Review of Summer Session 2022
Council of States prevents change of direction on fur imports
In the summer session of 2022, a number of votes affecting non-human animals took place in the National Council and the Council of States. We were particularly pleased that the motion «No tail-coupling without anaesthesia» by Green National Councillor Meret Schneider, in which Sentience played a leading role, was adopted in the Council of States. Viewed as a whole, however, the session was marked by problematic decisions. The most prominent example is the rejection by the Council of States of the Aebischer motion, which sought to restrict the import of fur products produced in a cruel manner. Hopes were high that the motion would be adopted, after it had initially been successful in the National Council. Below you will find a detailed overview of the summer session.
Procedural requests considered
No tail-coupling without anaesthesiaMeret Schneider, Green Party
After the National Council adopted the motion drafted by Sentience in the middle of last year, it was also approved by the Council of States. This will put an end to the practice of shortening the tails of lambs without anaesthesia until they are seven days old. This practice is a relic from a time when it was still assumed that young animals of numerous species are insensitive to pain. It is now clear that this assumption is wrong. The legal situation is being adapted to the current state of knowledge.
Better conditions for meat substitutesKilian Baumann, Green Party
The aim of Kilian Baumann’s motion was to promote innovation and sales of meat substitutes. Baumann correctly cited the advantages of meat substitutes in terms of health and environmental protection as justification. Nevertheless, the National Council decided otherwise. It rejected the motion by 109 to 78 votes with 2 abstentions.
Import ban on fur products produced in a cruel wayMatthias Aebischer, Social Democratic Party
After a long wait, the time had finally come. The Council of States dealt with the Aebischer motion calling for a ban on imports of fur products produced in ways that would be considered animal cruelty. After the motion was accepted in the National Council with a good result, the Council of States decided to reject the motion. We consider this a grotesque decision. The foreign fur industry causes unbelievable suffering in hunting and on fur farms. In many cases, these would be illegal under current Swiss animal protection law. The Council of States could not bring itself to put a stop to the import of these products. Without an explicit import ban on products like these, Switzerland is supporting animal cruelty.
Prohibition of import and transit: Hunting trophies derived from animals listed in Annexes I to III of the CITES ConventionIsabelle Chevalley, Green Liberal Party
Bad news from the Council of States: The committee could not bring itself to restrict the import of hunting trophies. The motion of former GLP National Councillor Isabelle Chevalley was intended to ban the import and transit of hunting trophies from animals listed in Appendices I to III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This includes, for example, the African elephant, which is hunted for its tusks. The suffering caused by the hunting of these wild animals is considerable. The fact that Switzerland failed to take minimal measures to put a stop to this practice is disappointing and shameful.
Introduce a «franc for the horns» as an animal welfare contributionRoberto Zanetti, Social Democratic Party
The Council of Statesadopted the motion by Roberto Zanetti for financial support to leave horns on horn-bearing animals. The practice of dehorning cows is widespread in the dairy and meat industries. According to current data, an estimated 73% of cows in the dairy industry have had their horns removed. In this procedure, calves have their horns burnt out after local analgesia. The procedure is stressful and can lead to changes in the animals’ behaviour.
Sleeping on straw for pigsMeret Schneider, Green Party
This motion by the Green National Councillor Meret Schneider aimed to grantall pigs access to a bedded lying area. Currently, one third of the pigs in Switzerland spend their lives on concrete and plastic mat floors. The National Council rejected this motion with 86 votes in favour and 100 against. The bedding would have significantly improved the quality of life of the pigs. Bedding is good for the animals’ hygiene and gives them the opportunity to act out behavioural patterns such as exploring and playing. This rejection confirms once again that we need the initiative against factory farming. It includes the demand for bedding for all animals and would represent an enormous step forward for animal welfare in Switzerland.
New procedural requests
How can we reduce the breeding and killing of laboratory animals?Maya Graf, Green Party
This postulate addresses an important problem: Significantly more animals are bred and killed for animal experiments than are actually necessary. This is because when genetically modified animals (for example, mice or fish) are bred, not all of them have the appropriate sex or genetic mutation for the experiment. These ‘surplus’ animals are then killed with CO2 and disposed of. About 80% of all genetically modified mice meet this fate; for fish, the figure is as high as 95%. There is an urgent need for action here. The 3R principle (Refine, Reduce, Replace) must be implemented consistently; in our opinion, not only in research, but also in agriculture.
Other important procedural requests
- Rodenticides: What about the use of anticoagulants and what are the alternatives? – Léonore Porchet, Green Party (Learn more)
- No incentives for overproduction in the egg market – Meret Schneider, Green Party (Learn more)
- Examine alternatives to piglet castration with lsoflurane – Martina Munz, Social Democratic Party (Learn more)
- No destruction of consumable meat products in the retail trade! – Meret Schneider, Green Party (Learn more)
- Obligation to declare and customs restrictions for meat from animal transports from abroad lasting several days – Meret Schneider, Green Party (Learn more)