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End is nigh for cat-skin trade

The Senate has unanimously supported a motion calling for a ban on hunting stray cats, as well as preparing and exporting cat skins.

The House of Representatives had already approved the bill, and the government must now draft legislation to bring Switzerland into line with the European Union.

In March the Swiss association SOS Chats handed in a petition with almost 120,000 signatures, including those of Brigitte Bardot, Michael Schumacher and former Miss Switzerland Lauriane Gilliéron.

Switzerland has banned the import of cat fur since 2006, largely because of concern over cruel methods of slaughter in exporting countries.

But parliament was concerned that when new legislation comes into force at the beginning of 2009 banning the production of these furs throughout the European Union, Switzerland would be out of step with its neighbours.

Critics warned that Switzerland could turn into a European hub as only the import of cat hides is illegal under current law.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR