Current facts

Intense – from birth to slaughtering

Farm animal husbandry mainly serves the production of milk, meat, and eggs. Cows, cattle, pigs, and poultry are kept in housing systems developed specifically for this purpose. These systems primarily serve the requirements of the animal owners instead of the animal’s needs. Technical equipment and infrastructure in the stables ensure the highest possible degree of automation and determine the behavior of the animals. With interventions such as the dehorning of the cattle the animals are adapted to their housing systems instead of vice versa. High population densities increase the likelihood of diseases spreading, and the lack of exercise and daylight as well as inappropriate stable climate call for the regular use of medication.


An uncomfortable journey to death

In Switzerland, the legal stipulations governing livestock transport are stricter than in the member states of the EU. Thus, cattle transports in Switzerland may not take longer than 6 hours. Whoever transports animals for commercial purposes must ensure that his or her staff be trained accordingly and receive further vocational training. For every livestock transport, one person must be designated as the person responsible for the welfare of the animals. Drivers and animal handlers must receive practical and theoretical training and are obliged to undergo further vocational training on a regular basis. Nevertheless, these transports are very stressful to the animals. Extreme weather conditions and the grouping of unfamiliar animals in collective transporters lead to additional stress for the animals, to injuries or death. The loading and unloading of the animals take place under time pressure and often lead to the animals being injured before and after the transport.


According to the Swiss Federal Animal Protection Ordinance, the international transport of cloven-hoofed animals on the road is prohibited. There is ground for hope that this prohibition will be added to the Animal Protection Act and that it will be expanded to include horses and poultry – something the Zurich Animal Protection Association has been advocating for quite a while.


On slaughtering days, in large slaughterhouses hundreds of animals are unloaded under extreme time pressure, in only a few hours. They are driven to the anesthetization stations, anesthetized, bled to death and then dismembered. The admissible anesthetization methods, as prescribed by the law and depending on the animal species, are a bolt or a bullet to the brain, electric shock, carbon dioxide gas, a blunt and powerful hit to the head, blunt shot-hit anesthetization, neck-breaking, or the mechanic destruction of the brain. Kosher butchering or slaughtering without anesthesia are forbidden in Switzerland.


In mass slaughtering, the devices often malfunction. Moreover, due to stress, staff often make mistakes. Although the killing and slaughtering of animals is regulated in great detail in chapter 8 of the Swiss Federal Animal Protection Ordinance, given common practice today, animal well-being cannot be taken into account sufficiently. Investigations on erroneous anesthetizations carried out in Germany affirm this.


Limitless production

Rind hinter dem Gitter in einem Viehtransporter
© Richard Schramm /

Additional Information

Additional information only available in German (here). Our apologies.