NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

In August 2000 I was phoned and asked to contact the Swiss Embassy in Wellington, here in New Zealand. The reason for this was the overwhelming phone calls the Ambassador was receiving each day from concerned New Zealanders protesting at the fact that Switzerland was in fact exporting Saint Bernards to China for that country's abhorrent breeding programme for slaughtering these gentle giants for human consumption.

The Swiss, like the Chinese, are extremely protective of their image and, over the next few months, some interesting dialogue took place. The Ambassador wanted to do everything she could to help, asked for all the information I had at the time including videos which I sent her. It was even suggested that the Swiss representative to the United Nations in New York could add some weight to the situation with the Swiss Government. It should be noted however, that Switzerland is not a member of the United Nations and has Observer status only.

However things changed. At the beginning of 2001, Switzerland signed a huge trade agreement with China and the official announcement with regard to the dogs was that they could not interfere in another countries "culture" and therefore there was nothing they were prepared to do.

The above now confirms the position of the Swiss with the articles released by Blick, Switzerland's largest newspaper. The Swiss themselves are slaughtering their own dogs for human consumption, and have been for many, many years. It is also astounding to read that the Swiss think as the Asians do, that dog meat is a remedy for colds and asthma - This is absolutely total rot and these stupid "beliefs" have no place in any country, let alone a so-called civilised European country.

So....this situation poses a serious problem in that Asians have a valid reason for stating "but you eat dogs in your countries" and this is unfortunately a true statement. It would be interesting to see how the Monks in the Great Saint Bernard Pass who have bred the Saint Bernards for generations as rescue animals would feel about this latest information and what pressure they could put on the Swiss Government to outlaw this abhorrent practice.

We are now in the 21st Century. If we are to condone the human consumption of domesticated pets in Switzerland, then indeed we have fallen to the deepest depths of depravity - what is next? Humans themselves? It was reported widely recently (in January 2003) that the Chinese are eating human foetuses and doing so on national television. This practice has also been known about for a while as the foetuses from the hundreds of abortion clinics are sold to restaurants for human consumption yet no-one does anything. This is pure cannibalism and not even the Vatican is prepared to do anything. I know, I have written to the Pope on this issue. So the cats and dogs, my friends, depend on us, "We The People", as the United Nations Charter states so let We The People do something about it!

Now, this year, is the time for the people of this planet to make a concerted stand and say a resounding NO to the slaughtering of cats and dogs for human consumption. Let it indeed be so!

The Swiss, like the Asians, are very protective of their image and a "loss of face" is extremely embarrassing to them. I know this from my dealings with the Swiss Ambassador in New Zealand. So, how does the Swiss Government rate their international reputation? Let us find out!

Elly Maynard

Read the reports (translated into English) from Blick, a prominent Swiss newspaper. These links open in a new window.
30th July 2001   24th February 2002

What you can do

Send protests to the Swiss Federal Council, with copies to the Swiss newspapers. A list of postal addresses is at the bottom of this page (hardcopy letters are harder to ignore than emails), or use the following links to send emails. We have divided these into 4 sets to ensure that your emails are also sent to as many Swiss newspapers as possible. Just open each set and paste your email into it. Do this for all 4, and your message will be received by all of the Swiss Federal Council and over 60 Swiss reporters.

Email 1        Email 2        Email 3        Email 4

The following is a sample protest which can be copied and pasted into the emails, although if you could write an individual one, politicians seem to take more notice.

"Dear Councillor,

I was both shocked and horrified to learn that some Cantons in Switzerland are killing and eating their dogs, including the Saint Bernards, of which your country is so proud.

This atrocious situation must be urgently addressed. I understand (and do not condone) that some Asians carry out this type of barbarity on domesticated companion animals who serve mankind faithfully, but to hear that this practise survives in modern Switzerland is totally unacceptable.

Whilst I understand that Switzerland is not a part of any trading federation per se, you must be aware that your closest neighbours are the European Union. Every Member Country of the EU has banned the consumption of dog and cat meat. Should Switzerland at any time in the future wish to join the EU (or any other trading federation), I will actively campaign to deny your membership whilst you permit such abominations to take place within your country.

