By Simon Marti – Blick
The trade in live African elephants is to be massively limited. But Switzerland is transversely.
Federal Councilor Alain Berset (47, SP) officially opened the United Nations Conference on Species Protection in Geneva ten days ago. It needs quick and clear answers to preserve biodiversity on the planet, warned the Swiss Interior Minister.
On Monday, the responsible committee of the Biodiversity Conference decided to limit the sale of African African elephants. Environmentalists are relieved. “A ban on the trade in live elephants is a great success for those who are committed to the protection of these animals,” says Vera Weber of the Fondation Franz Weber. “At last, the brutal practice whereby even young calves are separated from their mothers is outlawed.”
The representatives of the Confederation at the Geneva Conference, of course, see this differently. “Switzerland voted against limiting the trade in live elephants,” says Mathias Lörtscher, head of the Department of Species Protection and Third Country Imports at the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office and head of the Swiss delegation. “The passage used would be a precedent and would in fact prohibit the animals outside their natural range.”
Would zoos be affected as well?
Mathias Lörtscher says: “In principle this would also question keeping elephants in zoos.” There are facilities in Europe and Asia where elephants can live in an appropriate way.
The trade restriction could come up again next week in the plenary assembly. And be tilted. “The Swiss delegation will vote against this again,” says Mathias Lörtscher.
Vera Weber is incensed: “The fact that Switzerland opposes a ban is incomprehensible. The signal is devastating. “In the end, the animals would end up in zoos around the globe. In some countries, there can be no question of welfare, she says. “The elephants are suffering.”