Swiss law orders pet buddy system

Swiss law orders pet buddy system

Guinea pigs need friends, dog owners need classes.
Jun 01, 2008

Illustration by Erin Terry
A new law in Switzerland taking effect Sept. 1 widens animal rights laws in revolutionary ways. Consider the law's fine print:

  • Animals classified as "social species"—such as guinea pigs and parrots—will be considered victims of abuse if they don't live or interact regularly with others of their species.
  • Dog owners will need to pay for and take a class. The first section of the class focuses on dogs' needs and wishes, according to The Times of London. The second section explains how owners should walk their dogs and deal with different behavioral situations.
  • Anglers—those who catch fish with hooks—will need to pay for and take a class on catching fish humanely.
  • Farmers won't be allowed to tether horses, sheep, or goats or house pigs and cows in buildings with hard floors.
  • To promote fish health, fish owners must use aquariums with at least one opaque side and make sure that the fish experience night and day light cycles. Flushing a sick fish down the toilet won't be permitted either; special chemicals must be used for euthanasia.

Authorities promise they won't be going door to door to check up on pet owners. They expect public opinion and mandatory training classes to do most of the work for them.

On a side note, it's not all roses for cats in Switzerland. The Times reports that it's still legal in Switzerland to skin cats and sell their pelts for domestic and foreign markets. Some people believe that touching cat fur can lessen the pain associated with rheumatism.