WAJ paves the way to legally ban crimes against animals worldwide. In this aim, our group of international animal law experts conduct in depth research with partnering NGOs and supporters to formulate concrete proposals cover extensive subjects in order to advance animal law protection worldwide.
-> With our extensive scope, ongoing and forthcoming projects have the potential to cover:

  • All sentient animals: Domestic & Wild ; Terrestrial & Aquatic ; Vertebrates & Invertebrates.
  • All levels of Legislation: National ; Regional (eg: Asia, Oceania, Europe, Africa, Americas), International and UN-iversal (United-Nations)
  • All animal Law instruments: General animal protection laws ;  Criminal/Penal anti-cruelty laws & specific bans; Animal welfare national & supranational regulations ; Constitutional provisions ; Court decisions ; Existing and Prospective international or UN multilateral frameworks/agreements for animals.

-> Current projects started in 2024 are the following:

1- Regional overviews of legal obligations and prohibitions cocerning animals, with a review of European laws and an overview in the Asia-Pacific Region ;
2- Innovative research and law paper on ‘How to formally recognize and prohibit the ‘Crimes against Animality’ and ‘Zoocide’ in International Criminal Law?’

We forsee to report on How to fill the gap of legal frameworks to protect aquatic animals (eg: fish) & invertebrates (eg: octopus and insects) in food system.

We also aim to propose new legal solutions to stop factory farming for the benefits of animals, humans and the planet in considering the urgent needs of encouraging plant-based proteins alternatives through legal incentives and subsidies to develop a more ecological, heathy and ethical Food Sytems.
This is a Must to achieve the UN SDGs towards a more sustainable way to produce and consume food for all, and if we want to ‘live in Harmony with Nature’.

Regional overviews of legal obligations & prohibitions towards animals

Worldview of National Anti-Cruelty Laws

World Map National Animal Laws-WAJ-2023

2/3 of world's countries have at least basic anti-cruelty laws (in blue) where 1/3 still don't (in grey).
Many of the blue countries also have general animal protection laws, specific regulations and prohibitions for certains activities and practices involving animal abuses, with around 10 countries worldwide having constitutional provisions to protect animals. Some countries in South-America and the Indo-Pakistanese regions have even adopted first Court decisions on animal rights.
However, there is still a long way to go to protect all animals from all the massive crimes they are victims in a legal way everyday worldwide for food, experiments, hunting, fishing etc. (First preliminary result of WAJ animal laws mapping as of 1 Jan 2024).


Constitutional & Anti-cruelty Animal Laws Updates

In  2024, we gathered the last avalaible laws in the European countries to underline the following information: 
– A brief comparison of anti-cruelty laws in the 27 EU countries to underline the common points & top punishers;
– A brief overview of the evolution of Constitutional provisions for animals in European countries in June 2024.

Anti-cruelty Laws in EU countries

To date, every EU country has anti-cruelty laws. ‘Cruelty’ is usually defined as inflcting  ‘unnecessary’ suffering (knowing that these laws tend to be restricted to companion and/or vertebrate animals).  Zoophilia is prohibited.
Aggravated cruelty is usually committed when involving the death of the animal, many animals, recidivism etc.

  • Who are the top punishers (in theory)? = Which countries provide for the maximum penalties in their criminal laws?
    -> Prison: Bulgaria and Romania provide up to 7 years, and above all Greece with up to 10 years in prison!
    ->  Fines: Spain and Luxembourg provide with up to 200,000 euros and Ireland with up to 250,000 euros!

In practice, we can observe a general lack of enforcement, knowing that the penalties decided by the Judges are usually lower than the maximum provided. However, the tendency is a constant increase of the penalties provided for animal cruelty. In 2023 and 2024, 4 EU countries uplifted the prison sanctions 1-3 years higher: Croatia, Slovakia, Portugal, Netherlands.

Animals in European Constitutions

At the highest level of the laws, the role of Constitutions is to ensure the rights and duties of the citizens in every country. 

– Slovenia: Since 1991, Constitution (Art. 72) states that “the protection of animals from cruelty” shall be regulated by law”. 
– Switzerland: Since 1992, the Swiss Constitution (art.120) provides for the “dignity of living beings” in gene technology.
– Germany: Since 2002, the german Constitution (art.20 A) includes explicitely the “protection of animals”.
– Luxembourg: Since 2007, the Constitution (art.11 bis) provides for the “protection and welfare of animals“.
– Austria: In 2013 was adopted the Federal Constitutional Law on “Sustainability and Animal Welfare“.
– Italia: Since 2022, the Italian Constitution (art.9 al.3) provides the need to “safeguard animals“.
– Belgium: Since May 2024, Constitution (art.7 bis) includes “the protection and welfare of animals as sentients beings“.

Interestingly, we can observe that this progression concerns neighboring countries in the same region of Central Europe.

If you want to share other updates, please contact us via the Contact form Join us


Asia-Pacific Animal Law Overview (APALO)

The laws are important instruments to better protect animals. However, these laws can be hard to access in some regions of the world. In order to better know what is prohibited to do against which animals in which countries, World Animal Justice (WAJ), in partnership with the Institute of Animal Law of Asia (IALA) and with the support of the Asia for Animals (AfA) Coalition have first launched the Asia-Pacific Animal Law Overview APALO.

APALO pic with 3 logos-WAJ-AfA-IALA

Asia-Pacific Animal Law Overview (APALO)

Project Launch – April 2024

The protection of animals from cruelty and specific criminal acts is a significant concern globally. Anti-cruelty laws and specific prohibitions falling under criminal animal legislation are pivotal for animal protection. Accessing and understanding these laws can be challenging due to variations in jurisdictions and legal language, particularly in Asia. To address this issue, the creation of a comprehensive database dedicated to knowing what is prohibited to do towards which animals and where, can serve as a valuable resource for policymakers, legal professionals, animal protection organizations, as well as for the general public.

What is the APALO project ?

In order to better access these law sources of information in the Asia-Pacific region, World Animal Justice (WAJ) is launching, in collaboration with the Institute for Animal Law of Asia (IALA), and the support of the Asia for Animals (AfA) Coalition, the Asia-Pacific Animal Law Overview (APALO) project.
It aims to compile, organize, and disseminate information regarding anti-cruelty laws and specific obligations and prohibitions that exist to protect every category of animals in the Asian countries, with Australia and New-Zealand in the Pacific region. By centralizing this information, APALO aims to become a Database of reference to facilitate easier access, comparative analysis, and understanding of the legal frameworks pertaining to animal protection and criminal laws in this region.
This work is done by knowledgable animal law specialists in the various countries in this Asia-Pacific region. 

Key Features of APALO ?

  • Jurisdictional coverage: The database will encompass anti-cruelty laws and specific prohibitions concerning animals from multiple jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region ensuring broad coverage.
  • Legislative texts: The relevant texts of the legislation in force, including the full or the accurate provisions of the Laws, regulations etc. will be included, providing users with proper information.
  • Judgements and case summaries: The database will allow to incorporate important judicial decisions related to eg. animal cruelty cases in respective jurisdictions where they are accessible.
  • Comparative analysis: This database will aim to allow the comparison of different laws across countries, enabling users to identify similarities, differences, strengths, and weaknesses in the laws.
  • Updates and amendments: The database will need to be regularly updated to reflect changes in existing laws in force and the enactment of new legislation, ensuring its relevance and accuracy.

To ensure the long-term sustainability of the database, strategies are to be implemented, maintain technical infrastructure, and update content regularly. Partnerships with relevant stakeholders may also contribute to efficiency and sustainability efforts.

Target Audience of APALO ?

  • Legal professionals and legislators
  • Policy researchers and Policymakers
  • Animal lawyer and animal advocates
  • Animal protection organisations
  • Educational institutions and academia
  • General public

One set up in some months, APALO will become an essential tool in advancing animal protection efforts in the Asia-Pacific region.
By providing easy access to legal information, facilitating comparative analysis, and fostering collaboration, APALO aims to support legislative reforms, advocacy initiatives, and ultimately, improve the protection of all animals from cruelty and mistreatments generally. WAJ is honored to lead the APALO project in collaboration with ALA and AfA support in line with our goals to promote greater awareness, and foster the adoption and enforcement of anti-criminal laws towards animals worldwide.

In collaboration with the Institute of Animal Law of Asia, and supported by Asia for AnimalsWorld Animal Justice launched the Asia-Pacific Animal Law Overview. 
‘Asia is the largest and most populous continent in the world that is rich in its fauna. Due to the diversity of Asia, it becomes challenging to access information on the protection of animals in those countries. APALO aims to collect and provide information regarding anti-cruelty laws and specific regulations of animals in Asian countries, together with Australia and New Zealand in the Pacific region. APALO aims to serve as the primary database with easy navigation, understanding of the legal framework of each country, and accessibility for interested individuals and organizations.’

Source IALA projects: 

The Asia for Animals (AfA) Coalition, providing key support for APALO

‘How can animal advocates create a future where justice for animals is the global standard?
Join us for a compelling discussion with Dr. Sabine Brels, founder of World Animal Justice (WAJ).
WAJ is spearheading a movement to bring “crimes against animality” into international law, mirroring the protections afforded to humans and the environment. In this episode of the AfA Policy Coalition podcast, you’ll discover WAJ’s bold vision for a world where animal rights are upheld, their strategies to criminalize acts of extreme cruelty and the overexploitation of animals as well as the Asia Pacific Animal Law Overview (APALO) – a groundbreaking project mapping animal protection laws across the region. Ready to drive change in animal law?’ 

Source: AfA website Here