TIR supports the (anti) factory farming initiative
The popular initiative "End factory farming in Switzerland (Massentierhaltungsinitiative)", launched by an association called Sentience Politics and supported by numerous organizations, was launched in Bern on June 12, 2018. The Stiftung für das Tier im Recht (TIR) supports the initiative's request to abolish factory farming in Switzerland.
June 21, 2018
On June 12, 2018, animal welfare, animal rights and environmental organizations gathered at the Waisenhausplatz in Bern to launch the initiative calling for the abolition of factory farming in Switzerland. Representatives of various organizations like Tier im Fokus (TIF), die Grüne Partei Schweiz (Switzerland's green party), Greenpeace and Fondation Franz Weber delivered speeches on the topic.
The popular initiative demands that the dignity of animals be consistently protected in agricultural animal husbandry which ultimately means that they are entitled to a life free from the confinement and further consequences of factory farming. The initiators define factory farming as industrial animal husbandry that is aimed at highly efficient production of animal goods and whereby animals are systematically violated in their wellbeing. Systematic violation of the animals' wellbeing means, for example, keeping animals in large groups in confined spaces, altering their appearance in order to keep and use them in the most economical way possible (e.g. dehorning of cattle), disregarding scientific findings on the physiological and ethological needs of animals (e.g., insufficient freedom of movement), or violating the physical and psychological integrity of animals in some other way (e.g., separation of calves from cows after birth in the milk industry).
Contrary to popular belief, factory farming is actually widespread practice in Switzerland. More and more small farms are closing and making way for a smaller number of large-scale industrial farms with higher animal populations. Advertisements depict an idyllic world of free-roaming and grazing cows, content chickens pecking away outdoors and happy pigs wallowing in mud. However, these images are far from the truth and misleading to consumers. For example, the law does not require farmers to let their animals outside on a daily basis and most farm animals in Switzerland spend most of their lives inside.
Switzerland has one of the strictest and most progressive animal welfare laws in the world; in particular, the protection of animal dignity is enshrined at both constitutional and legislative level. In practice and especially in agricultural animal husbandry, however, this protection becomes an empty shell due to the commercially motivated and therefore systemic violations of animal welfare. The animals' most basic needs are neglected on factory farms in the name of commercial interests. Animals are treated as inanimate objects, a fact reflected in particular in the shredding of day-old male chicks (cf. TIR Information Flyer No. 40 "Insufficient legal protection for chickens"). The Animal Welfare Ordinance permits chick shredding, although it is not compatible with the constitutional and statutory protection of animal dignity and constitutes an act of animal cruelty as defined in article 26 of the Animal Welfare Act. This contradiction between the legislative and executive levels of lawmaking is untenable.
TIR therefore welcomes the demands of the popular initiative because it seeks to resolve this discrepancy between the protection of animal dignity and legalized systematic disregard for the welfare of animals. If the initiative is adopted, it will be made absolutely clear that factory farming or the practices associated with this form of husbandry that are already incompatible with the protection of animal dignity today (such as dehorning of cattle, chick shredding, the denial of social bonds, confinement, separation of cows and calves, genetic alterations of animals to speed up growth accompanied by physical and psychological damage, etc.) must no longer be permitted or are to be banned.
Here you will find further information on the initiative against factory farming (in German) and can also print out the signature sheet. Thank you very much for your support!