Swiss Spotlight Animal Rights
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