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Switzerland’s Cats Are Disappearing for the Fur Trade

Switzerland’s Cats Are Disappearing for the Fur Trade

Despite efforts to stop it, Swiss animal advocates suspect the fur trade may be the cause of sad stories about cats disappearing.

A Swiss law designed to protect wildlife allows citizens to shoot feral and domestic cats that are more than 200 meters (656 feet) from their homes. While scientists believe free-roaming cats are responsible for killing millions of birds and other species annually, animal advocates believe the law is being used by some as an excuse to kill cats for their fur.

The fur is believed to be more than an accessory, as some claim that wearing it can cure rheumatoid arthritis – a belief borrowed from traditional Chinese medicine, although it has no scientific merit.

The advocacy group SOS Chats started an anti-cat fur campaign in 2007 after Tomi Tomek, one of the co-founders, used hidden cameras to expose 21 tanners around the country who were willing to illegally sell cat hides, reports The Verge. Tomek also discovered breeders who were selling cats for their pelts and blankets made from multiple cats that brought in more than $1,700 each.

Tomek told the New York Times in 2008 that one of the biggest obstacles to bringing attention to cat theft was that no one believed that it was going on until she obtained proof by posing as a buyer and brought the evidence to the media.

In 2007, the U.S. and the EU banned the sale of dog and cat fur, while Switzerland was grappling with the issue. In 2008, the country passed a ban on the sale and production of cat pelts following more undercover investigations by the French and Swiss media and growing public outrage. As the New York Times points out, even if they didn’t ban it they would have had to deal with the issue anyway that year because the country is bound by treaties that regulate trade.

More recently, cat advocates hoped that the Swiss Parliament’s debate over whether or not to ban the killing of all cats would end in their favor and save them, but last week MPs rejected the motion to outlaw cat hunting by a vote of 105 to 59.

According to The Local, supporters argued that hunting cats is cruel, potentially leaving cats only wounded, while also posing a threat to public safety, but the majority argued that changing the law and opting for alternatives, such as spay/neuter would be ineffective and costly to implement with an estimated 1.5 million stray cats.

Now cat advocates are hopeful that tougher penalties that were passed last month, which could result in fines of up to $20,000 for selling cat pelts, will be enough to help deter those in the business. The number of players has already reportedly declined, but the black market still appears to be alive and well.

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455 comments

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7:27AM PST on Dec 7, 2013

This is horrible! Please, everyone, stop buying fur!

2:19AM PDT on Aug 17, 2013

To Miriam - before making such generalized statements ... would it be asking too much if you'd read all the comments? There was an intense debate about the issue.

As for the "story" about eating dogs - aren't you confusing this with Asian countries? Aside from that - there are here and there reports about canibalism in the US and other countries ... or about importing/exporting poor people for organ trading ... or heinous attrocities against people as such ... or whatever else. Does this mean we can just disregard a country and its people as a whole and bash and slash them into the ground without even bothering to check?

I don't think so. Have a good day.

1:30AM PDT on Aug 17, 2013

STOP flying there, eating their cheese, buying their watches and whatever else they export.
I also read that they eat dogs in some Swiss places. What bastards, with all that aura of being more "civilized"than the rest of us...

10:52AM PDT on Aug 16, 2013

The best way to prevent this atrocity is DO NOT BUY FUR AND CHASTIZE THOSE WHO DO!

9:01PM PDT on Aug 15, 2013

So disgusting , horrible !!! Sick people !!! Poor cats :((( . Petition signed

5:46AM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

Disgusting.........I would not have expected this from Switzerland but then again, all countries have animal abuse. Anywhere there are humans there is abuse, neglect, torture and murder.

7:46PM PDT on Jul 17, 2013

YES STOP BUYING FUR

7:45PM PDT on Jul 17, 2013

so sad

7:43PM PDT on Jul 17, 2013

evil sickeing ppl. vile and u=inhuman everywear now money greed

3:30PM PDT on Jul 7, 2013

I wouldn't expect this from Switzerland...

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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