Swiss petition pushes for pet prosecutors

The Associated Press

Lawyers in Switzerland could soon be serving a whole new demographic if legislators accept a petition from animal rights activists.

The Swiss agency for the protection of animals (PSA) submitted a petition Thursday to the federal government to introduce state lawyers for animals.

It made the request after having collected about 150,000 signatures, more than the 100,000 needed to prompt a referendum to introduce a new law.

The aim is to further crack down on the mistreatment of animals.

PSA said in a statement that while anyone who mistreats an animal can hire a defence lawyer, there is nobody to represent martyred or dead creatures.

The initiative proposes establishing animal lawyers in each state to investigate and represent victims in court.
The work of the lawyers will be backed by higher fines for violations of animal protection laws.

Referendums are the cornerstone of Switzerland's system of direct democracy, and citizens cast ballots several times a year on a wide variety of questions.