If you live in Switzerland, don’t allow your cuddly feline companion to roam too far from home. Do so, and a few days later, you might just find yourself filing a lawsuit against your cat’s killer. And you wouldn’t win.
In Switzerland, it is perfectly legal to shoot cats, whether they be feral or domestic. A cat that travels more than 180 meters away from its house is, according the Swiss government, a cat that “belongs to no one” and is liable to be targeted.
In the opinion of the government, reasons to support the shooting of felines are endless. Cats reproduce too many kittens when left free to wander. They spread disease by mating with feral cats. They cover the streets with their excrements. They are a threat to bird, reptiles and other wildlife. The list goes on.
Not even a petition signed by 13,700 people in June 2011 was enough to convince the government that perhaps, it had crossed the
line between practical and barbaric.
Perhaps supporters of this law don’t realise that most cats, when shot, do not instantly die. Many roam for days before passing away due to loss of blood. Those more “fortunate” may survive, but many wind up with mangled limbs. Not even the U.S.A., a country which allows the hunting of wild animals, has been able to eradicate the spread of disease and excessive reproduction among wild cats and dogs. Why should Switzerland have any more success than the United States?
In Italy, animal protection society ‘La Lav’s’ president Gianluca Felicetti declared that he was “shocked” at Switzerland’s decision, and believes that the only way of keeping the animal population under control is through sterilisation and medical treatment. These methods have had great success in Italy – why not in Switzerland?
Switzerland is so far ahead in technology, education, and human rights, but so far behind in terms of animal rights. Whether the Swiss government itself will come to see the cruelty of its stance towards animals is yet to be seen.