Voters in Switzerland Sunday rejected the Factory Farming Initiative, which would have banned factory farming for domestic and imported meat. 62.86 percent of voters decided against the proposal.
Sentience, an animal activism group, launched an initiative against factory farming in 2016. The initiative primarily focuses on the suffering of animals on factory farms and the negative effects of factory farming on the environment and human health. The Federal Constitution of the Swiss Federation requires a referendum for amendments.
The Swiss constitution requires legislation for the protection of animals, but the initiative sought to specifically protect the dignity of farm animals. The proposal would have required stricter minimum requirements for animal-friendly housing, care, outdoor access, slaughtering practices and maximum group sizes per pen. Approximately 80 percent of Switzerland’s meat market is domestic, but these requirements would have applied to imported animals and animal products, as well.
The Swiss government recommended against the proposal, stating that it would result in higher investment and operating costs and increase the price of all food of animal origin. Earlier this year, Swiss voters rejected an initiative attempting to ban all experimentation on humans and animals.