Yes, you heard right, Blog pals. Animals might end up with lawyers representing them in Swiss court cases!
If the referendum is approved in March, it will be a major triumph for animal rights activists.
Switzerland is already way ahead of most countries when it comes to animal rights. The country passed a law last year that recognized the rights of animals. Even guinea pigs, canaries and goldfish now have rights in Switzerland!
Lawyer Antoine Goetschel (pictured above, with a client!) has pushed hard for the law, which is opposed by farmers' associations, breeders and some in government. As Goetschel put it, "Humans accused of animal cruelty can hire a lawyer or get one assigned but animals can't. Which is where I come in." (Source)
Animal abuse laws are very strict in Switzerland. Goetschel tells the story of police busting down the doors of a house where a man was accused of beating his spouse. Not only was the man charged with wife-beating, but when the police noticed a solitary caged canary in the house, they also stuck the chump with an animal abuse charge because the bird looked lonely!
How cool is that?
Tough? Yes. Hell, if my family lived in Switzerland, we might get punished because our bearded dragon lives alone. But is it such a bad thing to overcompensate for generations and generations of animal abuse being overlooked? I don't think so.
Let's hope the referendum passes in Switzerland, if - for no other reason - than it would be great to see Antoine Goetschel become a Perry Mason for pets, a Clarence Darrow for donkeys, a Johnnie Cochran for cats!!!