As with any enforced change, we’re likely to hear more from veterinary professionals, as well as pet owners, about the pending Swiss pet housing and care regulations. There will no doubt be friends, and opponents, of the plan.
We’ve all heard that No Man is an Island, and according to the Swiss Federal Council on September 1, 2008, no guinea pig or budgie should be either.
The new regulations aren’t targeted solely at owners of cavies and budgies, but include 175 pages of rules that apply to circuses, farms, and zoos, as well as individuals that own other domesticated pets.
Advocates of the new rules, prospected to be compulsory in September 2010, include the animals whose care is in question, as well as those worried about unemployment rates in Switzerland. There will be manpower required to enforce these rules, as well as trainers needed to teach pet owners.
Though established with the welfare of our furry friends in mind, these upcoming Swiss pet regulations have been met with a certain dose of cynicism.
Naysayers question the potential of these 175 pages to bring order. Case in point,
How can minimum enclosure sizes for budgies and guinea pigs be uniformly implemented?
How will a literal ban on canine possession for those who haven’t completed a dog ownership course be imposed? What will happen to dogs whose owners are disobedient?
How will inhabitants of Geneva, where tight dog ownership regulations are already in force, react to 16 hours of additional required instruction?
Farther out of the budgie budget are minimum cage size obligations for large animals, such as elephants and rhinoceroses. Sanitation guidelines relate to zoos and circuses, which the Swiss government reserves the right to insist on.
Farmers are likely to zoo out about the imminent enforcement. Some regulations are established, like the ban of chicken cages since 1981, but others might come as a shock. Continuous tethering of animals is now out of the question, while swine have get the right to showers on warm summer days and spotless pens all year round. And horses, like guinea pigs and budgies, will no longer be living solitary lives.
In the same way, breeders are going to have to rear a new viewpoint in regard to care of animals on their properties.
The most recent Swiss animal ownership rules will not go into full effect until September of 2010, and until they do, the Swiss administration wants to stress their wish to encourage education, rather than to implement with a strong arm. This, however, does not point toward a lax attitude on their part, when penalties are called for. If an event, such as a dog bite, calls for action, action will be taken.
You may own a seemingly indiscernible pet, like a budgie or guinea pig, or a run an association that displays the largest land mammal alive. Whichever way, be prepared for education, restrictions, and tougher conditions
The best plan of action for any animal owner will undoubtedly be to familiarize him or herself with regulations that apply to their specific animal ownership situation.
Whether you’re a lifelong Geneva citizen or a newcomer to Switzerland, animal ownership instruction is not an option, it’s the law.