An increasing number of hamsters are being taken to the animal hospital in Zurich, prompting authorities to issue guidelines for the owners.

 

"/> An increasing number of hamsters are being taken to the animal hospital in Zurich, prompting authorities to issue guidelines for the owners.

 

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ANIMAL CRUELTY

Hamster explosion at Zurich pet hospital

An increasing number of hamsters are being taken to the animal hospital in Zurich, prompting authorities to issue guidelines for the owners.

 

Hamster explosion at Zurich pet hospital
Maarten Dirkse

According to a report in the daily 20 Minuten, 51 hamsters needed to be treated at the local animal hospital last year, almost twice as many as in 2003.

Experts estimate there are about 10,000 hamsters in Zurich apartments.

“Hamsters are very popular pets,” the paper quotes Kathrin Herzog, a researcher at the Zurich Animal Protection charity as saying. “They are small, seemingly need little space and you can keep them without needing a permit in a rented accommodation.”

The popular pets however appear to be often mistreated. “Half of our hamster patients are sick because they are not held properly,” vet Marcus Clauss from Zurich University is quoted as saying in the report. Even when the owners act with their best intentions, such as when they feed the animals, they end up causing harm and make the pets overweight. “Few people know that hamsters are not a toy to play with, but a pet to watch and observe,” Herzog was quoted as saying.

Zurich Animal Protection said it is issuing guidelines to help owners get familiar with the most appropriate rules to keep the furry pets healthy and happy, the paper said.  

ANIMALS

EXPLAINED: Why a plan to shoot deer at this Basel City cemetery is causing a storm

A plan to shoot several deer who live in a cemetery just a few kilometres from the centre of Basel is causing a stir in Switzerland.

EXPLAINED: Why a plan to shoot deer at this Basel City cemetery is causing a storm
One of the deer at Basel's Hörnli Cemetery. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

In May 2020, cantonal police in Basel City approved a request from city gardeners to cull several deer who live at the canton’s Hörnli Cemetery (Friedhof am Hörnli). 

Animal rights advocates have challenged the request, saying the deer should be protected. 

The cull has been suspended after an appeal was made to the Justice and Security Department of Basel City. 

The deer have lived at the cemetery – Switzerland’s largest – since it was built in 1926, although city records indicate that the deer population was “manageable” in the early days. 

The population has increased in recent years from 15 to 25.

The cemetery spans 54 hectares with space for 60,000 graves and is situated just metres from the Swiss-German border. 

Deer snacking on flowers at Basel's Hörnli Cemetery. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

‘A culinary paradise’ 

Advocates of the cull plan have said it is necessary for the ‘conservation’ of the cemetery. 

They argue the deer destroy gardens at the cemetery, leading to additional costs for maintenance. 

The risk of diseases its also increased due to the animal’s close proximity. 

In a plan more reminiscent of a spy thriller than a conservation effort, the ‘targeted kill’ is set to take place after dark which “should be done with silencers out of consideration for the peace and quiet of the grave and the adjacent living quarters.”

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports that the cemetery is a “culinary paradise” for the deer “with its variety of flowers and other plants”. 

‘Killing innocent animals just for eating flowers’

The animal advocates who launched the appeal gathered 18,000 signatures to suspend the effort. Among the supporters is French actress Brigitte Bardot, who wrote to the cantonal authorities demanding that the deer be protected. 

Fondation Franz Weber, which has been previously successful with animal protection efforts in the canton, has criticised the cull plan for “killing innocent animals just for eating flowers”. 

Private hunting is banned “as a matter of practice” in cemeteries all across Switzerland, said cantonal authorities. 

Switzerland is set to go to the polls in a referendum on hunting practices in September of 2020, although this is not related to the decision on the deer in the cemetery. 

 

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