Swiss hunting law puts species protection at risk

On September 27th 2019, the Swiss Parliament passed a revised Hunting Law. The law, which will place the fate of Swiss wildlife in the hands of hunter, has many opponents. Originally the law was designed to offer a pragmatic solution to ‘handle’ wolves, but now it threatens all Swiss wildlife. The opposition called for a referendum against the law, which was to take place in May this year. Due to circumstances, the Swiss postponed the voting, which will take place on September 27th. We stand with all those members of the parliament, environmental organisations, foresters, hunters and locals who speak up to vote NO!

No place for protected animals

The Hunting Law places the Swiss wildlife under more pressure, opening the door for indiscriminate killings. As the law states, the ‘regulation’ of animals can take place before individuals have caused damage. This means that each Swiss canton can shoot protected animals whenever they think it is needed. Without needing the consent of the government, cantons can regulate entire populations of protected species this way.

Nature reserves will no longer provide a safe place for animals. The new law will allow killing of animals in reserves even if they do not cause any damage. The killing will also be possible if people do not implement proper protection measures to prevent damages, such as livestock protection. Basically, the Swiss will shoot protected animals because they exist.

Threatening biodiversity and people

Under the new law, the Federal Council can easily adjust the hunting status of protected species. It means that animals with year-round protection can get a hunting season without prior approval of the parliament, nor input from the public. Species that are at risk are for example the beaver, lynx, otter, gray heron and mute swan. Other endangered species, including the brown hare, black grouse, ptarmigan and woodcock will also not be spared. Even the organised fox-hunts can continue as they are.

There are several species that play a crucial role in the Swiss ecosystems, which will come under large pressure. Animals like the lynx and the wolf hunt mostly roe and red deer in the Swiss forests. The deer therefore change their behaviour, avoiding mostly open places with young trees. Hereby, as a result of the lynx’ and wolf’s presence, the forests become healthier. Healthy forests are important to protect people as well, especially in Switzerland for preventing landslides.

Voting NO on September 27th, 2020

It is obvious that this Hunting Law is a threat to the Swiss wildlife. Therefore we support the call to all Swiss voters to say NO on September 27th. It is no longer about the disputes between city and rural people, it is not an attack against hunters. It is to stop the law that will harm the entire country as it will weaken the species protection as a whole. For more information in German, French or Italian, please visit the website below.

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