ANIMAL rights extremists at PETA have filed a lawsuit which aims to give piglets the human right of “personhood”.
The attempt to get the court to grant the animal human rights is a bid to unhinge pork farming by having pig castration outlawed.
Legal experts say the move is unlikely to succeed.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed the lawsuit with Germany’s Constitutional Court to ban the painful procedure.
And the piglets themselves have been listed as the ones suing over the violation of their rights.
Farmers argue that the castration of piglets a few days after birth is necessary to prevent ‘boar taint’, the occasional occurrence of a foul smell when cooking pork from male pigs past puberty.
In 2013 the German parliament outlawed castration without pain relief but offered farmers a five-year transition period to help them adapt to the change.
But the timeline was extended last year until 2021 causing outrage by activists leading to them filing the lawsuit in November on behalf of the baby pigs.
The group wants judges to recognise that pigs have rights similar to human rights and that these are being violated by the ‘cruel act’ of castration without pain relief.
PETA lawyer Cornelia Ziehm, who is supporting PETA in representing the piglets, said: “Non-human entities like companies and associations have legal personhood. “So why not animals too?
“The castration of piglets, with or without anaesthesia, is in clear violation of this, giving Germany’s male piglets only one option: to sue for the enforcement of their rights in court.”
But Jens Buelte, a law professor at Mannheim university, doubted whether the judges in Karlsruhe would see it the same way.
He said: “Animals do not have their own rights under German law.
“It has little chance of succeeding.”
German farmers say there is a lack of workable alternatives to tackle boar taint, in an industry already struggling with fierce foreign competition.
It is not the first time PETA has filed a case on behalf of animals.
In 2015 it asked an American court to grant a macaque monkey the copyright to a selfie it snapped on a wildlife photographer’s camera.
The picture of the broadly grinning monkey went viral but the court eventually ruled that animals cannot bring copyright infringement suits.
PETA condemned the verdict, saying the monkey was “discriminated against simply because he’s a nonhuman animal”.