German MPs aim for positive doggie vibes
A group of German MPs are trying to change parliamentary rules - so they can take their dogs into work with them. They're hoping some canine company could help make the atmosphere more constructive.
Around 15 of Germany's MPs have formally applied to parliamentary president Norbert Lammert to change the rules so they can bring their dogs, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Friday.
"A dog has a positive effect on its environment," said Heinz Paula, animal protection expert for the Social Democrat parliamentary party.
He said taking dogs into the Bundestag could act as a positive signal for others to follow.
It was not about having "dogs at the lectern" he said. "It's about how the conditions in which the herd animals are kept in their MP offices."
Anette Kramme, another MP for the SPD said her wish to bring her dog into the office was simply to make her working environment nicer. She said it was not as if the subject was high priority, but added: "It creates a positive atmosphere when a co-worker strokes the dog as they go past."
But her conservative colleague Franz-Joseph Holzenkamp from Angela Merkel's ruling Christian Democratic Union said he disagreed.
"This is the most absurd form of animal affection. Some colleagues obviously care more about animals than about people," he told the paper, suggesting that dogs would be followed by other pets. Before long the Bundestag would be full of cats and hamsters.
The German Association for Animal Protection has already organized an annual "bring your dog to work" day in the Bundestag. "Dogs are good for the work atmosphere," it said on its website.