.- Switzerland has now become a country in which the unborn are less important than plants and animals. The country’s Federal Ethics Committee is encouraging the defense of the “dignity” of plants, and Parliament has approved a law granting animals unprecedented rights.
According to a report on LifeSiteNews.com, the Swiss Parliament passed a law last week requiring prospective dog owners to complete a course in canine treatment that will include both theoretical and practical elements. Due to concern over recent studies suggesting the pain experienced by fish, anglers are now subjected to a preparatory course on humane fishing. The new laws will also dictate how farmers treat their livestock and even regulates the proper treatment of rhinoceroses.
"The aim is not only to ensure treatment of animals appropriate to each species, but also to decrease the risk of attacks by dangerous dogs. Inappropriate treatment could lead to behavioral disorders," explained Hans Wyss, head of the Swiss Federal Veterinary Office.
The Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on non-human biotechnology has been working to determine what kind of research respects "plant dignity" enough to be eligible for government funding.
"At the moment not even authorities who decide on grants know what the 'dignity of plants' really means," committee member Markus Schefer said.
LifesiteNews.com reported that most committee members consider interference with a plant's reproductive functions undignified, making some plant geneticists concerned that the committee could greatly hinder traditionally accepted genetic engineering, such as commercial seedless fruits or the hybridization of roses.
The added protections afforded to plant and animal life stand in sharp contrast to the Swiss government's recent disregard for the life of the nation's unborn. In June 2002, the country decided to allow women to abort their children during the first trimester, provided a doctor determines that she is in an ambiguously defined "state of distress."