Animal welfare

The Swiss Animal Welfare Act protects the welfare and dignity of animals. Serious infringements of its provisions may lead to a ban on keeping animals, breeding animals, handling animals commercially, or trading in animals.

The Act applies apart from a few exceptions for vertebrates. A basic principle of the Act is that no person may improperly subject an animal to pain, suffering, harm or fear, or otherwise violate its dignity. With some exceptions, painful procedures must be carried out under anaesthesia. The Act states that, when dealing with an animal, its dignity, i.e. its inherent worth, must be respected. Any strains to which an animal is exposed through its use must be justified by overriding interests as part of a weighing of interests. In many cases, the result of such a weighing of interests is already stipulated in the Swiss Animal Protection Ordinance as an explicitly prohibited procedure or as a requirement. However, all applications to conduct animal experiments must undergo a weighing of interests.

The Swiss Animal Protection Ordinance contains the minimum requirements for the keeping and use of animals. Among other provisions, it stipulates the minimum dimensions and equipment for enclosures, enrichment options and social contacts, outdoor runs and animal house climate. Further animal welfare provisions are outlined in the following sections.

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Last modification 10.04.2024

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