Under a new Swiss law enshrining rights for animals, dog owners will require a qualification, anglers will take lessons in compassion and horses will go only in twos.
From guinea-pigs to budgerigars, any animal classified as a “social species” will be a victim of abuse if it does not cohabit, or at least have contact, with others of its own kind.
No one is to be allowed to keep a dog in Switzerland in future unless they follow a course in how to look after it properly.
Today, this legislation to this comes into force, although there will be a grace period of two years while the courses are set up.
It is not only dog owners who must take lessons; all those dealing with animals in a professional capacity, including farmers and animal transporters, as well as people keeping wild or zoo animals will also have to attend relevant courses.
As far as dogs are concerned, new owners will have to take two or three preliminary lessons before acquiring the animal, and follow this up with practical training along with the dog.
Specific types of animal " cats, horses, fish, goats and sheep - are given their own chapter in the legislation, to ensure that they are kept in conditions which do not lead to behaviour problems or physical defects.
Social animals, like guinea pigs and budgerigars, are also to get more protection: people will no longer be allowed to keep only one, and minimum cage sizes are being enlarged.
New provisions also ensure that farm animals have sufficient space to move around in, and it will be forbidden to keep any animal permanently tethered.
The Times: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3818457.ece