Intensive farming: what you need to know before the votes


Federal votes of September 25To put an end to intensive animal husbandry in Switzerland

The initiative of the animal protection circles wants to promote a different form of animal husbandry in Switzerland. But for the food industry and the right, the country is already doing enough in this area.

The initiative of the votes of September 25, 2022 wants to promote less intensive breeding.  Every livestock animal should have daily access to the outdoors.

The initiative of the votes of September 25, 2022 wants to promote less intensive breeding. Every livestock animal should have daily access to the outdoors.

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The first object submitted to the vote on September 25 is a popular initiative which aims to eliminate intensive farming within 25 years. The initiative was launched in June 2018 by Sentience, an association for the defense of animal dignity, and filed in October 2019. It is supported by the Franz Weber Foundation, Greenpeace, Pro Natura, the, the PS, the Liberal Greens, as well as all defense associations animals.

The heart of this initiative is therefore the well-being of livestock, hens, pigs or cows. The initiators believe that intensive factory farming has had its day: “As most Swiss farms prove every day, animal-friendly and resource-saving production is possible. However, a large proportion of animals live out their short lives in large, factory-like fattening operations.”

Change of course in animal husbandry in Switzerland

The initiative aims to promote a change of direction for animal husbandry in Switzerland, while giving an appreciable period of 25 years for this transition. It puts forward five demands, which correspond to the specifications of Bio Suisse in 2018: more space for animals, respectful litter and care, daily access to the outdoors, less painful slaughter, reduction of the size of animal groups and the ban on importing animal products that do not meet these criteria.

An initiative swept by the right

In Parliament, the initiative and a counter-proposal proposed by the Federal Council were swept away by the bourgeois right, UDC, PLR and Le Centre. A broad alliance has formed around the Swiss Farmers’ Union and the main players in the agri-food sector to fight the initiative before the people. On June 13, its committee launched the campaign against a proposal that it considers “unnecessary”: “The level of animal welfare in Switzerland is unequaled and the offer required by the initiative is already more than sufficient. »

The problem of imported animal products

This is also the message of the Federal Councilor Alain Berset during his press conference on June 28. He recalled that Switzerland had “one of the strictest animal protection laws in the world”. The farm animals targeted by the initiative are already very well protected: “For 25 years the Confederation has encouraged animal-friendly housing”. In other words: this initiative “goes too far”. According to him, the prices of meat, milk or cheese should increase. Finally, the application of the initiative for imported products will require the establishment of a costly control system in delicacy with Switzerland’s trade agreements. Finally, Alain Berset believes that a private standard like Bio Suisse has no place in the Swiss Constitution.

The federal votes of September 25, 2022

On September 25, 2022, the Swiss people are called upon to decide on four objects. The first concerns the popular initiative against intensive farming. The second and third relate to the revision of the AVS and the increase in VAT to finance it, both attacked by referendum. Finally, the fourth concerns the modification of the law on withholding tax and its abolition for bond interest, also contested by referendum.

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