Legal… Anonymity protection maintained until the end !




Anonymity protection maintained until the end !


By Selena Beschle, Attorney at Law, Pachmann Law Firm, Zurich, Switzerland





Animals have a special place in the Swiss legal system.


In the Criminal Code, for example, art. 110 states that a provision which refers to the concept of a thing also applies to animals.


In the past, the Civil Code also expressly treated animals as objects.


However, some animal lovers were offended by this and today the legislator expressly states that animals are not things. This paragraph was presumably included in the Civil Code more to calm the mind, because just one paragraph further on you can read that, as long as no special provisions apply to animals, the same rules apply as for things.


So, remember: animals are not things, but are treated like things!


But not by our Federal Court.


In its ruling of 13 March 2020 (2C_878/2019), the Federal Court also takes the protection of the anonymity of pigs very seriously. Our highest judicial instance does not neglect to make the names of pigs anonymous.


This order concerns the owner and keeper of pig B, born on 23 May 2017, and three of his sisters. He (pig B) was clinically and neurologically examined by the Department of Pig Medicine of the University of Zurich and the owner was advised to have pig B euthanized. When the owner did not comply with this request and instead brought B back to his farm, together with his sisters, to have him operated on later, the euthanasia was ordered by the veterinary office.


The owner fought for pig B up to the Federal Court, but the proceedings had to be written off because they became without object, as pig B had died unexpectedly at the end of February 2020.


In the end, therefore, the Swiss courts and tribunals fought over Pig B in vain, but its protection of anonymity was preserved until the end!


Pachmann Law Firm website: ‘’