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This study aims to identify determinants of animal protection policies. Based on a review of relevant literature and borrowing concepts from environmental policy research, we suggest three broad factors to be positively related with stricter animal protection policies: economic development, democracy, and civil society. To test the influences of these factors, we estimate an ordered logistic regression model to explain policy variations between 48 countries. As dependent variable we use the Animal Protection Index, a country ranking based on policy strictness. As independent variables we use GDP per capita, Polity Score, Civic Activism Index, and number of animal protection organizations. Results suggest that countries with stronger democratic institutions and more civil society groups focused on animal protection are likely to have stricter animal protection policies. For economic development and broad civil society strength we do not find significant effects.  Our analysis broadens the basis for future research of more detailed policy determinants and cross-country differences in animal protection.