Protecting the rights of animals.
In the vast majority of countries our pet animals have few, in any, legal rights.
Thus it was a wonderful reminder of another example of how the Swiss government sets the lead in so many ways to read on the Care 2 site how that country looks after their animals. Laura Burge offers the details in this republication of an essay on Care 2.
10 Reasons Switzerland Is a Great Place to Be a Pet
By: Laura Burge June 10, 2017
Switzerland is a fairly small country, but it stills boasts an estimated seven million pets living there, not including the farm animals that dot the countryside. Although far from perfect, it has a long history of improving the working and living conditions for animals within the country, including landmark legislation in 1992 when it became the first country to include animal rights in their constitution. Specifically, it included a provision that allowed for the protection of animal dignity.
Then, in 2008, Switzerland introduced a bevy of new animal rights regulations that went even further. With that in mind, here are some of the more interesting laws that Switzerland has put in place to improve the lives of animals in their midst.
1. Guinea pigs must live with or have regular playdates with other members of their species. They can get lonely if they don’t have a companion. Since guinea pigs often don’t live the exact same amount of time, matchmaking services have sprouted up in the country to make sure they are not alone.
2. The Swiss have your cat’s social life in mind, too — if a cat doesn’t have a feline companion at home, he or she must be able to go outside to socialize with others, or at the very least, be able to see other cats from home.
3. Surprisingly, goldfish must also have friends to swim around with. The Swiss believe it is cruel to have them live alone in a small fish bowl, as they are actually social animals.
4. Rabbits’ enclosures must have a dark area that they can retreat to, if they feel the need. Rabbits are very particular about their space, and having a dark area of their enclosure helps ensure that bunnies are happy and less stressed.
5. Fish must live in aquariums that experience natural day and night cycles, and have at least one opaque side.
6. Before bringing a dog into a new home, a person must provide a certificate of competence demonstrating that they know how to deal with and treat dogs. If they can prove that they’ve already had a dog, though, they’re off the hook.
7. Dogs have to be exercised daily, according to what they need, and, as much as possible, off leash. Everyone knows that different dogs have different levels of energy, so whether someone has a lazy Great Dane who just wants to walk around the block, or a bouncing terrier who needs to run, the law accounts for it.
8. Dogs that are tied up must be able to run around freely for at least five hours a day, and the rest of the time, must be able to move around in at least 20 square meters of space. While this may not seem ideal, since dogs are still allowed to be tied up, it means that there’s a national law on the side of the pet if the owner is using a choke chain or the dog is not getting time to run around freely.
9. Parrots, also considered social creatures, are required to have a companion to spend their days with. The legislation can be eye-opening in how many creatures need others of their own kind to have a relaxed and happy life as a companion to people.
10. Clipping the ears or tails of dogs is not allowed. It is considered undue pain and damage, and dogs get to live out their days with their natural floppy ears and wagging tails.
While Switzerland, like most other countries, are far from achieving perfect animal welfare laws and enforcement, they have made some good progress that other countries would do well to keep an eye on.
Photo credit: Laura Burge, author
Did you spot that four out of those ten laws that were described in the article were for the well-being of dogs!
And even better than that is a State in the USA that also comes to the rescue, legally, of abused animals. Tune in tomorrow for the full story.