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Old 24.04.2015, 10:09
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Zermatt bans use of St Bernhards for Tourist Photos

From the 20 Minuten:

Zermatt has finally taken steps against the conditions under which St Bernhards have been kept and used for tourist photo ops, banning the practice.

http://www.20min.ch/schweiz/news/story/26096409

And an earlier article over the complaint by Schweizer Tierschutz:
http://www.20min.ch/schweiz/news/story/11605739


From the second link: According to Tierschutz, the dogs have been kept in inappropriate conditions:

Die Hunde werden laut STS in einem Abbruchhaus gehalten. «Ohne fliessend Wasser und vermutlich ohne Strom und ohne Heizung. Der angrenzende, als Zwingerauslauf genutzte Garten ist mit Kot und Urin verschmutzt», schreibt der STS in einer Medienmitteilung. Weiter müssten die Hunde auf ausgedehnte Spaziergänge, artgerechte Beschäftigung, Sozialkontakte und Streicheleinheiten verzichten.

Roughly:

According to STS the dogs are kept in a derelict house, without running water and presumably without electricity and heating. The garden used as a kennel run is contaminated with feces and urine. The dogs are not given appropriate exercise or stimulation, they are not given appropriate social contacts.

---

Wearing my animal welfare hat:

I'm glad to see that steps were taken, however the comment at the end of the article worries me: The fate of the now 'unemployed' dogs is uncertain.

While I am certainly no fan of practices like these, I wonder why a ban was instituted rather than steps taken to improve kennel and work conditions, so that the dogs were allowed to live 'artgerecht' lives. Or I wonder given the ban, why the dogs were not taken into official care.

I hope that the dogs will be rehomed, that the authorities will follow up on what happens to them now. I know that it is difficult to rehome St Bernhards in Switzerland, despite them being a national symbol. Few people are able to care for them appropriately.

---

And a bit of absurdity:

Damit Touristen auch in Zukunft nicht auf Schweizer Symbolismus verzichten müssen, überlege man sich bereits Ersatzangebote. Laut Bürgin könnte zum Beispiel ein Alphornbläser in die Bresche springen und sich mit den Feriengästen ablichten lassen. Denkbar wäre auch, dass die Mitarbeiter der Foto-Anbieter aktiv werden. Diese könnten sich als Bernhardiner verkleiden. In Disney-Land mache man das ja auch so.

(Roughly)

So that tourism is not deprived of Swiss symbols in the future, alternatives for photo-ops are being considered. For instance, an Alphorn player might spring into the breach to pose for tourists. Or an employee could dress up as a St Bernhard dog. As in done in Disneyland.


Erm...
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