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What a triumph for 2016!

  •         animals have intrinsic value as individuals

  •         animals are sentient beings capable of suffering and experiencing pain

  •         guardianship of the interests of animals reflects constitutional values and the interests of society at large

  •         animal protection safeguards the moral status of humans and the degeneration of human values

In a judgement handed down in the Constitutional

Court on Thursday 8th December 2016

all 9 ConCourt judges  unanimously ruled that:

The Constitutional Court struck a chord of triumph for animals as well as human morality on Thursday, 8th December 2016, with the handing down of a unanimous judgment acknowledging that animals have intrinsic value as individuals.


In handing down judgment ConCourt Judge Sisi Khampepe, representing a full  bench of nine judges,  said:  “the rationale behind protecting animal welfare has shifted from merely safeguarding the moral status of humans, to placing intrinsic value on animals as individuals.”


She pointed to previous judgements which had ruled that the status of an animal as ‘property’ did not entitle the infliction of  suffering. While the objective of the Animals Protection Act had initially been to prohibit acts of cruelty that may offend finer sensibilities in society, it also served to prevent the “degeneration of human values”.

Judge Khampepe referred to other recent judgements including:

Constituional Court Judge Edwin Cameron’s  judgement which recognised that animals are worthy of protection…

  •          because of the reflection this has on human values

  •          because they “are sentient beings that are capable of suffering and experiencing pain”

  •          In addition, a unanimous High Court judgment had found that canned-hunting of lions was “abhorrent and repulsive” 

Yesterday’s  judgement concluded a six-year court battle by the NSPCA for the right to institute a private  prosecution in the event of the National Prosecuting Authority declining to prosecute in any particular case.


Judge Khampepe said the “laudable”  guardianship of the interests of animals reflected constitutional values and the interests of society at large. Granting relief in favour of the NSPCA would enable the organisation “to continue with its important work free of legal impediment.”


The ConCourt Judges who took this historic step forward for justice are:

Judges Nkabinde, Cameron, Froneman, Jafta, Khampepe, Madlanga, Mhlantla, Musi and Zondo.

We thank them!

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