a long-term basis; (iii) there is, and will be in the foreseeable future, sufficient habitat to maintain the population of the migratory species on a long-term basis; and (iv) the distribution and abundance of the migratory species approach historic coverage and levels to the extent that potentially suitable ecosystems exist and to the extent consistent with wise wildlife management.

74 See also the Ramsar Convention, n. 34 above, and the Bern Convention, n. 42 above.

75 Paquet, P.C. & Darimont, C.T., ‘Wildlife Conservation and Animal Welfare: Two Sides of the Same Coin?’ (2010) 19(2) Animal Welfare, pp. 177190 , at 177.

76 Ibid.

77 Purdy, n. 43 above, p. 874.

78 Vidas, D., Zalasiewicz, J. & Williams, M., ‘What Is the Anthropocene – and Why Is It Relevant for International Law?’ (2014) 25(1) Yearbook of International Environmental Law, pp. 323 .

79 Chakrabarty, D., ‘The Climate of History: Four Theses’ (2009) 35(2) Critical Inquiry, pp. 197222 , at 198.

80 Easterbrook, G., A Moment on the Earth: The Coming Age of Environmental Optimism (Viking, 1996), p. 431 .

81 Palmer, C., ‘The Moral Relevance of the Distinction between Domesticated and Wild Animals’, in C.T.L. Beauchamp & R.G. Frey (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 701725 , at 713.

82 Callicott, J.B., ‘The Philosophical Value of Wildlife’, in S.J. Armstrong & R.G. Botzler (eds), The Animal Ethics Reader (Routledge, 2008), pp. 439443 , at 441.

83 Kelch, T.G., ‘Towards Universal Principles for Global Animal Advocacy’ (2016) 5(1) Transnational Environmental Law, pp. 81111 . An important criticism of this feminist ethic is that it may be too vague to guide concrete decision making in relation to animals. For a discussion of feminism and animal rights: Donovan, J., ‘Animal Rights and Feminist Theory’ (1990) 15(2) Signs, pp. 350375 .

84 For a discussion of the application of FCT to wild animals: Clement, G. ‘The Ethic of Care and the Problem of Wild Animals’, in Armstrong & Botzler (eds), n. 82 above, pp. 444–50.

85 Kelch, n. 83 above, p. 93.

86 Ibid., p. 101.

87 Government Notice No. 251, Government Gazette, No. 30833, 29 Feb. 2008.

88 Act 10 of 2004 (Biodiversity Act).

89 Ibid., s. 2.

90 Ibid., Pt 2.

91 Ibid., Pt 3.

92 For a discussion of the process see Bilchitz, D., ‘Animal Interests and South African Law: The Elephant in the Room?’, in D. Cao & S. White (eds), Animal Law and Welfare: International Perspectives (Springer, 2016), pp. 131155 , at 148. Views may differ on the manner in which the policy reflects caring, as culling is still recognized as a last resort.

93 See Kamminga, M.R., ‘The Ethics of Climate Politics: Four Modes of Moral Discourse’ (2008) 17(4) Environmental Politics, pp. 673692 , in relation to the ethics of climate politics; see also Gustafson, J.M., Intersections: Science, Technology and Ethics (Pilgrim Press, 1996).

94 Vienna (Austria), 23 May 1969, in force 27 Jan. 1980, available at: Bowman, Davies & Redgwell, n. 23 above, p. 681.

95 Ibid., pp. 675–82. See also the analysis of Sykes, n. 11 above, pp. 46–7. It is not the intent of the author to repeat in detail the convincing arguments of Bowman, Davies & Redgwell and Sykes in support of the recognition of animal welfare as a general principle.

96 Bassiouni, M.C., ‘A Functional Approach to General Principles of International Law’ (1989/90) 11 Michigan Journal of International Law, pp. 768818 , at 769.

97 General principles may be identified from national and/or international sources: Bassiouni, ibid., pp. 768, 772.

98 The ambiguous nature of general principles of international law has been the source of ‘vast amounts of doctrinal debate’, which are beyond the scope of this article: see Elias, O. & Lim, C., ‘“General Principles of Law”, “Soft Law” and the Identification of International Law’ (1997) 28 Netherlands Yearbook of International Law, pp. 349 , at 3, 5.

99 Voigt, C., Sustainable Development as a Principle of International Law (Brill, 2009), pp. 145188 .

100 Ibid., p. 157.

101 Ibid., p. 159.

102 Ibid.

103 Ibid., p. 158.

104 Wolfrum, R., ‘Sources of International Law’, Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Law, para. 39, available at: .

105 For a comprehensive comparative overview of domestic jurisdictions that regulate animal welfare, see Wagman & Liebman, n. 14 above, pp. 28–47; see also Michel, n. 14 above.

106 N. 15 above.

107 Arts III(2)(c), III(4)(b), IV(2)(c), IV(5)(b), IV(6)(b), VI(2)(b), VII(7)(c) and VIII(3) CITES.

108 See also Sykes, n. 11 above, p. 22. The World Conservation Strategy states that ‘[e]very form of life warrants respect independently of its worth to people’ and ‘[p]eople should treat all creatures decently, and protect them from cruelty, avoidable suffering and unnecessary killing’: Barrow, C.J., Caring for the Earth: A Strategy for Sustainable Living (International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), 1991). The Preamble to the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development (UN Doc. A/CONF.199/20, Johannesburg (South Africa), Sept. 2002, available at: strives for a ‘humane, equitable, caring global society’ and affirms humanity’s ‘responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life and to our children’.

