A broad-based coalition, consisting of Animal Rights Switzerland, Fondation Franz Weber, Zürcher Tierschutz (Zurich Animal Protection) and TIR under the leadership of the campaign organization Campax, also worked intensively to raise awareness about the desperate need to ban the import of fur products derived from animal cruelty. Obviously, most members of the Council of States were unfazed by the cruel conditions under which the animals were kept and killed. There is no other explanation for their ignorance with regard to animal welfare concerns, especially since TIR, in cooperation with various experts in international law, had already presented in two detailed legal opinions that an import ban would be an appropriate instrument, compatible with trade law, to stop Swiss demand for animal cruelty in other countries.
The third animal welfare bill was the only one to be approved by the Council of States, after the Federal Council and the advisory committee had also expressed their support. It relates to a ban on tail docking of very young lambs without anesthesia (Mo. 21.3403
Schneider, GPS/ZH). Based on a scientifically refuted belief that animals are less sensitive to pain at the beginning of their lives, it was previously allowed to cut off the tail of lambs up to the age of seven days without the use of anesthetics. This blatant abuse has finally been banned. However, it cannot be regarded as a true victory for animals, given that a plethora of other painful routine procedures can still be conducted without the use of anesthesia (article 15 of the Animal Welfare Ordinance).
There is no doubt that the Council of States has once again bypassed the people regarding hunting trophies and fur. For example, a recent survey revealed that an overwhelming majority of 96 percent of more than 1,000 participants in the German-speaking and French-speaking parts of Switzerland are in favor of a ban on the import of hunting trophies. The National Council had also adopted with clear majorities both the import ban on fur products derived from animal cruelty (144:31) and the import and transit ban on hunting trophies taken from animals protected by CITES (121:60). Most votes against the proposed bans came from conservative members of the Council of States who are now responsible for a missed opportunity to adopt modern legislation and have failed to make a responsible decision for society.
The constant, mantra-like repetition of the – disputable – fact that Switzerland has the world's strictest animal welfare legislation is simply grotesque when urgently needed changes to the current legislation are systematically thwarted. In fact, animal welfare laws are constantly evolving around the world and many other countries have long since overtaken Swiss animal welfare laws in many respects - Switzerland, on the other hand, has remained stagnant with policymakers resting on achievements long past. TIR therefore draws a very sobering balance and considers today's parliamentary decisions a big step backwards