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speciesism

August 09, 2019 - The Vegan Authority

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SWITZERLAND: An animal rights paradox

SWITZERLAND: An animal rights paradox
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The country has recently received praise for requiring guinea pigs to have companions because they get lonely, and making it illegal to boil a lobster alive, yet the Swiss raise many sentient animals to be eaten daily.

In 2018, the Swiss government ruled it is illegal to boil lobsters alive. They mandated that the live lobsters must be stunned first, before killing and eating them. And that prior to stunning and killing them, they must be kept in a "natural environment rather than on ice or in ice water". Recent research suggests that crustaceans like lobsters do feel pain. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology found crabs choose to avoid an electric shock when exposed to it.

It is a country that requires by law that animals considered to be "social species" such as guinea pigs and parrots, live or interact regularly with others of their species. These laws, in fact, are taken so seriously in Switzerland that there are even services, such as the one offered by Priska Kung, that pair lone guinea pigs with a mate. Kung, a professed animal lover, living 30 km outside of Zurich, runs a type of guinea pig matchmaking agency for lonely guinea pigs that have lost their partners.

Legislation also decrees that fish must always have company in tanks because, in the wild, they swim in shoals.

These measures have received praise from 'animal lovers', since after all these animals can not speak for themselves, and it is up to humans to look after them. But the truth is, that this is welfarism in action.

Keeping animals as pets, out of their natural habitat is one thing. But so much worse is keeping animals in whatever condition, so that they can be killed and eaten. This is speciesism. The assumption of human superiority that leads to the exploitation of animals.

There was a recent debate in Switzerland about whether cows should be de-horned or not. In fact there was a specific question on bovine well-being in a referendum last year. DW wrote that the "referendum was forced under Switzerland's system of direct democracy after cattle herder Armin Capaul managed to collect enough signatures for a corresponding petition." Capaul, 67, who raises cattle in the canton of Bern, said he has heard "many calves screaming with pain" while being de-horned. "Critics of the referendum proposal say that animals with horns pose a danger to farmers and that larger stalls would be needed to house them."

Swiss people eat about 100g or a quarter pound of meat every day. That amounts to countless animal lives each year. Le News notes that recent government guidance for 'protein', mentions only "meat, eggs, dairy and highly processed foods such as tofu and seitan, leaving out many other protein sources such as whole grains, beans and pulses." This presents a "narrow unscientific view on protein" which is in fact in most whole foods we eat. Peas, for example are 5% protein.

Even less palatable to many perhaps is that some Swiss people eat cat and dog meat. "The practice of eating cat and dog meat is surprisingly common amongst farmers in this Alpine nation" reported The Daily Meal. Around three percent reports Tomi Tomek, founder and president of animal protection group SOS Chats Noiraigue. "According to the Food Safety and Veterinary Office, you are not allowed to sell dog or cat meat but it is legal for people to eat their own animals" the BBC reported.

VA


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