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Ethics groups urge greater protections for animals

Ethics bodies want to protect animals from humiliation and abuse

(Keystone)

Two Swiss government ethics commissions have called on parliament to amend the constitution to ensure better protection for animals. The issue has come to the fore with the increasing use of genetic engineering in animals.

Two federal ethics commissions, dealing with animals and genetic engineering, said on Wednesday that the constitution should be amended to better define and expand clauses dealing with animal rights.

They said humans did not have the right to put their own interests before those of animals, particularly by altering the genetic code of animals.

Current federal legislation protects animals in cases where pain, fear and suffering are inflicted without justification. But the ethics bodies also want animals also to be protected from "humiliation, abuse" and changes to their physical appearance.

One commission calling for the changes is charged with overseeing genetic engineering in non-human species. The other deals with experimentation on animals.

Under existing laws, the authorities' competence is limited to genetic engineering on animals. The commissions want additional laws introduced to cover the way the animals are bred, kept and used.

swissinfo with agencies


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