12.06.2018
Vera Weber

The Factory Farming Initiative Kicks off Today

Pigs fattened to sickening proportions. Overfed, sick hens forced to perch in the narrowest of spaces. In Switzerland too, this is everyday life for many animals: it’s miserable, but it’s legal. There’s no doubt that this kind of industrial factory farming should already be a thing of the past, and that is why Fondation Franz Weber is backing the ‟No factory farming in Switzerland” initiative launched today.

17 hens, so overfed that they can hardly stand up, packed into a space measuring just one square metre. 10 pigs, each fattened up to weigh 100 kilos or more within a horribly short time, jammed together in a space the size of a single car parking spot. These examples of factory farming are not only permissible by law in Switzerland, but also – despite all the whitewashing by the meat lobby – customary practice. For example, if dogs were kept as it is legal daily life for pigs, there would be an indignant outcry. Yet pigs are really no different to dogs in terms of cognition, or the need to exercise and play.

No animal should have to live in the conditions described above. That’s why Fondation Franz Weber (FFW), together with 13 other organisations, is backing the Swiss initiative launched by Meret Schneider and her association „Sentience Politics“ ‒ called „No Factoring Farming in Switzerland“, or in short „The Factory Farming Initiative“. On the occasion of a big launch, the campaign was presented to the general public on Tuesday, June 12th, 2018.

Factory farming is defined as a form of agricultural animal husbandry in which the wellbeing of the animal is systematically violated for economic reasons. We see this particularly in the fact that large groups of animals are kept in tiny spaces, which severely impedes them from following their natural behaviours.

Therefore, our goal is simply no factory farming in Switzerland: Animals should not be factory farmed and this should be anchored in the constitution.

In the long run, factory farming not only harms the animals. In order to produce „concentrated feed“ huge swathes of rainforest are cut down and the seas are plundered. Due to the large amount of fees produced by the animals, the climate suffers, drinking water is contaminated, our soil becomes ruined. Switzerland has long been enduring a ‟slurry emergency”, caused by factory farming. Some cantons are even forced to „export“ liquid manure. In addition, factory farming products also damage human health because they are contaminated with chemical and medical residues such as antibiotics.

„For all these reasons, industrial factory farming is no longer sustainable“, says Vera Weber, co-sponsor of The Factory Farming Initiative and president of FFW. „Animal protection, nature protection and a healthy diet are now trends that have become embedded in the public consciousness and can no longer be stopped. The Factory Farming Initiative has come at the right time. Signature collection has begun. And time is on our side.“