The Federal Constitution requires account to be taken of the dignity of living beings when handling animals, plants and other organisms. The ECNH's key tasks include putting this concept into concrete terms.
With regard to animals, it means consistently taking into consideration the interests of animals when weighing them up against human interests: we must not, without justification, cause them suffering, pain, harm or fear. The Animal Protection Act already lays down these limitations to our treatment of animals.
Protecting the dignity of living beings, however, goes further: animals should also be protected from unjustified interventions on their appearance, from humiliation and from being disproportionately instrumentalised. The ECNH has also published a report on the consequences the constitutional definition of the dignity of living beings will have for our treatment of plants.
Also within the context of the legislative process, the ECNH has issued several statements on the term "dignity of living beings".
Die Pflanze. Moderne Konzepte der Biologie. 2007 (Plants: modern biological concepts) in German, 2007
Tel.: +41 (0)58 463 83 83
Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology ECNH
c/o Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)