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Petition urges improved animal protection

"Twisty Kats" are selectively bred for a genetic defect that gives them peculiar looking front legs

(Keystone Archive)

Swiss animal rights campaigners are lobbying the government to tighten the law governing animal protection. A petition, signed by 82,000 people and delivered to parliament on Tuesday, called for an end to breeding practices which cause animal suffering.

The group behind the petition, Swiss Animal Protection (STS), says domestic, working and laboratory animals are all subject to selective breeding to produce or enhance certain characteristics. The results include cats with no fur, dogs with wrinkled skins and rabbits with over-long ears.

According to STS president, Marianne Staub, animal breeds are often "created" to satisfy breeders' vanity or the latest fashion, while the animals concerned are condemned to a life of misery.

The STS says another form of cruelty is commonly applied to poultry, which are bred to produce more meat. During the 40-day fattening period, one in 20 chickens dies from the effects of over-feeding.

The petition also calls for tighter restrictions on the breeding of laboratory animals.

The authors say genetic modifications can lead to life-long suffering for lab animals. In one documented case a species of mouse was made to starve because it had been created without teeth.

The petition urges the government to allow genetic modification only where it can be shown to be in the interests of both humans and animals.

swissinfo with agencies


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