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What is the state of animal welfare politics in Germany?

Discover within the comprehensive Animal Policy Barometer 2023 

Exciting results on animal policy in Germany

In the most comprehensive, representative survey on animal policy in Germany to date, carried out in collaboration with the Sinus Institute, Animal Society was able to gain comprehensive insights into the attitudes and expectations of citizens regarding animal welfare and politics in Germany.

The Animal Policy Barometer is the second survey of its kind. The first took place in August 2021 and was published in January 2022. The aim is to understand citizens’ expectations of animal welfare and politics and to derive action strategies for the animal movement and implications for politics.

We are now sharing the results with everyone and look forward to their active dissemination and use: whether for campaign planning, media work, in-depth research, social media, articles and essays or to approach decision-makers.


Key questions at a glance

Is animal welfare an important issue for the population?

For the vast majority of the population, animal welfare is an important concern (72%), almost as important as climate change/energy transition (73%) and the rise of right-wing extremism in Germany (75%). However, it is not one of the most important issues – these tend to relate more to inflation, social inequality and pension insecurity. Animal welfare ranks in the lower midfield compared to other current concerns and problems of the population, albeit in times of multiple crises.

Which population groups are particularly concerned about animal suffering?

According to milieus

Animal welfare is an important issue for all milieus. It occupies a central position in the high-income milieus, but is hardly less important in the lower-class milieus with fewer resources.

According to other groups

Regardless of categories such as gender, age, education or political affiliation, there is a majority recognition that animal suffering is a significant problem.

This awereness is least pronounced among:

  • Men,
  • People between 30 and 40 years old
  • Supporters of the AfD (extreme right)

The greatest commitment to animals is shown by:

  • Women,
  • People in their 50s and
  • Supporters of the Animal Protection Party (self-explanatory) or the radical Left Party.

Which animal welfare measures does the public consider to be particularly useful?

Two questions in particular are useful for determining the importance and preferences of animal welfare measures. Question 10 is: “Which of the following measures do you support to promote animal welfare?” Question 12 asked about agreement to certain statements.

With the help of these questions, the various proposals can be divided into four groups, which are more or less sorted according to their popularity.

1. legal measures

The first group focuses on improving the Animal Welfare Act and the consistent implementation of existing animal welfare legislation (monitoring and enforcement, strengthening animal welfare legislation, setting and maintaining higher standards in animal husbandry).

This group is mainly concerned with legal aspects and undoubtedly enjoys the greatest support, particularly with regard to the need for more effective enforcement and strengthening of existing animal welfare legislation.

2. expansion of institutions for animals

42% of respondents consider the expansion of institutions to be an important animal welfare measure. This measure is roughly in the middle of our proposals. However, there is a high level of approval for the establishment of a federal animal welfare ministry (64%), and respondents’ demand for animal welfare officers in each federal state is even stronger (81%).

It is important to note that the improvement of animal welfare law and its enforcement is closely linked to the strengthening of institutions for animals.

3. Labeling, consumer protection and advertising

The third group focuses on individual consumption: transparency for consumers, labeling or advertising. Measures that create transparency for consumers enjoy a certain popularity overall.

Clear labeling of farming methods on packaging is supported by 45%, as is the regulation of advertising for meat and dairy products. Less popular, but still supported by at least 29% of the population, are photos of animals in the corresponding husbandry systems on packaging.

4. Reduction of the number of exploited animals and consumption of meat

Measures to reduce meat consumption or animal numbers in order to tackle the societal problem of excessive meat consumption are proportionally less popular, but still received no small amount of support. In order of popularity:

  • The abolition of VAT on plant-based products is very well received with 64% in favor.
  • The development of better plant-based alternatives to animal products receives 57% approval. Exemplary is the federal government fund of EUR 38 million for 2024 to promote alternative protein sources.
  • Reducing the number of animals by introducing an animal welfare tax is not the most preferred measure, but it is supported by at least 20% of the population.

The abolition of VAT on plant-based food is supported by a large majority, particularly from post-material and precarious milieus. This applies above all to women (70%), but also to the majority of men (57%).

The introduction of an animal welfare tax and the reduction of animal numbers are the least popular measures. It should be noted that these steps are also the least present in public perception or discourse. This does not necessarily mean that respondents are fundamentally opposed to them. Rather, these measures could be novel and less supported by the movement or the media.

Note: The data we have is based on two different questions that have a long list of possible answers. These answers may therefore have competed with each other. If each question had been asked separately, the results would probably have been higher. Nevertheless, they are extremely useful for comparing the popularity of measures.

What role does animal ethics play in voting decisions?

Animal ethics influence voting decisions if it is clearly recognizable which candidate is positively or negatively committed to animals. This is because 62% of citizens would vote for a candidate who gives political importance to animal ethics, while 78% would not vote for a candidate who acts against animal rights.

Compared to the previous assessment of relative importance, it can be seen here that men do not score as poorly as women with regard to animal ethics. Instead, this issue becomes more important for voting decisions among Green voters and with increasing levels of education.

Do citizens think that animals are sufficiently represented politically?

One thing is clear: for almost 80% of citizens, the concerns and needs of animals are either not represented at all or not sufficiently represented in politics, while only 7% think that animals are sufficiently represented politically.

The approval ratings for animal welfare officers in all federal states are very high (81%), as is the introduction of an animal welfare ministry (64%).

What is the general public’s opinion of state animal welfare officers?

The approval ratings are very high (81% in favor and only 10% against).

  • All genders (at least 71%)
  • Every age group (at least 79%)
  • Every educational level (at least 78%)
  • Any party preference (at least 75%)

Is there approval for a Federal Ministry for Animal Welfare?

The approval ratings are very high (64% in favor and only 24% against). The younger the respondents, the more support there was for an animal welfare ministry. Nevertheless, the same applies here: all age groups are in favor of such a ministry (18-29: 72%; 60-69: 53%)

Our recommendations

To politics:


  • The Animal Welfare Act urgently needs to be reformed and better enforced. There is a broad public demand for this
  • Germany should campaign for stricter animal welfare standards at EU level, also or precisely because a corresponding reform is currently being blocked by the Commission.
  • Animals must be better represented in politics, as almost 80% of citizens believe that their concerns are not sufficiently taken into account.

For animal (protection) representation:

  • Support for state animal welfare officers in all federal states (81%) and an animal welfare ministry (64%) is very high.
  • Political decision-makers should do more for animals, be it through personal representation by parliamentarians or by advocating the creation of new institutions for animal welfare representation.

For agricultural policy

  • Plant-based alternatives should be increasingly promoted
  • Animal husbandry labeling should be made clearer and more unambiguous.
  • The integration of realistic images of animals in appropriate husbandry systems on the packaging of products of animal origin is already supported by 29% of the population and should be further promoted.

To NGO and the animal movement

  • Political pressure should be maintained, especially with regard to coalition promises, as there is also support from the rest of the population that can be mobilized.
  • New demands against animal suffering, climate change and the waste of resources are supported by around 20% of the population and should be communicated more strongly.

To citizens

  • Show more political commitment to animals and communicate this clearly to decision-makers.
  • The desire to reduce animal suffering is clearly present among citizens and should be articulated politically, as 71% recognize that animals are part of our society.

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