Since its foundation, Sentience has been successfully engaged in social and political discourse and has established itself as an opinion builder. Our initiatives that continue to make the headlines, our uncompromising messages and our pragmatic solutions have already made their mark in Swiss politics and in the legislature.

Factory farming pilloried

Since Sentience launched its Initiative to abolish factory farming in 2018, the topic has become part of the national discourse. Political parties, retailers and federal agencies have all had to take a stance on the question of the future of Swiss animal husbandry. This initiative definitely touched a nerve in the general population and catapulted the long-neglected topic into the political arena. Even the foreign media are following the discussion with bated breath and keeping a close eye on the impact of the debate in Switzerland.

In the meantime, the initiative has won large numbers of supporters from diverse political persuasions, specialist areas and geographical locations. Importantly, the initiative has three organizing partners in the form of Fondation Franz Weber, Four Paws and Greenpeace Switzerland. We are therefore confident that the majority of Swiss voters recognise the urgency of this topic and will ensure that the initiative will enjoy resounding success in the popular vote.

Precedent for animal rights

16 September 2020 was a monumental day in Swiss history. It was the day when the federal court decided that a popular vote on the basic rights for non-human animals is constitutional. This decision paves the way for the population in the canton of Basel-Stadt to vote on basic rights for non-human animals on 13 February 2022. In specific terms, this concerns not just the right to life but also the right to physical and mental integrity.

During the course of the referendum campaign many supporters have joined the cause. As well as the leading expert in primate research worldwide, Dr Jane Goodall, personalities such as the philosophy professor Dr Markus Wild, animal rights expert Dr Charlotte Blattner, as well as numerous representatives of different parties support our cause. In addition, we have the active support of organisations such as Four Paws, the Stiftung für das Tier im Recht, Animal Rights Switzerland and Tier im Fokus.

Impact on the national discourse

Although a few years ago our name meant nothing to most of the experts in the areas of animal protection and agriculture, Sentience is now considered by many to be an important stakeholder in the discussion surrounding agricultural policy. With our regular hard-hitting messages, active discourse with various organisations and parties, as well as headline-making campaigns, we have become a force to be reckoned with in Swiss agricultural policy.

In addition, Sentience is committed to strengthening the discussion about animal protection and ethics in society as a whole. With this aim in mind, we organise public talks and discussion on an ongoing basis with high-profile guests, dealing with topics such as the eradication of factory farming, the failure of the Swiss environmental aims, and developments in the area of human/animal relationships. Our events have even garnered attention in the agricultural media.