Swiss Say No to Lawyers For Animals

But the laws it already has were enough, with Swiss soundly rejecting the plan to appoint special lawyers for animals that are abused by humans.

Official results showed that 70.5 per cent of voters cast their ballot against the proposal to extend nationwide a system that has been in place in Zurich since 1992. Some 29.5 per cent of voters backed the proposal, with officials putting the turnout at just over 45 per cent…

Under laws revised in 2008, people wanting to get rid of a fish cannot flush it down a toilet bowl alive. It must be knocked out, killed and then its body disposed of.

Sociable household pets such as budgies and hamsters cannot be left alone. Even sheep and goats must have at least a “visual contact with their fellows”.

It’s the Law

In 2008, Switzerland enacted one of the most stringent animal welfare laws in the world. Some examples of the rules include:

Pet owners may not crop the tails of dogs or use sandpaper to line the bottom of a birdcage.

Puppies may not be separated from their mothers before they are 56 days old.

Birdcages must have horizontal bars so that the birds can climb.

Horses must not be tied up and must be kept in close enough proximity to other horses to be able to see, hear and smell them.

Hamsters must be kept in groups; ideally, owners should keep two or more females with one neutered male. Keeping only female hamsters is discouraged as they tend to fight without the presence of a male.

Similarly, owners of parakeets must keep at least two of them. It is preferable to have even numbers of the birds, as they tend to fight if kept in odd numbers.

Using choke collars on dogs is forbidden.

Cats must have contact with humans each day. If that is not possible, they must have contact with other cats.

Source: Swiss Ordinance on the Protection of Animals of 2008

Last month, Antoine Goetschel went to court here in defense of an unusual client: a 22-pound pike that had fought a fisherman for 10 minutes before surrendering.

Mr. Goetschel is the* official animal lawyer for the Swiss canton of Zurich, a sort of public defender* who represents the interests of pets, farm animals and wildlife. He wound up with the pike as a client when animal-welfare groups filed a complaint alleging animal cruelty in the fish’s epic battle with an amateur angler…

The case revolved around the idea that the pike suffered excessively because of how long it took for the angler to reel it in. Mr. Goetschel lost the case last month, but is considering an appeal. Any further court action would come too late for the pike, which has been eaten.

The Swiss have assisted suicide.:rolleyes:

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