Switzerland launches referendum to end intensive farming

The Swiss are called upon to decide on the abolition of intensive farming. The Swiss Confederation could – in the event of a favorable vote – become the first country in the world to reverse this cruel model for animals and denounced for a long time by the 30 Million Friends Foundation.

A consultation that could make a date! Swiss citizens are preparing to position themselves on intensive farming, thanks to a vote on September 25, 2022. “Intensive animal husbandry is a production system that neglects the basic needs of nonhuman animals in virtually every respect.deplores the organization Sentience at the initiative of the text submitted to the vote. It’s clear that we have to move forward and improve – not just for the animals, but also for the environment. “.

Consecrate the dignity of “livestock” animals

In concrete terms, the initiative aims to enshrine in the Constitution the dignity of so-called “production” animals (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry). Above all, the text affirms that “intensive” breeding is contrary to respect for this dignity. The consequence, explicitly written in the proposal, would therefore be the prohibition of this form of breeding on the territory of the Swiss Confederation. So that animal welfare takes precedence over the imperative of production efficiency.

The initiative calls for animal-friendly housing and care, regular outdoor access, less painful slaughter, small groups per barn “, explains the Sentience association. The reform, if adopted, should also require all Swiss breeders – as well as imported products – to respect a minimum the specifications currently required to obtain the organic label.

A popular initiative vote

This “vote” [référendum, NDLR] is the result of a popular initiative. Launched by the Sentience association in June 2018, the constitutional text was signed by more than 100,000 citizens in October 2019, justifying its submission to the vote of all voters. However, the game is far from won. Indeed, the competent federal authorities have called for the initiative to be rejected, while many political parties and professional organizations of breeders are opposed to this proposal.

Whatever the result, the existence of this referendum has at least the merit of bringing the debate to the forefront and could inspire the French legislator. In France, the well-being of farmed animals is at the heart of citizens’ concerns since 85% of them demand a ban on intensive farming (Barometer Foundation 30 Millions of Friends / Ifop, 2022).

France, for its part, has a shared initiative procedure much more restrictive than that provided for in Switzerland since the text must, in order to be (possibly, but not for sure) submitted to referendum, receive the support of 185 deputies and senators and collect 4.7 million signatures in 9 months.

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