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October 2008 Barker


17 September 2008

Swiss Animal Rights

A while back, while reading the Seattle Times, I saw a rather strange headline: Swiss Animal Rights. One of those headlines that makes ya go hmmmm. So, I read it. I could not get permission to reprint the article, but there is no law against quoting an article and it was strange enough that I thought it needed to be quoted. If you think that we have problems in the USA, read on.

Some new laws regarding animal rights were recently enacted and went into effect 1 September 2008 in Switzerland. These laws are meant to “safeguard the animal kingdom”. The leading animal rights group in Switzerland, STS, feels that these laws do not go far enough. (The article did not explain what STS stood for.)

  • It is illegal to flush goldfish down the toilet. The laws states that they must be knocked out and killed before being disposed of.
  • Fishermen may no longer catch-and-release fish, nor can they use live bait.
  • Parrots and hamsters may no longer be housed alone. A buddy is required.
  • Livestock (like sheep and goats) must have at least “visual contact with their fellows”.
  • Dog owners are required to take classes to learn how to keep their dogs from biting.
  • Pigs have the legal right to shower and freshen up after rolling in the mud.

My mind was swirling with questions: What if I kill the poor goldfish while I am trying to knock it out? What do I use to knock out a goldfish? A baseball bat might be overkill. Can I give the goldfish to the fish-ermen once it is dead, or am I required to flush it down the toilet? Could a goldfish be a buddy for a ham-ster or a parrot (thereby saving the life of the goldfish)? Can I still feed my sharks and aquatic turtles gold-fish? How would they knock it out? How far can livestock see? Do I have to test their vision to figure out where to place their “fellows”? What if I only have one livestock? Am I now required to buy a “fellow”? What is the curriculum for a class to teach me how to teach my dog not to bite? If I wanted to teach such a class, does the law provide an approved, fool proof, method for teaching dogs not to bite? Might it be inhumane to not let a dog bite? He is a dog, after all, and dogs have to bite something, sooner or later. What, or who, are they not allowed to bite? Are fleas okay to bite? Can they bite bad people? At what age do puppies have to stop biting? (I have one who at 12 weeks is a piranha in Terv clothing.) Is it okay just to tie the dog‟s mouth shut when there is a possibility that he might bite? What if my parrot or hamster bites my dog? Or the goldfish?! What kind of shower do I install for a pig? Is water temperature, or pressure, important? Am I required to turn it on for the pig, or can he bite something and make it come on? Is there a penalty for using all of the hot water? What do I do if he leaves the water running?

Around Seattle all we have to worry about are legislators that want to ban pit bulls for maiming, and some times, killing people. Maybe we could just legislate classes to teach them not to bite!!!! Hey! They have done it in Switzerland.

Dee Carlson
President – Sammamish Kennel Club

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