Swiss reject initiative to ban factory farming

Photo: Artem Beliaikin
Photo: Artem Beliaikin

Swiss voters have rejected a proposal to ban factory farming.

The initiative to ban factory farming – triggered by campaigners who had collected 100,000 signatures – had demanded various improvements for farm animals. The government would’ve needed to enforce stricter rules for caring for animals, including requirements in terms of space, slaughter and transport. reports that over recent months, many farmers, led by the Farmers’ Federation, fought against what they saw as an unfair attack on them to reduce meat consumption in society more broadly.

Final results showed some 63% of votes against the proposal, put to a referendum under the Swiss system of direct democracy.

The government had recommended against the proposal, citing that such requirements would interfere with trade, and impact operating costs and food prices.

Interior minister, Alain Berset, who is responsible for the government’s stance on the initiative, said that citizens had “judged that the dignity of animals is respected in our country and that their well-being is sufficiently protected by current legislation”.

Should the factory farming initiative have been accepted, farmers would have had up to 25 years to adapt to the rules. Although the result gives them some breathing space, they remain under pressure.

Natalie Kinsley Freelance journalist