Written by PETA
In the small Swiss village of Reconvilier, two things are certain: death and taxes—especially if you're a dog. Citing a law dating to 1904, town leaders are telling dog guardians that if they don't pay their annual pet taxes, officials may kill their dogs.
Reconvilier official Pierre-Alain Nemitz says that the town wants to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes. He said the move is intended to "put pressure on people who don't cooperate."
And you thought the IRS was bad!
Written by Michelle Sherrow
The Alps. Chocolate. Here's another reason to love la Suisse: Swiss laws already make it illegal to keep fish or any other naturally social animals isolated from others of their own species (no more lonely fish in bowls); require farmers to let horses and cattle out for exercise in winter; and require citizens to make sure that their companion dogs get exercise. And each year in Zurich, a government-paid "animal lawyer" represents between 150 and 200 animals whose rights have been violated in some way. Cases range from a woman with 149 cats to an incident involving an angler who kept a fish dangling on the line for too long.
So it's no surprise that last weekend, 30 percent of Swiss citizens voted in favor of a referendum to expand Zurich's groundbreaking approach to animal protection to the entire country. Although the referendum didn't pass, the vote brought international attention to the importance of expanding and enforcing legal protections for animals. Swiss Animal Protection—the country's largest animal rights organization—has already taken this opportunity to urge officials to step up their enforcement of the country's stringent animal-welfare laws and new Animal Welfare Act.
If you could pass an animal protection law in your state, what would it be?
Written by Logan Scherer
George and Weezie Jefferson may have moved up, but I'm jonesing to move out. My destination: Switzerland, which just might become the most animal-friendly nation in the world.
Last year, Switzerland passed a law that guarantees rights for all animals. Next month, voters will weigh in on a referendum that, if passed, will require that lawyers be assigned to protect companion and farmed animals from abuse.
I can only imagine the relief if such legislation caught on in the U.S. (and how much Judge Judy I'd wind up watching). Goldfish could be rescued from their scum-caked tanks. Lonely, cold dogs banished to back yards could enjoy warmth and companionship inside. Pigs, chickens, cows, ducks—any and all factory-farmed animals—might never again have their body parts burned or chopped off, and they'd be freed from their filthy cages, crates, and pens. Those examples are just off the top of my head. Jot yours down in the comments section below.
Written by Karin Bennett
It's official in Switzerland at least, where, under a new federal law, failure to provide any "social" animals contact with others of their own kind will be legally defined as abuse. Better yet, the law requires training for prospective dog guardians and sets some common-sense guidelines regarding living conditions for many other animals, including animals on farms.
Of course, there's still room for improvement. No word yet on how the Swiss are going to square this law with the country's appalling cat-skinning trade, which has largely been ignored by authorities. The new regulations also require anglers to learn how to kill fish humanely. While it's encouraging that they're recognizing that fish are social animals, as a former fishing-contest winner, I know that the chances of finding a "humane" way to violently rip these animals from their environment to suffocate to death isn't bloody likely (though it is likely bloody).
Still, this new law is definitely a step in the right direction. It should be recognized and applauded, even while we keep up our efforts to bring about further reforms. Swiss chard for everyone!
You might be surprised to learn about Switzerland's involvement in the cat-fur industry. Switzerland is the only country in Western Europe that still legally allows cats to be hunted for their fur. Swiss law even states that cats that wander 200 yards or more away from their homes can legally be killed—and their fur can be made into jackets, coats, and bed blankets.
It's really no coincidence that most people don't know about Switzerland's cat-fur trade. If you were to step inside a fur store in Switzerland and raise questions about cat fur, chances are the store would deny any involvement or pretend it does not know anything about the industry.
But undercover investigations conducted by television crews last year exposed Switzerland's cat-fur trade. And caught on film were the same tanners and furriers who, when questioned, denied any involvement. You can read the details here.
The footage caught on film from hidden cameras caused an uproar from Swiss citizens and animal rights groups. Longtime animal rights advocate Brigitte Bardot has thrown her support to the cause, and SOS Chats—Switzerland's pro-cat lobby—is now working to ban the cat-fur trade and cat hunting.
Ironically enough, Switzerland actually banned all cat-fur imports from other countries in 2006 because of concerns about the animals' treatment during slaughter—a move that is proving to be as useless as the cat- and dog-fur ban that the European Union will be adopting later this year.
It's a little hard to be neutral when you're contributing to this, Switzerland. Don't you think?
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.