Switzerland is considering a ban on factory farming after campaigners gathered more than 100,000 signatures urging the government to outlaw it.
Supporters of the ban argue that factory farming is linked to poor animal welfare.
“Fifty percent of all piglets raised in Switzerland are slaughtered without ever seeing the sky,” Meret Schneider, co-director of animal rights think tank Sentience Politics, said in a statement. “Over 80 percent of the chickens kept in Switzerland never stand on a meadow in their life and already reach slaughter weight when they are only 30 days old.”
Factory farming also contributes to climate change, water scarcity, and hunger issues.
“Switzerland imports 1.2 million tonnes of animal feed every year to produce the necessary quantity of animal products,” Vera Weber — president of the Franz Weber Foundation, an organization that works to protect the planet with exposés and lobbying — said to swissinfo.ch.
More research is uncovering animal agriculture’s impact on the planet. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) named meat “the world’s most urgent problem” in September.
“Our use of animals as a food-production technology has brought us to the verge of catastrophe,” UNEP said in a statement. “The greenhouse gas footprint of animal agriculture rivals that that of every car, truck, bus, ship, airplane, and rocket ship combined.”
‘Factory Farming Is Unacceptable’
The “No factory farming in Switzerland” initiative launched in June 2018. It aims to put an end to intensive farming by amending article 80a of the Federal Constitution.
Silvano Lieger, co-director of Sentience Politics, told LIVEKINDLY, “The fact that we were able to submit this initiative so quickly shows how much people in Switzerland care about animals. The majority of them are unaware of the significant amount of individuals that are still being raised in unbearable conditions.”
“Factory farming is unacceptable — and we should use the power of direct democracy to also make it illegal,” Lieger added.
Switzerland and Animal Welfare
The Swiss public is also set to vote on whether animal testing of products sold in the country should be allowed. The vote was made possible after petitioners collected the minimum 100,000 signatures needed to place a measure on the ballot.
Last year, Switzerland made boiling lobsters and all other crustaceans illegal due to animal welfare concerns.
It was recently reported that 2.6 million Swiss people — or 31 percent of the population — are reducing or have entirely cut meat consumption.
The Swiss government has not yet set a date for the nationwide vote on a factory farming ban.