Switzerland Denies Free Legal Representation to Animals
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The New York Times has reported that on Sunday Swiss voters decided animals are not entitled to free legal representation. The proposal, a ballot initiative, wanted to appoint 25 or more lawyers to represent abused animals in Swiss courts throughout the country. Currently only Zurich provides such representation.

Antoine Goetschel, the single lawyer in Zurich doing such work, feels that a backlash  may have led to the defeat of the proposal. Goetschel mainly represents dogs but the Times reports he branched out and represented a dead fish in a case in Zurich recently when a fisherman was accused of torture after it took him ten minutes to land a pike. The fisherman bragged about the 22 pound catch to a local newspaper and a state prosecutor charged him with causing excessive suffering to the fish.

The initiative reflects the political stratification that exists in Switzerland over animal rights. The country already has some of the most stringent laws against animal abuse in the world, including a 160 page animal protection law detailing the treatment of exotic and non exotic animals like Mongolian gerbils, African clawed frogs, pigs, budgies, goldfish, horses and dogs.



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