There is no excuse whatsoever for this practice to continue and I respectfully demand that your Government pass legislation in the very near future to make it illegal to slaughter dogs for human consumption.

I always believed that Switzerland was in every respect a model country even in its animal welfare laws. Actually Switzerland is reputable for having some of the best animal welfare laws in Europe. Apparently you forgot to include in these laws the protection of dogs.

Switzerland has always been renown for it's humanitarianism. I beg you not to allow this image of your nation to become tarnished.

Yours sincerely


Postal Addresses of the Swiss Federal Councillors

Federal Chancellor Annemarie Huber-Hotz
FCh Federal Chancellery
Parliament Building West, 3003 Berne
Phone ++41 (0)31 322 21 11 | Fax ++41 (0)31 322 37 06

Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey
DFA Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Parliament Building West, 3003 Berne
Phone ++41 (0)31 322 31 53 | Fax ++41 (0)31 324 90 48

Federal Councillor Pascal Couchepin
DHA Federal Department of Home Affairs
Inselgasse, 3003 Berne
Phone ++41 (0)31 322 80 33 | Fax ++41 (0)31 322 10 15

Federal Councillor Ruth Metzler-Arnold
DJP Federal Department of Justice and Police
Parliament Building West, 3003 Berne
Phone ++41 (0)31 323 51 29 | Fax ++41 (0)31 322 40 8

Federal Councillor Samuel Schmid
DDPS Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports
Parliament Building East, 3003 Berne

President of the Confederation Kaspar Villiger
FDF Swiss Federal Department of Finance
Bundesgasse 3, 3003 Berne

Federal Councillor Joseph Deiss
DEA Federal Department of Economic Affairs
Parliament Building East, 3003 Berne
Phone ++41 (0)31 322 20 07 | Fax ++41 (0)31 322 21 94

Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger
DETEC Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications
Parliament Building North, 3003 Berne
Phone ++41 (0)31 322 55 11 | Fax ++41 (0)31 311 95 76

The Swiss Reaction

The Swiss Public

The following comments were published in "Sunday Blick" on 3rd March 2002 in response to the article on 24th February (above).

"A dog lives to be loved and to be cared for. I can't understand how anybody is able to eat the meat of a companion, with which he often shared good and bad times over many years."
Werner Rüegg, Brüttisellen ZH

"It was courageous of Sunday Blick to publicise this bloodcurdling article. Being an animal welfare activist, and dog and cat owner, I felt sick while reading this article. Where's the reasonable cause to kill a healthy dog? In our country nobody has to starve! We animal welfare activists must protest, to put an end to this eating of dogs and cats."
A. Böhlen, Langenthal BE

"I am ashamed that such a thing is possible at all. Dogs are the most faithful, loveable and reliable creatures."
Ursula Fürst, Hausen a.A. ZH

"If somebody feels the need to eat a dog or a cat, he should be allowed to do so. The most important thing on the matter however is the byword: 'never abuse an animal for fun, because it feels the pain like you.' "
Roland Baur. Wichtrach BE

"The dog, whether a mongrel or pure-breed, wishes to be man's best friend. Is it possible to shoot the faithful animal and then eat it as a delicacy? Everyone's stomach should convulse with pain when gnawing on a dog's bone. As a tourist region we should pay attention, not to slaughter dogs and cats. In our country everybody has enough to eat and nobody needs to eat Fido or Mietzi."
Walter Kern, Hettlingen ZH

"There's much more dog meat eaten than one would think. Mostly the dogs are slain brutally. Why isn't the eating of dog and cat meat forbidden? In which century do we live? Where's the animal welfare, where the understanding?"
Patrick Smonig, Niedergösgen SO

"A juicy dogroast is still better than crocodilemeat!"
Ernst Baumgartner, Bern BE

"On my various trips to east Asia I have unknowingly "enjoyed" the consumption of dogmeat too! Consciously I would be disgusted. An appropriate ban probably wouldn't change anything. We have already enough bans anyway"
E. Oberhänsli, Ascona TI

