Animals get a voice in Swiss politics
Swiss animal lovers have founded a political party to represent the interests of their four-legged friends, Swiss news agency ATS reported Sunday.
The Animal Party Switzerland was established on Saturday with an economist, a lawyer and the head of the Swiss vegetarian union as founding members, said the agency, quoting Thomas Maerki, who heads the new party.
The party -- which plans to contest elections next year -- has set up a page on Facebook with the slogan "because animals need a voice," and a pledge to "represent the interests of animals in politics and the economy."
Switzerland boasts strict laws protecting animals. It is illegal to flush goldfish alive down a toilet, and owners of some animals such as budgies and hamsters must guarantee that the animals have social companions.
Even sheep and goats must have at least a "visual contact with their fellows".
Earlier this year, enough signatures were collected to force a referendum on whether abused animals should be assigned lawyers. In the end, the initiative failed to muster a majority of votes.
© 2010 AFP