A gang of thieves is suspected to have targeted lambs in Canton Obwalden, central Switzerland.

 

"/> A gang of thieves is suspected to have targeted lambs in Canton Obwalden, central Switzerland.

 

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FARMING

Lamb thieves in action in central Switzerland

 

A gang of thieves is suspected to have targeted lambs in Canton Obwalden, central Switzerland.

 

Cantonal police in Sarnen, Canton Obwalden, said several lambs appear to have vanished in thin air over the weekend, leading authorities to suspect that a gang of lamb thieves is targeting the area. One animal was even slaughtered on the spot, said a report on the Corriere del Ticino newspaper.

The thefts center around the Giswil region, it said. Investigators have ruled out the possibility that the animals may have escaped on their own or have been victims of other animal predators.

 

FARMING

Shredding of live chicks to be banned in Switzerland from January 2020

The crushing of live male chicks is at the centrepiece of a number of new animal protection regulations to be passed in the new year.

Shredding of live chicks to be banned in Switzerland from January 2020
Photo: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP

A number of other changes to mass agriculture will also come into effect in January, including tracking sheep and goats, as well as greater restrictions on pesticides and more assistance available to farmers in the instance of drought. 

In industrial farming across the globe, male chicks are typically shredded a day after birth as they do not lay eggs and are of little value in factory farms. 

Although the practice is relatively rare in Switzerland, it will be formally forbidden from January 2020. 

READ: Germany allows the shredding of live chicks to continue

The law does include some exceptions for smaller egg producers, however if male chicks are to be put to death, this must now be done with CO2 gas. 

The Swiss House of Representatives, when passing the law, called the practice “absurd”. 

Technology exists which can determine a chick’s sex just nine days into incubation. Although this is used in the United States, Germany and elsewhere, it is as yet not widespread in Switzerland. 

Pesticide restrictions, helicopters for thirsty cows

The Swiss government has made army helicopters available to transport water for cattle in the instance of drought. 

Switzerland’s central animal trafficking database will now also track sheep and goats, with the animals to be given tracking ear tags. 

Furthermore, there will be restrictions on certain pesticides, with the carcinogenic Chlorothalonil banned from January onwards. 

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