In the case of factory farming initiatives, free range of livestock is a central issue. Initiators criticize that the federal government counts numbers with tricks.
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- With factory farming banned, all animals should be given adequate exercise.
- Various numbers are going around how many animals today are already getting it.
- Those taking the initiative find the arithmetical tricks of the federal government reprehensible.
With large-scale animal husbandry initiatives, animal rights activists want to ensure that “the constitutional dignity of the animal is respected”. This is necessary because large industrial companies are increasingly ousting traditional farms and systematically disregarding animal welfare.
Among other things, the Factory Farming Initiative requires that animals be kept at least in accordance with the 2018 Bio-Suisse guidelines. It also stipulates, among other things, that all animals should be allowed to roam in the open air regularly and what should be observed in detail for each animal species.
Number chaos for animals with a run
However, information on how many animals are already allowed to run today varies widely. The Federal Office of Food Safety and Veterinary Medicine (FSVO) writes on its website: In 2020, 78 percent of farm animals were able to go outside regularly. Initiators, on the other hand, complain that only 12 percent of all Swiss animals ever live in grasslands.
The discrepancy in these numbers is due to a different method of counting. Initiators count only those animals that are kept in accordance with the standards of the RAUS program (stands for “regular outdoor exercise”). Farmers receive more direct payments if they allow their animals to exercise as needed. According to Sentence, 11 million of the 86 million farm animals are kept according to RAUS standards—about 12.7 percent.
The RAUS program also serves as a calculation base for the federal government. However, animals are not counted individually, but in so-called Livestock Units (LU). Cow is the measure of all things and counts as GVE. However, 6 animals are required for one LU of fat pigs, 100 animals for laying hens and 250 animals for even fattening hens.
Is the welfare of a cow more than that of 249 chickens?
By this count, on a farm with 249 broilers and one cow, more than half of the animals would have access to exercise if only the cow could go outside, explains Philip Ryfe, co-president of Sentence Politics. “To be honest, we find this method of calculation reprehensible. An animal is an animal.”
Ryf acknowledges that calculating in LVEs makes economic sense when it comes to food or location. “In the context of the question of how many animals are allowed to exercise, this is completely absurd.”
Factory Farming Initiative: The Federal Government Doesn’t Count All Animals
But this trick alone can explain about half the difference. The Confederation counts the number of animals in Switzerland on a given date. According to this counting method, the number of animals for 2016 is more than 14 million. But 75 million animals were slaughtered.
The huge difference comes from the fact that stalls can sometimes be occupied by several animals several times a year, as the animals are killed only after a few months. In the case of fat pigs, about 3 so-called activities are considered, in the case of fattening chickens it is 7 per year.
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“This trick with deadlines is also dishonest,” criticizes the campaign manager of the Factory Farming initiative. “If the initiative is accepted, all the animals will have to go outside. This would give 88 percent of all animals, who today have to live their short lives without looking at the sky, to all have a pasture. ,
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