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Swiss vote on animal testing ban

On February 13, the Swiss will vote for the fourth time on whether to ban animal testing.

This content was published on January 26, 2022 - 09:00

The people’s initiative calls for a halt to all experiments on humans and animals as well as a ban on the import of new products developed using such methods.

It was launched by a citizens' group in eastern Switzerland that includes a naturopath, a doctor and an organic farmer. It’s supported by around 80 organisations and companies involved in animal welfare, environmental protection and alternative medicine. 

Approximately 556,000 animals were used for experimental purposes in Switzerland last year, according to the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office. That represents a decrease of 18% relative to 2015, when the downhill trend started. However, around 1,400 more animals were subjected to degree 3 experiments (+7.8%), tests that cause severe pain to the animals. 

The initiators say experiments should be stopped because animals also feel suffering and pain. They point out that animal experiments often lead to dead ends and that there are proven alternatives and better ways to gain knowledge.

Parliament finds the initiative too extreme and fears it will hamper medical and scientific research in Switzerland. It believes the current legislation, which only allows animal experiments if no alternative methods are available, is strict enough.

The Swiss rejected three previous people’s initiatives calling for animal testing bans in 1985, 1992, and 1993.

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