As the campaign for the so-called “against intensive agriculture” initiative enters its final phase, public debate still (too) often turns into a fight for or against stricter animal protection measures. What if, in reality, the initiative would harm animal welfare?
The initiators website states that if the text is accepted there will be ” no imports of animals and animal products that have been produced using methods prohibited in Switzerland “. This false claim is propaganda in the strictest sense.
Imported products are not affected by the ban
Let us be clear: the paragraph of the initiative that seeks to limit imports of products from intensive agriculture is contrary to the bilateral agreements concluded between Switzerland and the EU. If implemented, it would lead to the application of the guillotine clause. Yes, this same guillotine clause mentioned in every recent vote on our relations with the European Union. Recall the lexical field assimilated to these terms: ruin, isolation, retrograde, end of prosperity, autarky, extreme right.
Even if the initiative were accepted by the people, the restriction on imports would not be applied. This is the logical consequence of the refusal of the initiative by the primacy of Swiss law and, above all, of the permanent position of Parliament (outside the UDC) during the recent conflicts between the Swiss constitution and bilateral agreements. By claiming that animal products from intensive agriculture can no longer be imported, supporters are deliberately misleading the electorate.
Free path for intensive breeding imports
As the initiative has no significant impact on imported products, it will only burden local producers with new bureaucratic and practical conditions, often arbitrary and sometimes counterproductive, that will in no way harm international trade. Consequence: if the initiative is accepted, local production would decrease by around 50% for swine and up to 80% for poultry. This shortage would be met by a massive importation of foreign products, not subject to Swiss standards.
As long as Swiss agriculture complies with the strictest rules in the world and animals raised in our country enjoy a high level of welfare, we will replace these well-treated animals with regulated low-rearing foods that are less concerned about animal welfare. Nonsense when Swiss farms are the only ones whose maximum number of animals is regulated by law and intensive farming does not exist in our country! Does a laying hen live better on a Swiss farm? limited to 18,000 individuals with access to the outdoors, sand baths for feathers and perches, or on a European farm that has hundreds of thousands, or even millions? What about the pigs, sows and calves, whose Swiss farms look tiny compared to the mainland?
Let’s defend an animal-friendly Swiss agriculture
If YES on September 25th, we will have done it all wrong. We will have replaced quality breeding with the importation of intensively farmed products. We will have given a boost to shopping tourism and the private car ball that this entails. We will have sounded the death knell for our food sovereignty, in a period of extreme geopolitical instability. We will have looted small mountain farms and alpine landscapes. We will have spit in the face of our farmers, true animal lovers who take good care of them, 365 days a year.
It is essential to refuse a new initiative that will, as well as last year’s anti-farm initiatives, against the announced objectives and whose hidden objective is to end the production of meat in Switzerland, local or not. It is equally essential to defeat politicians who promise their constituents an import ban when they themselves fail to implement it. Finally, it is essential to reject a dogmatic text that will result in an increase in animal abuse and a decrease in respectful farms.