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Swiss reject ban on animal testing in referendum


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A mouse is seen in a plastic box at the Laboratory Animal Services Center (LASC) of the University of Zurich in Schlieren, Switzerland, February 7, 2022. Picture taken February 7, 2022. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

By John Revill

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss voters looked set to clearly reject a campaign that aimed to make Switzerland the first country to ban experiments on animals, according to early projections by state broadcaster SRF on Sunday.

Only 21% of voters were in favour of the animal experiment ban, with 79% against, in the nationwide referendum held under the Swiss tradition of direct democracy.

Supporters had wanted to halt tests, saying they are unethical and unnecessary, but ran into opposition from the country’s powerful pharmaceuticals lobby, which warned of the economic damage such a ban could cause.

“I voted no, clearly, because I worked in a lab, and I know the reality on the ground,” Clement Rohner, from Carouge, a town close to Geneva.

“We would all like to stop testing on animals, unfortunately, it is absolutely still not possible nowadays. And so, we have to keep going with animal testing.”

In another vote on Sunday, voters were set to approve further restrictions on tobacco advertising, with 57% in favour according to SRF projections.

The restrictions would see a ban advertising in newspapers, cinemas, the internet, at events, and on billboards, with supporters saying such adverts encourage youth smoking.

“I’m in favour because it’s a shame people are starting (to smoke), it’s a social phenomenon and it does not do good to anybody,” said Angela Margeuron, also from Carouge.

“We hear constantly that people end up in hospitals or die or that they have huge health issues, but still advertising is still here, of course it’s about money, as always.”

The government was facing defeat in the other two votes on Sunday.

Its proposal to scrap the 1% tax on raising equity was opposed by 63% with only 37% in favour, according to projections Its plan to increase financial support for the media was opposed by 56% of voters versus 44% backing the plan, SRF said.

Swiss look set to reject animal testing ban in referendum

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