Anette Fjeld, the lawyer representing the NKK, the breed clubs and the breeders, spent most of the day making her opening speech. The NSPA’s lawyer, Emanuel Feinberg, began his opening speech and will finish it Tuesday.

Much of Anette Fjeld’s opening speech was about legal aspects of the lawsuit, and the relationship between the court and the public administration. She said in her statement that the NSPA’s lawsuit against the NKK gives the impression of being a legal action brought at an abstract level. It is unclear what the NSPA hopes to achieve, she continued, other than a judgement that can be used as leverage with politicians and Parliament. She stressed that section 25 of the Animal Welfare Act, which is what Oslo District Court found that the NKK had violated, is an enabling provision that needs to be supplemented with delegated legislation. It is not a rights provision that can be strictly enforced in the courts. Anette Fjeld said that the court should show restraint when trying this case, and that the courts cannot act on behalf of the administration and decide a case on its merits.

Anette Fjeld went on to explain that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority is working on a dog breeding regulation, and that the current draft does not include a proposal to forbid any breeds. She also mentioned that after being alerted by the NSPA, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has conducted 17 inspections of breeders, without finding it necessary to issue orders of any kind.

Assistant lawyer Eirik Bergsjø talked the court through some of the main problems affecting the two breeds in question, the various diagnoses, and the breeding measures that have been implemented. He pointed out that experts consider there is sufficient genetic variation in these breeds for health progress to be made through planned and selective breeding.
Anette Fjeld then concluded by summarising the appellants’ arguments:

  • the lawsuit is strategic
  • section 25 of the Animal Welfare Act is not a substantial rights provision
  • the court must show restraint, and not act on behalf of the administration and decide the case on its merits

Emanuel Freiberg, representing the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals, chose to spend the first hour of his opening speech focusing on the legal aspects. He said that the judgement delivered by Oslo District Court had thoroughly clarified the facts of the case, and that the NSPA does not consider section 25 to be enabling legislation. He made the NSPA’s demands clear: that the breeders and clubs must acknowledge that such breeding is in violation of the law and must cease. He also emphasised that there was no reason to wait for the Norwegian Food Safety Authority regulation. 

Freiberg will finish his opening speech tomorrow. The parties bringing the appeal will then start to give their statements. The Norwegian Kennel Club, the Norwegian Bulldog Club and the Norwegian Cavalier Club will go first. Breeders Lena Haugland and Liv Anne Klubben will also make a statement.