About us

Team of the German Animal Welfare Federation
© M. Marten

The German Animal Welfare Federation was founded in 1881 as the umbrella organisation for animal welfare associations and animal shelters in Germany. Today, its affiliates include 16 regional associations and more than 740 local animal welfare associations with over 550 animal shelters /rescue stations. This makes the German Animal Welfare Federation Europe’s largest umbrella organisation for animal and nature protection. It represents the interests of 800,000 organised animal welfare activists.

Tasks and objectives

Every fellow creature has the right to physical integrity and a species-appropriate life. Our aim is to achieve this objective for all animals – in the economy, in research, in private households and wherever animals are handled by people.

People are responsible for the animals they are in charge of – be it in an agricultural, scientific or industrial context, in a private household or in interventions in nature. Our aim is to protect animals in their natural habitats. Animal welfare, nature conservation and species protection are inextricably linked in our view.

Practical commitment for the benefit of all animals and promotion of animal and nature conservation are central tasks of the German Animal Welfare Federation.

How we work

We want to prevent animals from suffering. This simple sentence often raises a whole range of questions which need to be answered. Are the animals really suffering? And why? Who is causing the suffering? And what needs to be done to improve their situation? Do economic reasons, conflicts of interest in society or the wishes of individual citizens stand in the way of animal protection? Can we change these with pressure from the public, by changing the political framework and/or by raising public awareness?

We examine these questions in detail and derive our activities from our findings. Our experts in the Academy for the Protection of Animals (Akademie für Tierschutz) work to establish the scientific basis that underlies our further actions.

Unfortunately, general demands for animal suffering to stop are rarely immediately successful. So we use pilot projects to demonstrate that it is possible to keep and look after animals according to their needs and to address scientific issues without resorting to animal experiments. Especially in livestock farming, there is often a major conflict between economic interests and circumstances and the needs of the animals.

Our scientists and political leaders are working together to resolve such conflicts of goals. In our federal office, the results of our investigations and activities are processed for the public, media and other supporters.


As an umbrella organisation, the German Animal Welfare Federation receives membership fees from its affiliated regional associations. For animal welfare associations and corporate members, the fee is 55 euros for every 100 members or part thereof. The fee is so low because most animal welfare associations are in dire need of money for their own animal protection work and especially for temporary housing and care for animals in need, whether in the association’s own premises or in private homes. The German Animal Welfare Federation is therefore by no means as financially strong as might be concluded from its large membership.

This is why we urgently need the support of loyal members and animal lovers remembering the German Animal Welfare Federation in their wills, to help us maintain our annual budget for campaigns and public relations, participation in committees and our advisory and information activities. Every donation helps us in our commitment to protect animals.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Account for donations
Sparkasse KölnBonn
sort code 370 501 98
account no. 40 444

Donations are tax-deductible.
Recognised non-profit status.

You also have the option of using the online donation form.