A Promulgation of Social Rights for Animals

Advocates for Animals

In Switzerland, it is illegal to keep certain social animals, such as guinea-pigs, rats, gerbils and mice, on their own (without legal justification)[1]. Many might find this surprising, (eccentric even!) but despite this law being passed in Switzerland over a decade ago (2008), the discussion over affording social rights  to animals in law has thus far seemingly failed to pervade modern discourse. So, is it time, or even long overdue, that the social rights of animals are enshrined in law?

The Swiss ‘Animal Welfare Ordinance (AWO)’ provides legal rights for animals of gregarious (social) species to be allowed adequate social contact with others of their own species[2]. This law ensures gregarious animals do not have their social needs neglected, in line with the constitutionally enshrined idea of the dignity of living beings[3][4]. Whilst “social animal rights” can be considered a broad term, the…

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