The Ghosts In Our Machine

Antoine F. Goetschel

“I am pleased to support THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE, an important project that addresses the issue of animals as sentient beings and in their dignity.  In Switzerland, the dignity of animals is protected by both the Swiss Constitution and Swiss Animal Welfare legislation. I worked for three years in a unique position as the official “Animal Welfare Attorney” in the Swiss Canton of Zurich, where I defended animals in criminal procedures against animal abusers.  In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, animals are no longer treated as goods; rather they have their own specific legal category that situates them between product and human being. Politicians can be persuaded to do good for animals when animal welfarists are able to show not only the problems, but also the solutions. Visionary concepts of animals in relation to law are to be taken much more seriously in the USA, Canada and worldwide. Legislation is key in governing human-animal relationship, with legal implications for people who do not share our concept of animal-friendly behavior. In order for laws that favor animals to be enforced, the co-operation between law schools and animal law specialists worldwide is needed; and this needs to be strategically pushed. All these concepts and various others should be applied globally to do good for animals everywhere.”

Antoine F. Goetschel
Animal Welfare Attorney
Founder, Animal In The Law
Partner, Hoeschgasse Consultants, Zurich
Photo courtesy of Nicole Boekhaus

Born in 1958 in Zurich, Switzerland, my studies focused on animal legislation and ethics worldwide, receiving my doctorate on animal-welfare law and fundamental rights in1989. I then published 12 books and more than fifty articles on animals in relation to Swiss, German, and European law, as well as on animal law globally. I created the Foundation for the Animal in the Law in Zurich (which I left in 2010), which holds the biggest library on animal legislation and ethics in German speaking Europe, in addition to every public court decision on animal welfare cases. I compared more than 30 legislations in relation to animals and the law, gave lectures at Zurich Law School and just published “Tiere klagen an” (Scherz Verlag, Germany) about my three years (2007 to 2010) as the official “Animal welfare attorney” of the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland, where I represented the interests of animals in criminal cases as a public official and had unfettered access to investigations and court and was also able to exercise rights of appeal. I am a partner at the Consultancy Network Hoeschgasse Consultant as an attorney, executor of wills and as an International Animal Law and Ethics Consultants ( and still interested in animal welfare law and ethics. I have more than 25 years of experience with politicians, animal welfare organizations, law professors, journalists and animal rights activists, farmers and researchers.


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