TIR pleased: Matthias Aebischer launches proposal to ban import of fur products from animals that have been subject to animal cruelty
On December 12, National Councilor Matthias Aebischer (SP/BE) submitted a motion to ban the import of fur products from animals that have been subject to animal cruelty. Stiftung für das Tier im Recht (TIR; Foundation for the Animal in the Law) has been advocating for an import ban for years and now hopes that the proposal will be approved by the parliament.
Since 2014, fur products have been subject to declaration. However, the information required by the relevant ordinance is extremely vague and causes confusion rather than clarity for many consumers. Moreover, evaluations by the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) as well as research by animal welfare organizations show that a great part of fur products offered for sale are not correctly declared.
In any case, TIR is sure that a mere declaration requirement for fur products is not enough from an animal welfare point of view. The fur production methods commonly used abroad clearly represent cruelty to animals according to the Swiss animal welfare law. Fur and fur products produced in such a way should therefore not be allowed to enter Switzerland.
A fur ban would be the only way to prevent the domestic demand from promoting fur production forms abroad that are clearly rejected by a large part of the Swiss population. In a legal opinion written in cooperation with experts in the field of international law, TIR has demonstrated that an import ban would be compatible with Switzerland’s international trade obligations, contrary to the concerns expressed by the Federal Council and the Committees for Science, Education and Culture (CSEC) of the National Council and the Council of States (Rüttimann Andreas/Gerritsen Vanessa/Blattner Charlotte, Zulässigkeit von Beschränkungen des Handels mit tierquälerisch hergestellten Pelzprodukten, Schriften zum Tier im Recht, Band 16, Zürich/Basel/Genf 2017).
We therefore welcome the current push for an import ban on fur products from animals that have been subject to animal cruelty and are pleased that Mr. Aebischer has taken up TIR’s arguments and legal conclusions in his motion. For the proposal to be accepted, it must be approved by both the National Council and the Council of States. TIR calls on both councils to accept the motion and thus set an example for animal welfare.