Animals get a voice in Swiss politics

Swiss animal lovers have founded a political party to represent the interests of their four-legged friends, Swiss news agency ATS reported on Sunday.

The Animal Party Switzerland was established on Saturday with an economist, a lawyer and the head of the Swiss vegetarian union as founding members, said the agency, quoting Thomas Maerki, who heads the new party.

The party—which plans to contest elections next year—has set up a page on Facebook with the slogan “because animals need a voice,” and a pledge to “represent the interests of animals in politics and the economy.”

Switzerland boasts strict laws protecting animals. It is illegal to flush goldfish alive down a toilet, and owners of some animals such as budgies and hamsters must guarantee that the animals have social companions.

Even sheep and goats must have at least a “visual contact with their fellows”.

Earlier this year, enough signatures were collected to force a referendum on whether abused animals should be assigned lawyers. In the end, the initiative failed to muster a majority of votes.—AFP


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