Federica Mucci (Università degli Studi di Roma "Tor Vergata")


The protection of animals in international law - not of unconfigurable real "rights" of animals, but of human interests to a certain treatment of them - can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century, with the first treaties concluded to prevent the overexploitation of whales and fur seals, in order to protect the industrial activities of which these animals constituted the raw material. Today, the topic of "animal welfare" is debated in various international forums and has led to the conclusion of some treaties in the Council of Europe. On closer inspection, though, it is still - inevitably - the projection of human interests that have to do with a certain way of treating animals. In this regard, two recent international controversies discussed at the International Court of Justice and the WTO are emblematic.

Endangered species
- the first treaties on the protection of whales and fur seals, devised not to deplete living economic resources
- CITES and the protection of the species through the control of commerce
- the networks of internationally protected natural sites of exceptional/outstanding universal value as protection of the habitat of species at the risk of extinction

Biodiversity and sustainable development
- The convention on the protection of biological diversity and its protocols
- Biological diversity, cultural diversity and sustainable development

Public morals and “animal welfare”
- Two recent international disputes on the protection of wild animals: The International Court of Justice about whales WTO dispute settlement mechanisms about seals
- Main features of the Council of Europe conventions
- A look at the European Union rules


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