Do Animals Have Rights? In Switzerland, Lobsters Now Do

The Swiss extend rights to Lobsters, and probe the overall question, how should our emerging understanding of animal cognition affect the way we treat animals, and do animals have rights as a result of that cognition?

The new science of animal cognition is forcing countries to overhaul their laws

Swiss lawmakers, taking a cue from William Shakespeare and David Foster Wallace, have considered the lobster, and its ability to feel pain—and answered in the affirmativeAs of March 1, it will be illegal to boil lobsters alive, Swiss Info reported on Jan. 10. “Live crustaceans, including the lobster, may no longer be transported on ice or in ice water. Aquatic species must always be kept in their natural environment. Crustaceans must now be stunned before they are killed,” the new law provides.

The change is part of a broader set of Swiss rules grappling with the reality of animal consciousness. The new rules crack down on puppy farming, outlaw automatic devices that punish dogs for barking, and protect small, shy animals like guinea pigs by barring certain practices at pop-up, or temporary, petting zoos. Labs that use animals in scientific testing will also have to appoint animal welfare officers to ensure practices aren’t cruel.

The country has a history of being progressive on animal welfare issues. In 2008, Switzerland began requiring all prospective dog owners take a course in canine care before acquiring such a pet, and made it illegal to own just one guinea pig (they get lonely). Cats, horses, fish, goats and sheep each had a chapter devoted to them in 2005 Swiss animal protection legislation, which recognized that animals aren’t quite like other things we humans and our laws consider to be property.

Read More at QZ.com
About Paul Gordon 2930 Articles
Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at pg@istate.tv

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