Monday, March 15, 2010
In Switzerland, the official animal lawyer of Zurich, a public defender for animals, took the fisherman who landed a 22-pound pike to court. Representing the pike, the attorney argued that the 10-minute fight to land the 4-foot fish caused it cruel and unusual punishment. Seriously, the Swiss take animal rights very seriously. Obviously!
In the world's most neutral country, if you want to own a dog, you must take a four-hour course on the care and fair treatment of dogs and other animals before you can buy the pet. According to the law, social species like birds, fish and yaks (I once knew a guy who went yak back riding) must have companionship. Bird cages and aquariums must have at least one opaque side to make the occupants feel safe. If you must put a sick fish to rest, you can't just flush it down the toilet. You must mercifully give it a sharp blow to the head or immerse it in a water-clove oil-alcohol mix.
Now mind you, the Swiss are known for their kindness to animals... and their right-to-die laws. Each year, hundreds of humans come to Switzerland to kill themselves... presumably with a sharp, self-inflicted blow to the head or by submerging themselves in a vat of water-clove oil-alcohol.
Back to the pike... regrettably, it lost the case... but its attorney has filed an appeal. Any subsequent victory might be met with a high five fin-to-hand slap and a celebratory, majestic leap out of water... except for the sad fact that the pike had already been eaten... and it was delicious!
In a recent national election, Swiss voters rejected a referendum that would have mandated all 26 cantons to hire animal defense attorneys... guess they figured one for all of Switzerland was just right... either that or they feared that with 26 lawyers, animals could get the upper hand... er paw, fin, whatever.
Now I understand why sharks don't eat lawyers... professional courtesy.