The chic Swiss mountain resort of Zermatt has banned St Bernard dogs from being used in photo sessions with tourists. This comes after complaints by an animal protection organisation.
Posing with one or two huge St Bernard dogs at the top of the Gornergrat or Sunnegga peaks with the Matterhorn in the background is a classic photo cliché from Zermatt. But this will no longer be possible after the local council took the decision to ban such photo shoots using the famous dogs.
On Thursday the Swiss Animal Protection association welcomed the decision.
By ending the use of St Bernards as tourist props, Zermatt shows that “it loves these animals”, it said in a statement. The association recently published a report on the poor conditions faced by the Saint Bernards, which follows investigations in 2012, 2014 and earlier this year.
Concerns had been raised over the dogs being forced to pose for hours on end without moving and sometimes having to carry children on their backs. The dogs were also tied up for hours, not taken for walks and often went without food or water for long periods, the report stated.
In March the association filed a legal complaint against the St Bernard owners, claiming that the dogs’ living and working conditions were abusive.
swissinfo.ch with agencies