An 'antispeciesist political think tank' is calling for the end of factory farming in Switzerland.
Sentience Politics plans to collect 100,000 signatures on a petition, then instigate a vote proposing to change the law.
This is possible because Switzerland has a system known as 'semi-direct democracy'. This means citizens vote directly on individual policies.
If a petition gains more than 100,000 signatures in 18 months, it can be put to the vote under the Swiss popular initiative system.
According to the organization: "Sentience Politics will launch the first National People's Initiative in spring 2018, calling for the abolition of factory farming in Switzerland.
"In Switzerland, 50 million land animals are bred and slaughtered every year, their basic needs are disregarded.
"The industry intentionally spreads the illusion that there is no intensive farming in Switzerland - although most Swiss 'farm animals' do not see grass or sunlight in their lives."
The organization lists the issues caused by factory farming.
It says: "Animal farming is driving the warming of the climate, negatively affecting the welfare and water scarcity, causing antibiotic resistance and violating the constitutional principle of animal welfare.
"Sentience Politics would therefore like to place this topic on top of the national political agenda and not only to launch a social debate, but also to work seriously towards a Switzerland without factory farming."
Among the policies within the proposed law, are the 'protection of the dignity of the animal in agricultural livestock. This dignity includes the right not to live within intensive farming practices'.
According to the proposal: "Factory farming means the forms of farm animal husbandry in which animal welfare is systematically violated for reasons of economy.
"This is expressed in particular by the fact that animals are kept in small groups in large groups, that their basic needs are not taken into account, or that their physical or psychological well-being is significantly impaired in a different way."
Sentience Politics calls upon 'the measure which best suits animal welfare to be chosen' when uncertainties arise with regard to the needs of the animals.
The proposed law also suggests regulations are put in place regarding 'the importation of animals and animal products for nutritional purposes'.
A Swiss vegan source told PBN: "The ideal situation would be that we ban both factory farming in Switzerland AND imported stuff from factory farms outside the country.
"This still would not make everything vegan, but I think it would be a massive change.
"In that case, maybe meat would get much more expensive, and people would consume less. This would happen in tandem with the predicted growth of the plant-based alternatives market.
"And even if none of the laws are implemented, I think there will be a lot of media going on around the proposals, it could become an important topic of wide debate.
"There is still a long way to go - but I think this is a positive story."
Sentience politics is currently crowdfunding. You can find out more about the crowdfunder here
Maria is the head of written content for Plant Based News. Also a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer. Her writing has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.
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