Claiming that “Non-human entities like companies and associations have legal personhood. So why not animals too," PETA lawyer Cornelia Ziehm, is representing the piglets in Germany’s Constitutional Court, according to a Yahoo News article.
Although the Bundestag outlawed castration of animals without pain relief in 2013, it allowed a five-year transition period which has been extended to 2021.
The delay “outraged” the good folks at PETA, who then filed a lawsuit on behalf of the baby pigs.
The group wants judges to recognize that pigs have rights similar to human rights and that these are being violated by the "cruel act" of castration without pain relief, said the article.
The lawsuit is based on the argument that in Germany “everyone” (even pigs) can file a constitutional complaint if they believe their basic rights have been violated. It would be interesting to know if the pigs had been polled as to their beliefs.
But Jens Buelte, a law professor at Mannheim university, doubted whether the judges in Karlsruhe would see it the same way, said the Yahoo News article.
"Animals do not have their own rights under German law," he said, giving PETA's lawsuit "little chance of succeeding".
German farmers remove approximately 20 million testicles from piglets each year. They have resisted the push to end castration without anesthesia for a variety of reasons and are seeking a viable alternative solution.
The farmers say there is currently a lack of workable alternatives to tackle boar taint – the offensive taste of pork products derived from non-castrated pigs once they reach puberty.
They claim that local anesthesia or gene editing are too expensive and would impact the cost of the pork in the country famous for its schnitzel and sausage.
Some German pork producers are pinning their hopes on a vaccine that requires just two injections to prevent boar taint -- already a popular alternative abroad, said the Yahoo News article.