109 The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW), initially proposed by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) in 2000 (available at:, and the draft texts of the International Convention for the Protection of Animals (ICPA) and its protocols (available at: serve as examples.

110 Bowman, Davies & Redgwell, n. 23 above, p. 680.

111 Ibid., p. 681. This provision states that together with the context ‘any relevant rules of international law applicable in the relations between the parties’ shall be taken into account.

112 Ibid., pp. 682–97.

113 Scholtz, n. 33 above.

114 Washington DC (US), 2 Dec. 1946, in force 10 Nov. 1948, available at: A caveat applies. Unfortunately tribunals and courts rarely make use of the interpretative function of general principles and, as such, the utility of general principles remains limited. This is also evident from the decisions of the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ): Thirlway, H.W.A., The Sources of International Law (Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 98 .

115 Sagoff, M., ‘Animal Liberation and Environmental Ethics: Bad Marriage, Quick Divorce’ (1984) 22 Osgoode Hall Law Journal, pp. 297307 , at 304 (emphasis in original).

116 Ibid., p. 305.

117 Bos, M., ‘The Recognized Manifestation of International Law’ (1977) 20 German Yearbook of International Law, pp. 976 , at 42.

118 As Koskenniemi aptly remarks, ‘greater coverage of State practice through general principles seems to be achieved only at the cost of the critical content of those principles’: Koskenniemi, M., Sources of International Law (Ashgate, 2000), p. 398 .

119 Gillespie, n. 38 above, p. 6. The deliberations of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in relation to humane treatment are informative. The IWC does not work with an agreed definition of welfare. However, other expert bodies and intergovernmental organizations have established agreed definitions in order to aid intersessional deliberations on welfare issues. In this regard, welfare is considered ‘to be the health of an animal, encompassing both its physical and psychological state. An animal in a good state of welfare (as indicated by scientific evidence) would be free from pain, fear, and distress and be healthy, well nourished, and able to express innate behavior’: Report of the IWC 65 (2014), IWC/65/WKM&AWI05 Rev2, WKM&AWI Agenda item 6.3, Addressing Welfare within Q20 the IWC: Intersessional Working Group on Welfare, Summary Recommendations, available at:

120 General principles of international law may be resorted to in order to identify opinio juris and as such may provide orientation to customary international law: see the Separate Opinion of Judge Cançado Trindade in the ICJ case, Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay), Judgment of 20 Apr. 2010, ICJ Reports (2010), p. 204.

121 Palmer, G., ‘New Ways to Make International Environmental Law’ (1992) 86(2) American Journal of International Law, pp. 259283 , at 259.

122 Adopted by the UN Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm (Sweden), 5–16 June 1972, available at:

123 Adopted by the UN Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), 3–14 June 1992, UN Doc. A/CONF.151/26/Rev.1 (Vol. I), 14 June 1992, available at:

124 Scholtz, W., ‘Legal Protection of the Environment’, in H.A. Strydom (ed.), International Law (Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 504544 , at 511.

125 Birnie, Boyle & Redgwell, n. 30 above, p. 600.

126 N. 109 above.

127 This group included World Animal Protection, which was formerly the World Society for the Protection of Animals. The proposed agreement has been revised several times.

128 Draft UDAW (2011), n. 109 above, Art. V.

129 Ibid., Art. VI.

130 Ibid., Art. II states that ‘animal welfare includes animal health and encompasses both the physical and psychological state of the animal. The welfare of an animal can be described as good or high if the individual is fit, healthy, free from suffering and in a positive state of wellbeing’.

131 Favre, D., ‘An International Treaty for Animal Welfare’ (2011–12) 18 Animal Law, pp. 237280 . Ozone depletion and climate change, as well as biodiversity regimes, are illustrative of this approach: Scholtz, n. 124 above, pp. 523–36.

132 ICPA, n. 109 above.

133 This statement may be criticized for its anthropocentricity. Animal rights advocates may be critical of the fact that it does not subscribe to abolition but is based rather on the socio-economic realities of the advantages that people gain from the utilization of animals.

134 ICPA, n. 109 above, Art. 1.

135 Ibid., Art. 2 contains the various definitions and Arts 3–9 deal with the separate categories.

136 Ibid., Art. 10(1).

137 Ibid., Arts 10(2) and 12.

139 Paris (France), 18 Oct. 1950, in force 17 Jan. 1963, available at: See van Heijnsbergen, P., International Legal Protection of Wild Fauna and Flora (IOS Press, 1997), p. 43 .

140 Van Heijnsbergen, ibid.

141 The Preamble together with Arts II(2)(b), IV(2)(b), V(2)(a), XII, XIV, and XVI of CITES refer to protection.

142 Bowman, n. 15 above, p. 11.

143 Arts III and IV CITES deal with the conditions for granting export permits for Appendix I and II species, which stipulate conditions such as compliance with the laws of the relevant state for the protection of fauna and flora. The subsequent provisions in Articles III and IV deal with minimizing the risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment in relation to shipping and preparing.

144 Art. XI CITES.

145 Art. XV(2)(b) CITES.

This article was made possible through the generous funding of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung. I am grateful for the comments of Duncan French on a previous draft. Any errors or omissions remain the sole responsibility of the author.

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