Anti-Agriculture Industrial Initiative campaign launched

“For a Switzerland without intensive agriculture”: it is with this motto that the committee of the initiative against intensive agriculture launches its yes campaign. The initiative wants to anchor the dignity of livestock in the Constitution and will be voted on on September 25th.

The authors of the initiative focus on agriculture and want to combat industrial animal production and especially meat consumption, which they consider too high. On Monday, they presented their arguments to the media in Bern.

The popular initiative “No intensive breeding of animals in Switzerland” requires that agricultural production animals, whose purpose is the sale of products, have a respectful environment, garbage and possibilities of occupation. All animals must also have access to pasture and must be carefully slaughtered after a short transport.

Animal welfare standards should be based on the 2018 Bio Suisse specifications, in particular with regard to the size of groups of animals per house. For example, for laying hens, the Bio Suisse specifications allow up to 2,000 animals per house and up to 4,000 animals per farm.

Reduction in meat consumption

To ensure that Swiss farmers are not harmed, the initiative provides that only animals and animal products raised to Swiss standards can be imported. Such bans are in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, said Zurich State Councilor Daniel Jositsch (PS), dismissing an argument from opponents. “There is room in international law to express our values.”

Sim advocates have meat consumption first in their line of sight, very high in their eyes. To meet climate goals, you would have to eat about a third less meat, explained National Councilor Delphine Klopfenstein (Vert-es/GE).

Half of the arable land is now devoted to forage production instead of being used to grow plant foods, which would provide much more food and contribute to food security. Meat must be produced mainly on pastures in mountainous regions.

sanitary dimension

National Councilor Kathrin Bertschy (PVL/BE) criticized the fact that much of agricultural subsidies do away with stable and road builders, as well as producers and sellers of pesticides, fodder and machinery, via farmers. For her, these circles would have prevented the debate on agricultural policy from 2022 onwards. “We are subsidizing our own destruction of the environment”.

Vera Weber, president of the Franz Weber Foundation, called for a protein change. According to her, excessive consumption of animal products can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Raising animals in large barns would also pose a pandemic risk.

“Eat less eggs”

“Eat less eggs but pay more for them,” said farmer Fritz Sahli, who runs an organic farm with 2,000 laying hens. He came out in favor of small farms. These could find better solutions for laying hens they no longer need, rather than killing and discarding them after their first year of life.

Switzerland currently imports 1.4 million tonnes of animal feed a year. This allows many more animals to be raised than would be appropriate for the site, Sahli said.

Most farm animals have to spend most of their lives on concrete floors and with little space in barns or parlors, yes members argued. They have few opportunities to fend for themselves and only about one in eight animals are allowed to go outside regularly.

Broad alliance around the yes

Yes, supporters do not want to accept opponents’ argument that Switzerland has one of the strictest animal protection laws. Current legislation is not enough to prevent drastic cuts in animal welfare and dignity.

The initiative was launched by the Sentience association. The Franz Weber Foundation, the Quatre pattes association and Greenpeace are among the responsible organizations; the initiative is supported, among others, by Swiss Animal Protection, Tier im Recht, Kag Freiland, the association of small farmers. Within the parties, the Greens and Young Greens take the initiative. The PS also decided to support the yes, as did the Vert’liberals.

This article was automatically published. source: ats

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