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Swiss To Vote On Whether Animals Need Lawyers

I was first thinking if I should just add this to our good old veggie thread but then I thought it would definitely deserve an own thread!

So - let's hear it for the Swiss! Another referendum!

On Sunday, the Swiss will vote in a referendum to decide whether states should appoint special attorneys to represent animals in court. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, Zurich's animal-rights lawyer, Antoine Goetschel, speaks about the job, the vote's chances of success and why eco-friendly Switzerland needs even more animal-protection laws.

If enough Swiss citizens check the "yes" box in a referendum to be held this Sunday, cats, chickens and pigs across Switzerland will be entitled to state-appointed legal representation.

The Swiss Animal Protection (STS) league, which gathered the 100,000 signatures required for the referendum to be held, hopes that appointing attorneys to represent animals in court will lead people to take infringements upon animal rights and animal abuse more seriously.
The canton (or state) of Zurich appointed the first animal-welfare attorney in Protected content . But the model for the current initiative is Antoine Goetschel, a Zurich-based lawyer who was appointed to the position in Protected content . In this function, Goetschel acts much like a public prosecutor, representing the state's interests in animal-welfare cases. Over the last three years, he has worked on wide array of cases, ranging from the one about the woman with Protected content to the bizarre incident of the fish that a fisherman kept dangling on the line for too long.

Not everyone backs the plan. Farmers, hunters and pet breeders have voiced their opposition to the idea, believing it will result in more legislation and stricter rules, and some opponents have even launched a campaign called "No to the Useless Animal Lawyers."

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