The Swiss Animal Party has handed in a petition to the government calling for a ban on import of fur obtained by inhumane methods. Animal rights groups claim that Switzerland’s tough animal welfare laws are being circumvented by fur imports.
The petitionexternal link, which gathered almost 30,000 signatures, was handed in on Tuesday and was addressed to the cabinet as well as both houses of parliament. It states that certain commercial fur imports violate Switzerland’s Animal Protection Act as they come from overcrowded farms with up to 100,000 animals or involve poaching or the use of inhumane methods like clubbing, leghold traps and snares.
As these practices are outlawed in Switzerland, animal welfare organisations want Swiss laws to be applied equally to all animals including imports of fur products from abroad. In 2014, Switzerland imported 431,000 kilos of fur in the form of whole skins as well as finished clothing and accessories – mostly from China, where horrifying videos have been filmed showing animals being mistreated, and even skinned alive.
Swiss fur label
Switzerland is the only country with a declaration requirement for fur. After a one-year transition period, the label law came into full force in March 2014 and requires that each item be tagged with the following information: type of animal, country of origin, and the method by which the fur was obtained.
However, compliance has been poor, with 41 out of 48 shops assessed last year by the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office failing to label their wares properly.