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In Switzerland, Even Dead Fish Have Legal Counsel

March 5, 2010 By: Marshall Cutchin

As we reported two years ago, the Swiss seem to have their hearts set on some sort of national statement about the suffering of animals — including angler-caught fish. In this morning’s The Guardian, Leo Hickman profiles Antoine Goetschel, the government-paid lawyer assigned to represent puppies, rabbits and pike in court. (“Not even a vet can act on behalf of an animal in court.”)
Lined up against Goetschel are people like senator Hannes Germann, who succeeded in getting a ban on the building of minarets in Switzerland last year. (“We have bigger issues to fight than this.”)
Hickman’s in-depth examination begs reading if you’re at all interested in the intersection between sporting tradition, politics and ethics. (By the way, Hickman has also pondered (squeamishly) the thought of lab-grown meat — which is what we all might be eating if we depend on legislators to decide what a sentient being is.)