Sunday, March 7, 2010

Antoine Goetschel, the Fish Lawyer from Switzerland

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (Romans 1:24-25)

The Wall Street Journal ran an article yesterday about a national bill that is being voted on today in Switzerland regarding appointing public defenders for animals. If Sunday’s referendum passes, animals will have the right to be represented by lawyers in court. If they cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed at government expense. Below is a quote from the posting; to read the whole article, click here.

Last month, Antoine Goetschel went to court here in defense of an unusual client: a 22-pound pike that had fought a fisherman for 10 minutes before surrendering. Mr. Goetschel is the official animal lawyer for the Swiss canton of Zurich, a sort of public defender who represents the interests of pets, farm animals and wildlife. He wound up with the pike as a client when animal-welfare groups filed a complaint alleging animal cruelty in the fish’s epic battle with an amateur angler.

The case emerged after a local newspaper photo showed the fisherman proudly showing off the four-foot-long fish—a scene that, to Mr. Goetschel, was reminiscent of a safari hunter with his foot perched on the head of a dead lion. “It is this Hemingway thinking,” he says. “Why should this be legal when other animals have to be slaughtered in a humane way?”

The case revolved around the idea that the pike suffered excessively because of how long it took for the angler to reel it in. Mr. Goetschel lost the case last month, but is considering an appeal. Any further court action would come too late for the pike, which has been eaten. . . .
In 2008, Switzerland enacted one of the most stringent animal welfare laws in the world. Some examples of the rules include:

- Pet owners may not crop the tails of dogs or use sandpaper to line the bottom of a birdcage.

- Puppies may not be separated from their mothers before they are 56 days old.

- Birdcages must have horizontal bars so that the birds can climb.

- Horses must not be tied up and must be kept in close enough proximity to other horses to be able to see, hear and smell them.

- Hamsters must be kept in groups; ideally, owners should keep two or more females with one neutered male. Keeping only female hamsters is discouraged as they tend to fight without the presence of a male.

- Similarly, owners of parakeets must keep at least two of them. It is preferable to have even numbers of the birds, as they tend to fight if kept in odd numbers.

- Using choke collars on dogs is forbidden.

- Cats must have contact with humans each day. If that is not possible, they must have contact with other cats.


  1. I loved my dogs, because I saw them as gifts from God as my companions, at the time. To elevate them or any other animal is to look upon them as idols. It is a twisted world we live in.

  2. I'm all for supporting the prevention of cruelty to animals but just why is it that humans have to take things to the extreme? It seems to me that in this type of situation society loses by wasting it's resources on foolish pursuits. Why don't people stand up and fight this type of lunacy? Cara