All cases were closed with fines, while not a single
prison sentence was imposed. In light of the statutory range of
punishment and the suffering resulting from the criminal acts in
question, these sentences are still disproportionately low.
As part of this year's analysis of the Swiss penal practice, the legal provisions on the protection of poultry and their enforcement were examined in detail. The focus was on poultry husbandry. It turns out that there are hardly any animal welfare regulations on keeping poultry and that economic interests are generally weighted more heavily than animal welfare.
However, there are considerable shortcomings not only at a legal level but also in the enforcement of the current criminal provisions. For example, there are very few criminal proceedings dealing with offenses against poultry - in the last ten years, the proportion of cases involving poultry was only 1.6 % of the case material - which is astounding, especially in view of the huge number of chickens kept in Switzerland. It is also notable that of the few cases recorded in the TIR database none involve factory farms, despite them being particularly problematic from an animal welfare perspective. As a result, offenses against chickens continue to receive little attention.
In conclusion, there is still significant room for improvement in the enforcement of animal welfare law. It is absolutely unacceptable that binding legal provisions are ignored on a regular basis and animal welfare-related offenses are either not prosecuted at all or the sentences imposed are far too mild. In a list of demands, TIR has specified the eight most important postulates for an effective animal welfare-related penal practice.
The matter was covered extensively in the media. The list of print, radio, TV and online reports can be found under the German version of this news release.