"You are what you eat! Somebody who isn't ashamed to eat the luscious food, being produced nowadays, partly by torturebreeding, by factory farming that isn't appropriate to the species, or through forcefeeding, should content oneself with tofu and other vegetarian alternatives instead of howling like a wolf due to cravings for dogmeat."
Alice Zimmermann, Basel BS

"When I imagine what these animals have to go through, I could, out of anger, do the same with these human beings! I cannot understand how humans always consider themselves better and superior to animals! I think it's absolute disgraceful that this fate happens to animals in Switzerland."
Daniela Lussi, Littau

The following are some of the replies that have been received in response to our protests. We include them for your information, along with the email addresses of the senders. Please feel free to respond to any you wish to........

The Authorities

"Thank you very much for your complements regarding our Animal Welfare Law.

As far as the consumption of (dog) meat is concerned, you have to consider our foodstuff legislation, though. In paragraph 121 of the Foodstuff Decree you'll find a list of all animals of which you can trade the meat. As dogs and cats are not mentioned, it is illegal both buying and selling dog meat and cat meat.

Given these facts, it would only be possible to eat the meat of one's own dog or cat which is not very likely as dogs and cats do have, in our country, the status of pets and often enough even as best friend.

We hope this answer did convince you that eating dog or cat meat would, if it occurs at all, be the very exception.

Best regards

signed Urlich Kihm
Director of the Swiss Federal Veterinary Office"

"The question of whether dog meat should be allowed to be eaten or not is neither a question of human health protection nor of disease control but a question of the outlook on life.

As you may know, our Animal Welfare Law is at the moment submitted under a total revision and is going to be discussed in our parliament during this year. We are assuming that the questions that you are asking will be then brougt up into the discussion within the parliament.

Best regards

Myriam Holzner
Kommunikation / Communication
Bundesamt für Veterinärwesen BVET"
Please note that both of the 2 above responses came from the same email address. Please mark for the attention of the person to whom you are replying.

The Press

"Dog meat is delicious!"
From: "Cyprian Schnoz", Journalist

"I am more and more in the mood to try once to eat dog-meat, if you are torturing us all the time with this letter-campagne. I don't know anybody here around our place, who is eating dogs. And if: What would be so shocking about that? What makes dogs and cats to better animals than cows and chicken??? I think it is important, to treat the animals right if they are alive. But I don't have problems if people eat them. If you are so strictly against eating dogs and cats, I think you should stop to eat animals at all.

Do you have any facts about the dog-eating people in Switzerland? I would be very interested, because I have never heard about it. Perhaps you have wrong informations??? In which part do they live?

And by the way: Is a Saint Bernard a better dog than an other one?

Don't you think that we have bigger problems in the world at the moment?"

From "Blanca Imboden", Journalist

"stop sending me these e-mails immedeately, otherwise I have to contact a lawyer."
From "Gisela Femppel", Journalist

"good morning, all you concerned citizens out there in the civilized world

you're asking, why we swiss are eating dog-meat? well the answer is quite simple: because we feel the need to change our diet from time to time. as you well know, the swiss are also accustomed to kill, roast and devour their own kin and neighbours. and sometimes we just get sick and tired of human meatballs and sausages.

kind regards
nb. by the way: st. bernards - steamed with mint-sauce - make a delicious entree. try it, if you have the occasion."

From "Gubler", Journalist

We are not interested in your Mails! Please stop it!
From "Roland Rüttimann", Journalist

The comments above show an incredible range.

Most Swiss people would seem to want dog and cat eating ended, whilst the authorities are denying that there is a problem although they (generally but not always) admit the practice is legal. If it is as rare (or non-existant) as they claim, why not pass legislation to ban this and protect their country's international image?

The attitude of the journalists, by their expressions of anger and (hopefully) sarcasm, leaves us a little confused. We can only surmise that they are embarrassed by their unwillingness and/or inability to address this issue. If there are other Swiss newspapers with the courage of Blick, we invite them to contact us. We trust that media from other countries will not be so squeamish.

Please contact your local and national press to inform them of Switzerland's dirty little secret. The Swiss authorities need to be shamed into ending these inhumane and despicable practices.

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