… The government and a majority of parliament are calling on the people to reject the initiative… The initiative is also opposed by the business community, the Swiss Farmers' Union and almost all farmers' associations…
Swiss factory farming ban to be decided at the ballot box
Marie Vuilleumier, Swissinfo.ch (Switzerland)
July 29, 2022
On September 25, Swiss citizens will vote on a ban on intensive livestock farming. This is a sensitive issue in a country that is committed to agriculture and already has very strict animal welfare legislation.
What is it about?
Animal rights and animal welfare organisations have submitted a popular initiative to ban intensive livestock farming in Switzerland. But the government and parliament consider farm animals to be adequately protected under current legislation and are calling on voters to reject the initiative.
What exactly does the initiative call for?
The text of the initiative calls for the protection of the dignity of livestock and a ban on intensive farming to be enshrined in the Swiss constitution. It argues that in 25 years the welfare requirements for livestock and poultry should at least meet the criteria of the 2018 Bio Suisse standard.
Who launched the initiative?
The text was submitted by animal rights organisations, including the Franz Weber Foundation, and by Sentience Politics. This association based in German-speaking Switzerland brings together activists from civil society. It is behind a cantonal initiative in canton Basel-Stadt to recognise the fundamental rights of primates, which was rejected by 74% of voters last February. Sentience has also launched initiatives in several German-speaking cities to promote vegan food.
The initiative against intensive livestock farming is supported by Greenpeace, Bio Suisse, the Small Farmers' Association, the Swiss Animal Protection Society, Pro natura and the Greens.
How widespread is intensive livestock farming in Switzerland? …
How does Switzerland compare internationally? …
Who opposes the initiative against intensive livestock farming?
The government and a majority of parliament are calling on the people to reject the initiative. Right-wing and centre parties do not want to introduce new restrictions on livestock farming, given that the Swiss animal protection law is one of the strictest in the world. The initiative is also opposed by the business community, the Swiss Farmers' Union and almost all farmers' associations.
For opponents, animal welfare is already a top priority in Switzerland and the scale of livestock farming is limited. If the initiative succeeds, they fear many farms will be unable to expand and find themselves in great difficulty.
Opponents of the initiative also warn that production costs would rise and be passed on to consumers. Imports of meat and eggs could increase, which would encourage people to shop over the border. Furthermore, opponents argue that the application of Swiss standards to imported products would be impossible, as this would violate the nation's World Trade Organisation obligations.
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