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Food Ethics

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 235–245 | Cite as

Veterinary Medicine and Animal Welfare Discourses in the Third Reich

  • Mieke Roscher
Research Article
  • 389 Downloads

Abstract

After the National Socialists assumed power in 1933, their ideas on animal welfare gained a foothold in veterinary organizations. Moreover, veterinary authorities as well as practitioners themselves influenced and shaped this particular form of animal welfare, which departed from frameworks such as those offered by the animal protection movement. Not only did leading figures of the profession commit themselves to work in animal welfare organizations, they were also complicit in helping with the ideological purges that followed the “Gleichschaltung,” which forced the more radical elements of the animal protection movement into line with Nazi ideology. Drawing on a discourse analysis of the leading weeklies of the veterinary profession and the major animal welfare journals of the time, this paper analyses overlapping discourses on the meaning of animal welfare and how these discourses were integrated in the National Socialist leitmotivs of national wealth and the nationalist concept of a folk community. It also considers how the veterinary profession’s to be the sole “advocate and helper of animals” affected the relationship between the animal protection movement and veterinary institutions.

Keywords

National Socialism Animal protection movement Veterinary institutions Animal welfare legislation Volksgemeinschaft 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.History DepartmentUniversity of KasselKasselGermany

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