“Basic rights for primates”- Referendum in Switzerland

A very special vote is scheduled for February 13, 2022 in the canton of Basel-Stadt (Switzerland).
The people of Basel will then decide on the “Basic rights for primates” initiative. But what is it actually about? Who is for and who against? You can find out more about this here:

What does the initiative “Basic rights for primates” want?

The cantonal people’s initiative by Sentience Politics demands that over 300 primate species be given a “right to life and to physical and mental integrity”.
These include, for example, gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans.

Who is for the introduction?

The initiative comes from the association Sentience Politics. He fights for the rights of sentient animals. Living beings that can feel happiness or suffering are meant as sentient.

According to the association’s reasoning, animal protection does not go far enough here. For the supporters of the initiative, the relationship between primates and humans is particularly important: “They are genetically very close to us and, like us, have a highly developed central nervous system.”
Therefore, these animals are particularly worthy of protection.

Who is against fundamental rights for primates?

The initiative met with a lot of rejection, especially in politics. The government council even had it declared invalid in 2018.
The case ended up in the federal court, which admitted the submission. Parliament and government of Basel-Stadt are of the opinion that the rights of primates are already adequately regulated in the Animal Welfare Ordinance.

The Association of Swiss Zoos also rejects the initiative on the grounds that animals need protection and not human rights.
If the initiative were implemented, comprehensive protection of particularly endangered monkey species would no longer be possible (!!!)

On the national level, on February 13, Switzerland will also vote on the ban on animal testing, among other three issues.
This initiative wants all animal experiments to be stopped in Switzerland.
In addition, according to the initiative text, products that have been tested on animals should no longer be imported.


And I mean…Over three hundred other primate species are our close relatives – the so-called “non-human” primates.

Despite the large overlaps that we have with them, such as maintaining family life, cultural rules, social rituals, friendships, strong communicative understanding, complex learning processes, empathy and feelings, non-human primates have no self-determination for us humans.
Because the Animal Welfare Act always subjects the treatment of animals to a weighing of interests.

People have rights, animals are property.
They are used for entertainment and research, and cannot defend themselves against exploitation and excessive interference in their lives.

The worldwide extinction of species and the loss of biodiversity also show that in order to adequately protect animals and nature, we need to rethink and treat them differently than we have done up to now.
The initiative therefore calls for restricted rights for all non-human primates in the canton of Basel-Stadt: the right to life and the right to physical and mental integrity – no more, no less.

The animal protection legislation – but not only in Switzerland – is completely inadequate and is hardly implemented.

Primates have no autonomy and are abused for human purposes, yet politicians want to claim that” primate rights are already sufficiently covered by the Animal Welfare Ordinance”.
They would have to explain that to us again.

Should species affiliation determine how one is treated, or level of sentience?
The latter is the rational answer.
Because if a living being can feel pain and suffer, there is no reason that could justify this suffering that we humans inflict on animals in animal experiments or in industrial livestock farming.

The initiative wants to tackle and minimize as much as possible this grievance that exists
We are already looking forward to the voting campaign in Basel!

My best regards to all, Venus

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