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Insurance for Pets

Figures 2019: Mild penalties for animal welfare violations and trivialization of sheep – Insurance for Pets


The fact that animal welfare procedures have increased is good news for the Tier im Recht (TIR) ​​foundation. This number has been increasing for 20 years, which indicates that the implementation of the Animal Welfare Act is generally taken more seriously, according to a statement.

Big cantonal differences

There are differences between the cantons both in terms of the absolute number of animal welfare procedures and in relation to the number of inhabitants. In absolute terms, most of the proceedings took place in the cantons of Zurich (314), Bern (310) and Aargau (184).

However, there were fewer proceedings per 10,000 inhabitants in the Canton of Zurich in 2019 than the cantonal average, which is 2.19 cases per 10,000 inhabitants. The canton of Glarus tops this list, followed by Graubünden, Lucerne, St. Gallen and Solothurn.

Most commonly affects pets

51 percent of the registered animal welfare procedures concerned pets, followed by farm animals with just under 32 percent. The TIR suspects a large number of unreported cases in the experimental animals.

Mostly dogs or cattle

By far the largest number of animal welfare violations against dogs in 2019. In second place is cattle.

The possible penalty is rarely exhausted

The TIR criticizes that violations of the Animal Welfare Act are often only punished mildly. The communication speaks of trivialization. Fines of up to 20,000 francs for violations and up to three years imprisonment and fines with a daily rate of up to 180 francs would be possible.

Deficiencies in the cantons

In terms of content, the animal welfare penal system has difficulties with the distinction between cruelty to animals and other violations of animal welfare law. According to the TIR, not all cantons transmit their data to Animal welfare penal system to the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO), which leads to a high number of unreported cases. Such deficiencies are less common in cantons, where special enforcement structures and competent specialist bodies have been created.

You can find the full analysis and other related documents here.

Sheep needs are underestimated

As part of this year’s analysis, the Tier im Recht (TIR) ​​foundation dealt more closely with the protection of sheep. The needs of these animals are often underestimated, as they are generally considered to be robust and frugal. «Even significant restrictions on the well-being of the proverbial silent sufferers are often hardly recognized or only recognized very late », writes the TIR.

Sheep need protection from the weather

It is especially important when keeping sheep outdoors, which is animal-friendly, to provide the animals with permanent protection from the weather. Here, the legal provision is interpreted in such a way that animal keepers only have to intervene if the welfare of the sheep is impaired. Cases of lack of weather protection in winter were only qualified as a violation and not as animal cruelty in 2019.

More controls on the Alps needed

The TIR criticizes that the law allows a reduced control frequency of summer sheep. This is despite the fact that more than 4,000 are estimated to perish or have to be redeemed because of injuries or illness. Therefore, increased controls are « urgently needed ». There was not a single procedure in 2019 due to insufficient supervision of damage during summer pasture.