Swiss Animal Protection Act

Animal protection standards make fur farms impossible

In Switzerland, it is forbidden to keep foxes and minks in cages. These animals may be kept in enclosures. Two Red foxes must be ensured a space of 100 m²; two smaller foxes (e.g. Arctic foxes) an enclosure that is 40 m² in size as well as the possibility to dig. Two minks are to be allocated a space of 15 m² and the possibility to bathe. This makes it uninteresting to use these animals commercially for fur production in Switzerland.


On September 1, 2008, the revised Animal Welfare Ordinance entered into force. Together with the Animal Protection Act that was revised in 2005, these legal texts form the basis for the housing and handling of wild animals. A principle states that it is forbidden to cause an animal unjustifiable pain, damage or suffering nor may it be caused fear or anxiety. It is also forbidden to neglect, overtax or mistreat animals.


In addition to the basic stipulations applying to the animals, the Animal Welfare Ordinance also comprises special chapters on wild animals. With the exception of domestic animals, these chapters apply to all vertebrae (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals) as well as to cephalopods (e.g. cuttlefish) and crayfish. The chapter on wild animals spans articles 85–96 and comprises stipulations on the requirements placed towards the keepers of wild animals, authorizations, feeding, commercial and private holding and much more.


Appendix 2 of the Animal Welfare Ordinance contains detailed stipulations on the holding of wild animals. It does not list cage sizes but does describe equipment such as pools, climbing structures, lightening as well as stipulating regulations towards group size or the monitoring of the animals.


In 1998, the Swiss Federal Veterinary Office (BVET) published a brochure on the keeping of wild animals. This brochure emphasizes that the former minimum requirements towards the housing of wild animals in Switzerland are not optimal. It also describes the differences in housing that lead to animal suffering. These binding minimum requirements were defined in the seventies: Back then, this could only be described as a highly recognized international pioneer work. Today, however, the scientific insights and revised laws from then have become obsolete. One will be disappointed to state that in today’s fur production countries, even the Swiss laws of the seventies are far from being adhered to. In terms of animal welfare and respect for other living beings, farm and trap fur production can only be described as the dark Middle Ages of animal protection.


Laws for wild animals


The animal protection law