22 nov. 2012

No animal rights campaign instrumentalising the Holocaust image (at least in Germany), PETA v Germany, 43481/09

PETA Deutschland (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) tried to organize an advertising campaign under the head “The Holocaust on your plate” in Germany but it was banned, and the European Court of Human Rights confirms the ban. The posters had to make a photo parallel between Holocaust and the pain of animals. PETA intended to use the text “Between 1938 and 1945, 12 million human beings were killed in the Holocaust. As many animals are killed every hour in Europe for the purpose of human consumption” (§ 7).

PETA tried to explain that they do not trivialize the suffering of human beings, neither they have any anti-Semitic background. In the USA and Austria, this campaign did not meet such obstacles (§ 28).

The ECtHR replied that the ban is necessary in a democratic German society because of the German past, because they deem themselves under a special obligation towards the Jews (§ 49). The ban is proportional, since PETA remains free to find other means of drawing public attention to the issue of animal protection (§ 50).

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