Law relating to animals

Animal law, also known as animal law, is a cross-sectional legal area that includes all legal regulations related to animals.

Animal law is not a uniformly regulated area of law, but rather includes animal-related regulations from a wide variety of laws and legal areas. The law surrounding animals affects a wide variety of people and groups of people (e.g. animal owners, animal breeders, veterinarians, animal protection associations, etc.) and also a wide variety of life situations.

The law surrounding animals is largely part of civil law. According to Section 90a of the Civil Code, animals are not things within the meaning of the German Civil Code (BGB), but the regulations regarding things are applied to them accordingly. In the absence of specific legal regulations, the law relating to animals is usually based on the general provisions of the Civil Code.

Zu den zivilrechtlichen Themen im Bereich Recht rund um das Tier gehören dabei:

  • Purchasing animals, especially liability for defects
  • Liability under animal law (e.g. of the animal owner, animal guardian, veterinarian…)
  • Keeping animals in tenancy law
  • Animal husbandry and neighbor law
  • Drafting animal law contracts
  • Foreclosure and animals


At the public law level, the law relating to animals particularly concerns animal protection, which has been anchored as a state objective in our constitution since August 1, 2002 under Article 20a of the Basic Law. In order to do justice to this state objective, there is in particular the Animal Protection Act, which contains special regulations on animal husbandry and treatment, slaughter, animal testing, breeding and animal trade, as well as animal law penal and fine regulations.

On the following pages we will try to provide you with as much information as possible about the law surrounding animals.

We also recommend the following pages on the subject of animal law: