Switzerland referendum on providing lawyers for animals
A nationwide referendum is taking place in Switzerland on a proposal to give animals the constitutional right to be represented in court.
Animal rights groups say appointing state-funded animal lawyers would ensure animal welfare laws are upheld, and help prevent cases of cruelty.
Opponents say Switzerland does not need more legislation regarding animal protection.
The Swiss government has recommended that voters reject the idea.
There is already one animal lawyer in Switzerland.
Zurich has made legal representation for animals in cruelty cases compulsory since 1992.
The current incumbent is Antoine Goetschel. He has gone to court on behalf dogs, cats, cows, sheep, and even a fish.
He believes speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves is the essence of justice.
“For me the animals are one of the weakest parts in society and they need to be better protected.
“So, it’s kind of a fight for a minority that needs to be supported. And to make legislation more respectful towards humans and animals as a whole.”
But Switzerland has very strict animal welfare laws, and the Swiss government, conscious that the taxpayer would have to pay the fees for a nationwide system of animal lawyers, has recommended voters reject the idea.
And there is opposition from Switzerland’s powerful farming lobby.
Struggling with reduced subsidies and falling milk prices, Swiss farmers say animal lawyers would simply add another layer of bureaucracy to a system already overburdened with animal protection legislation.
By Imogen Foulkes – BBC News
AFP – Animal welfare organizations described a recent Halloween-costume contest for dogs as cruel. If this dog had been Swiss, it might have had a lawyer.
AP – ANTOINE GOETSCHEL
Although he runs a legal practice in Zurich focused on property and family law, Antoine Goetschel has been interested in animal-rights law for 20 years. Goetschel helped launch the Foundation for the Animal in Law and start its library of information on the subject. He has written several books on the subject and served on government panels drafting animal-welfare legislation. Since 2007, he has been the “animal advocate” for the canton of Zurich, handling between 150 and 200 related cases a year.
Germany’s SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke with Goetschel about about the job, the vote’s chances of success and why eco-friendly Switzerland needs even more animal-protection laws:
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How are you feeling about the referendum? Do you think it will succeed?
Antoine Goetschel: There is a Lou Reed lyric that talks about the “power of positive drinking.” But, seriously, I do feel positive. Even some of the opponents of the referendum say they think it will be positive. Other opponents have been mingling fact with fiction and coming up with some disturbing arguments against it. But the mass media have been reporting on this a lot, so I’m confident that the Swiss population will confirm its sympathy toward animals with a “yes.”
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What will happen if they do?
Goetschel: First, any legislation will have to be debated by the Swiss government. But if that goes ahead, then, if I were the government, I would think about creating some sort of academy or educational forum for animal-welfare attorneys. One needs skills that are not necessarily learned at law school.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Such as?
Goetschel: It’s not enough to just be an attorney and love animals. You can easily lose your credibility if you over-identify with the animal. In my experience, an animal-rights lawyer needs a warm heart and a cool head. They need experience not only in animal-welfare law, but also in criminal law. They need to know whether this witness is credible or whether that argument will be enough to convince a judge, and so on. They must be skilled at mediation and have the confidence of animal-welfare organizations. They must also know how to speak to farmers and dog breeders. And journalists — because, in this position, you will come under a lot of public pressure.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What will happen if the referendum fails?
Goetschel: Let’s not focus on that. But, in the very unlikely case that the Swiss population is puzzled (by this referendum), then I think that in the cantons where people did vote “yes,” the government administrations will still take it seriously. If the state voted yes, then the canton must appoint animal-welfare attorneys. Otherwise, the state government would be working against voters who acted in good faith. If you look at the data base we have compiled of all the animal welfare cases in Switzerland, you can see that in Zurich, for example, there are 190 cases a year, whereas in other states there is only one case a year. Some states take this work more seriously than others.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What else have you been doing to support the campaign to appoint animal-welfare attorneys?
Goetschel: I’m not a member of the initiating body. I’m just a person who knows a lot of the history and who knows all the arguments. So I can explain the job.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Switzerland already has some of the most far-reaching animal-welfare laws in the world. Since 2008, it has been illegal to keep animals that usually live in groups — such as goldfish, canaries or guinea pigs — alone, dog owners have to take a training course and, beginning in 2013, horses will not be able to be tied up in their stalls. The constitution even protects the “dignity” of plant life, and a Swiss ethics panel has said that the “decapitation of wildflowers at the roadside without rational reason” is a bad thing. So why do you need more laws — or lawyers — in this area?
Goetschel: No, I don’t want to see more lawyers. And we’re not talking about creating new laws, either. From my point of view, I would be happy with one or two new terms being added to the existing legislation so as to ensure that existing animal-welfare laws are adhered to. Since there is a lack of interest in them in many places in Switzerland and Germany, they are not taken seriously. The changes would acknowledge the importance of human-animal relationships and ensure that the existing law in regard to them is properly applied. Since there has been an animal-welfare attorney here in Zurich for the past 18 years, everyone involved — the police, local veterinarians and animal-welfare organizations — takes these things more seriously. I consider myself a small cog in a big machine. But, without that small cog, there is a gap between the administrative part of animal-welfare organizations and (law-enforcement organizations). So the goal is to make sure that the state starts doing animal-welfare work properly and to make animal-welfare cases a normal thing.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How would you respond to the criticism that you just want to create more work for yourself and other lawyers?
Goetschel: Actually it’s a very poorly paid line of work. I don’t just do animal welfare work; I also practice regular law. As an animal-welfare attorney, I get about 200 francs an hour (€137/$186). For other work, I get between 350 and 400 francs an hour. If I didn’t do this, I could start to make more money as an attorney.
Interview conducted by Cathrin Schaer
Posted: Just One More Pet
March 7, 2010 - Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change, Unusual Stories | Animal Advocate, animal protection, animal rights lawyer, animal-rights laws, Antoine Goetschel, Cass Sunstein, farming lobby, layers for animals, strict animal welfare laws, Switzerland
No comments yet.
Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
So if you have the room in your home and the love in your heart… Adopt Just One More Pet or consider becoming a Foster parent for pets… Also check out: Little Critter: Just One More Pet
Photos By: Marion Algier – The UCLA Shutterbug
There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
Recent and Seasonal Shots
As I have been fighting Cancer… A battle I am gratefully winning, my furkids have not left my side. They have been a large part of my recovery!! Ask Marion
Photos by the UCLA Shutterbug are protected by copyright, Please email at JustOneMorePet@gmail.com or find us on twitter @JustOneMorePet for permission to duplicate for commerical purposes or to purchase photos.
If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own! Our shelters are over-flowing… Please join the fight to make them all ‘NO-Kill’ facilities.
Help Make a Difference
Protect Your Pet From Tarter and Gum DiseasePlaque Attack Triple Care Dental Spray Amazon.com Widgets
Adopt Just One More Pet All Animals All Pets animal abuse animal advocacy animal advocates animal cruelty animals ASPCA Bears be part of the solution Birds California cancer canines Cats cats and dogs Chihuahuas China Chiweenies Christmas cute dog Doggies dogs dogs and cats Dr. Becker elephants Fido fish for the love of a pet German Shepherd Halloween holidays holidays with pets horses HSUS Humane Society Humane Society of the United States JOMP Just One More Pet JustOneMorePet kittens kitties livestock Love man's best friend military dogs monkeys New York Pet Abuse Pet Adoption Pet costumes Pet Food pet fun Pet Health Pet Parents Pets pet safety pets and holidays Pets Are Family Pet Therapy Puppies puppy mills pups rabbits Rainbow Bridge reptiles responsible pet ownership responsible pet parents service dogs Stop Animal Cruelty Texas There Is Always Room For One More Pet we are their voice
- In Memory of Rocky – Until We Meet Again on Rainbow Bridge August 30, 2015By JoAnn, Marion, and Tim Algier This past week, we lost our dear family member Rocky who had just outlived his “huep – na-napbdad”, Tom, by just a few months. His perspective would have been interesting!! Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been […]justonemorepet
- In Memory of Rocky – Until We Meet Again on Rainbow Bridge August 29, 2015By JoAnn, Marion, and Tim Algier This past week, we lost a dear family member, Rocky, who had just outlived his “human pet-dad”, Tom, by just a few months. It certainly would have been interesting to know what they thought and what experiences they had had in common!! Just this side of heaven is a […]justonemorepet
- Panda Accused of Faking Pregnancy To Get Better Food, Air Conditioning August 1, 2015Expectant pandas are moved to air-conditioned rooms and showered with more buns, fruit and bamboo. By Dominique Mosbergen – News Editor, The Huffington Post – Posted: 07/30/2015 12:57 AM EDT | Edited: 07/31/2015 02:07 PM EDT Pandas Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, names together mean "reunion", eat bamboo at a panda base in Ya’an, southwest […]justonemorepet
- Dachshund Family Photo | Picture Furrfect July 20, 2015Video: Dachshund Family Photo | Picture Furrfectjustonemorepet
- They Were Dead Puppy Parts Instead of Dead Baby July 16, 2015Bristol Palin: Fellow SixSeeds blogger Zeke Pipher has a great question: If they were dead puppy parts, or parts from homosexual babies, or babies that self-identified as adults, it’d be a different story. Meaning, it would be a story. But as it is, the fact that these fetuses don’t look like puppies, and their sexual […]justonemorepet
- Bob’s Full House July 13, 2015Photo: Cute Overload - Full Housejustonemorepet
- Keep Your Pets Safe on the 4th of July June 30, 2015Family and friends of G.R. Gordon-Ross watch his private fireworks show at the Youth Sports Complex in Lawrence, Kan., Friday, June 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) Mercury News – Originally posted on July 02, 2013: The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. Hot dogs, potato salad and, of course, fireworks. But Independence […]justonemorepet
- JOMP Salutes Doggie Dads Both Two and Four Legged June 21, 2015Very few dogs have the experience of being parents these days and especially seeing their litters through the process of weaning and then actually being able to remain part of a pack with at least part of their family. Apachi is our Doggie Dad. He is a Chiweenie and here he is is watching his […]justonemorepet
- Smartest Dog In the World, Chaser – 60 Minutes With Anderson Cooper June 15, 2015By Marion Algier – Just One More Pet (JOMP) – Cross-Posted at AskMarion Anderson Cooper met Chaser, a dog who can identify over a thousand toys, and because of whom, scientists are now studying the brain of man’s best friend. Chaser is also the subject of a book: Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog […]justonemorepet
- Quebec bill changes animals from "property" to sentient beings and includes jail time for cruelty June 14, 2015By Tamara – Dog Heirs – Cross-Posted at JOMP Quebec, Canada – Animals will be considered “sentient beings” instead of property in a bill tabled in the Canadian province of Quebec. The legislation states that "animals are not things. They are sentient beings and have biological needs." Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis proposed the bill and […] […]justonemorepet
- In Memory of Rocky – Until We Meet Again on Rainbow Bridge August 30, 2015
Find Pet Friendly Hotels
- RT @thehill: State Dept probe reportedly finds that agency improperly overpaid Clinton aide Huma Abedin: hill.cm/tw6hjyd http://t.co…There Is Always Room For Just One More Pet! 3 months ago
- RT @alvedaking: Alveda King: God harvests souls. The devil harvests baby body parts. Read my blog @ bit.ly/1M1nQFi. Comment and sha…There Is Always Room For Just One More Pet! 3 months ago
- RT @NoBelfastTorch: SUPER URGENT, PLEASE SHARE THE 20 INNOCENT CATS AND KITTENS ON TOMORROW'S NYC ACC KILL LIST!! You can view the... http…There Is Always Room For Just One More Pet! 3 months ago
- RT @RNRKentucky: .@SenAlexander Infanticide not enough! PP now butchers aborted babies for PARTS! #DefundPP #PJNET #RedNationRising http://…There Is Always Room For Just One More Pet! 3 months ago
- RT @ullikemike: “@USABillOfRights: Judge Who Blocked PP Videos RAISED $230k For OBAMA therightscoop.com/judge-who-bloc… #PPSellsBabyParts http://t.co/…There Is Always Room For Just One More Pet! 3 months ago
Great Book for Children and Pet Lovers… And a Perfect Holiday GiftOne More Pet Emily loves animals so much that she can’t resist bringing them home. When a local farmer feels under the weather, she is only too eager to “feed the lambs, milk the cows and brush the rams.” The farmer is so grateful for Emily’s help that he gives her a giant egg... Can you guess what happens after that? The rhythmic verse begs to be read aloud, and the lively pictures will delight children as they watch Emily’s collection of pets get bigger and bigger.
~~ 2000+ Dog Books And All Things Dog ~~
Buy Now: A Must Have For Every Pet Owner
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!