TIR demands an import ban on products obtained by cruelty to animals - Council of States rejects proposal
Today, the Council of States rejected the proposal of National Council member Matthias Aebischer (from the SP party/Berne) for an import ban on products obtained by cruelty to animals by 37 to 4 votes. The Stiftung für das Tier im Recht (TIR) is deeply disappointed that so little emphasis is put on animal welfare.
November 29, 2017
Nonetheless, the Council of States rejected the proposal by 37 to 4 votes for fear of economic consequences which it deems too serious for the affected industries. According to the Council, it is also unclear whether such a regulation would significantly improve the welfare of animals. Furthermore, it believes that monitoring production methods abroad and the imports into Switzerland would be neither feasible nor effective. However, the Council of States has apparently recognized that there is indeed need for action and while rejecting Aebischer's proposal it introduced an obligation to declare food products.
Unfortunately, this declaration requirement relates exclusively to edibles, while, for instance, reptile skins, down obtained from live plucking, or growth promoting substances for pig fattening are excluded from it. Moreover, this once again shifts responsibility to the consumers who as a result are subject to excessive demands and are expected to choose what products to buy in the midst of a "label jungle" consisting of an increasing number of positive and negative declarations which are largely euphemistic in nature. The declaration requirement clearly fails to adequately address the problem because it does not prevent products obtained from animal cruelty from being sold and traded in Switzerland. An import ban, on the other hand, would have benefited animals directly
A legal analysis by TIR showed that a ban on the import of fur obtained by cruelty to animals complies both with the rules of the WTO and with Switzerland's obligations towards its trading partners. TIR considers that the exemption provided for in the WTO is applicable to various other products obtained by animal cruelty.
Switzerland could have sent a strong international signal had it imposed an import ban. In its letter of November 22, 2017, Alliance Animale Suisse called on the Council of States to face the facts and take into account our responsibility for the future, the animals, and one's own conscience when considering the economic aspects.
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