Switzerland rejects initiative to ban factory farming

Some of the 18,000 Lohmann Classic laying hens from the Gallipool Frasses farm are seen in the stall area ahead of a vote to ban factory farming in Les Montets, Switzerland, September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

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  • Voters reject proposal to ban factory farming
  • They slightly raise the retirement age for women to 65
  • They reject a proposal to scrap a tax on bond interest

GENEVA, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a proposal to ban factory farming in a referendum on the need to further tighten the wealthy country’s strict animal welfare laws.

The government’s VoteInfo app showed a provisional result of 62.86% of votes against the proposal, submitted to a referendum under the Swiss system of direct democracy, to make the protection of the dignity of farm animals such as cattle, chickens and pigs a constitutional requirement.

VoteInfo takes voting results data compiled by the Federal Statistical Office.

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“I voted no,” said Genevan Fabrice Drouin.

“There are farmers who do intensive farming with their animals but they respect animal welfare and to feed the population, you have to do factory farming, at least a little, otherwise we won’t be able to eat anymore of meat.”

In a second referendum, the Swiss narrowly voted in favor of a plan to reform old-age insurance, which would notably increase the retirement age for women from 64 to 65.

The agriculture proposal would have required the government to set stricter rules for caring for animals, including giving them access to the outdoors, and for slaughtering them. The requirements would also have covered imported animals and animal products.

The government rejected the proposal, saying such changes would violate trade agreements, increase investment and operating costs and raise food prices.

“I think in general people are self-regulating,” said Geneva native Florian Barbon, who opposed the initiative. “I don’t think we need a legal framework for that.”

In a third vote, 52.01% of voters rejected a measure that would have removed a withholding tax on bond interest introduced to prevent tax evasion.

Although investors can reclaim the tax, provided they disclose interest income on their tax returns, the government had argued that scrapping the levy would reduce administrative costs and make Switzerland more attractive to businesses. .

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Reporting by Cecile Mantovani Writing by Paul Carrel Editing by David Evans and Frances Kerry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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