Birgitta Wahlberg

Dr. Soc. Sc. (public law) Birgitta Wahlberg works as a university teacher in Public Law at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Business and Economics, Åbo Akademi University, Finland. Her field of expertise is Animal Law in general and as a jurisprudential subject of law. Wahlberg has published the first animal law textbook in Finland: Inledning till djurskyddslagstiftningen i Finland (2014), and several articles about animal law issues. Wahlberg is the founder of the Global Journal of Animal Law published by Åbo Akademi University. She is also co-founder and chairperson of the Finnish Animal Rights Lawyers Society.

Fundamental Animal Rights: Proposal by the Finnish Animal Rights Lawyers Society

All legal decision-making in Finland is bound by EU and Finnish law, which is interpreted and applied in accordance with the hierarchy of norms. However, both EU legislation concerning animals and Finnish animal protection legislation is based on an animal welfare paradigm. Meaning, amongst other issues, that animals have a weak legal status compared to humans. The inferior legal status of animals contributes, in turn, to the continuation of the exploitation and oppression of animals, partly because there are no effective, legal tools at the highest level of the hierarchy of norms to counter human interests and activities when animals are used for human purposes. Therefore, the Finnish Animal Rights Lawyers Society has made a proposal to strengthen the legal status of animals by including animal rights in the Finnish Constitution. The intention is to guarantee animals certain fundamental rights and provide effective legal tools for the balancing of human and animal interests in the future. The presentation focuses on the proposal and the re-evaluation of animal protection. The full proposal can be read on the society’s webpage or by downloading it as a pdf: