TIR disappointed: Federal Council recommends rejection of Doris Fiala's parliamentary proposal to impose mandatory neutering of outdoor cats
In June 2018, the animal welfare organizations Network for Animal Protection – NetAP and the Stiftung für das Tier im Recht (TIR) submitted a petition calling for the introduction of mandatory neutering of outdoor cats with 115'000 signatures to parliament. In support of the request, National Council member Doris Fiala (FDP/ZH) presented a parliamentary proposal to impose mandatory neutering of outdoor cats on November 29, 2018. However, in its statement of February 20, the Federal Council recommended rejection of the proposal. TIR is disappointed with the position taken by the Federal Council and criticizes its statement.
Februar 22, 2019
Both organizations criticize in particular the argument put forward by the FSVO and the Federal Council that the neutering of outdoor cats would have no effect on the stray population. The number of stray cats living in Switzerland is between 100'000 and 300'000. One of the main reasons for this is that cat owners, including farmers, refuse to neuter their outdoor cats. These animals then breed with stray or other unneutered cats. The problem persists despite the fact that the Animal Welfare Ordinance (AWO) requires that animal owners do everything reasonably possible to prevent their animals from reproducing excessively (article 25 paragraph 4 of the AWO). However, it is nearly impossible to keep the mating behavior of outdoor cats under control.
Stray animals suffer terribly. Cats reproduce quickly and form large colonies, resulting in the rapid spread of diseases. Many animals die in pain because they do not receive medical care or starve due to lack of food.
This is why, from an animal welfare perspective, it is strongly advisable to refrain from keeping unneutered cats that are allowed to roam outdoors. Contrary to the opinion of the Federal Council and the FSVO, neutering is a proportionate measure to prevent further increase in stray populations, to reduce animal suffering, and to regulate the cat population in Switzerland sustainably. The current legislation is not enough.
In its report, the Federal Council further states that the cantons and municipalities would be forced to deploy considerable resources if the public authorities were tasked with neutering outdoor cats. NetAP and TIR highly criticize this statement as it has nothing to do with Doris Fiala's proposal, which only calls for the introduction of mandatory neutering by the owners of the animals, not the government. No additional costs would arise for the state whatsoever if the proposal were accepted.
Despite the Federal Council's recommendation to reject the proposal, we are now hoping that public pressure and the proposal submitted by Doris Fiala will persuade parliament to introduce a national regulation obligating all owners of outdoor cats to neuter their animals.
Find further information in the German version of this news release.