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Swiss vote

In less than a month’s time Swiss citizens will be asked to decide whether to approve a countrywide ban on research using animals in a federal referendum.

In addition to a halt on biomedical research, the vote also asks for a stop to all imports into Switzerland of any new drugs or treatments developed using such testing.

Many in the Swiss life science sector fear that a range of medicines would no longer be produced in, or imported into, Switzerland, if there was a ‘yes’ vote.

There has been a strong reaction from Swiss academic, biomedical, healthcare and economic bodies, and a number of political parties, all calling for this referendum to be defeated with a dedicated ‘No’ campaign website (French and German).

Supporters even include the Swiss Society for the Protection of Animals and the Green Party, which believe the proposal is too radical.

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has produced a number of informative pages on animal research, while Interpharma, the Swiss pharmaceutical association, also has dedicated webpages opposing the initiative.

EARA executive director, Kirk Leech, said: “This is a crucial vote and EARA is supporting the ‘no’ campaign, including through our social media. We urge everyone in the Swiss biomedical community to lend their voice as well.”

EARA members SGV (Swiss Laboratory Animal Science Association) and SAVIR (Swiss Association of Veterinarians in Industry and Research) are organising an outdoor event on January 29, in Basel, Lausanne, Fribourg and Zürich to distribute material to the public. See also the flyer, a more detailed argument and the SGV flyer.

Also on 13 February, there will be a separate vote in the Canton of Basel on whether to grant fundamental rights to life to non-human primates. There is a separate campaign website to oppose this.

If Digest readers would like to add a message of support for the ‘no’ campaign they can do so on this website link.

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