Switzerland is a party to many international conventions that directly or indirectly affect animals. Some agreements are limited to the international trade in animals, such as the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). There are also other conventions on species conservation, such as the Bonn Convention, which aims at the conservation of migratory animals, or the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. Animals cannot choose in which country they want to live or where they are kept, making their protection a cross-border task.
Like most legal fields, animal welfare law is becoming increasingly globalized. Special mention should be made of the five animal welfare conventions of the Council of Europe, all of which have been ratified by Switzerland and incorporated into national law. The individual conventions relate to the welfare of animals during transport, the protection of farm animals, animals for slaughter, laboratory animals, or companion animals. However, the various animal welfare acts issued under EU Community law are not directly applicable. Nevertheless, Switzerland has committed to the partial adoption of EU law through international agreements.
Below are a number of the most important international conventions governing the protection of animals: