Date: October 14, 2007
Origin: Swiss Fur Association

The cold season will soon be here, and with its arrival animal protection organisations announce themselves again loudly vocally and in writing. Like every year they will not pass up an opportunity, using all means, legal or illegal, to proceed against wearers of fur articles and against the fur shops in our country. Lately an apparent increase of such activities has been noticed. Activities, which are often unfair, ever more fervent and even violent against humans and objects.

Recently, however, two trailblazing decisions have taken place, which set a clear signal for future efforts by animal right organisations in respect of communications.

Last winter, the animal right organisation 'pro Animali' launched a poster campaign condemning the seal hunt. The poster showed a white, blood-smeared young seal. Against this campagne 'SwissFur' submitted a complaint to the Swiss integrity commission, reasoning that the illustration of a white young seal is misleading.

Hunting these young animals is illegal, likewise since 1987 the trade thereof and the federation -already since 1967- voluntarily stopped the import of these skins. Customs statistics confirm this. In accordance with the Federal law against unfair competition (UWG) anyone acts unfairly, who hampers traders, commodity, works or achievements by incorrect, misleading or unnecessarily harmful expressions. The Swiss integrity commission decided therefore that this poster falls under this principle, since no young seal fur can be acquired rightfully in Switzerland, and since the products of the specialised fur trade are generally represented (by activists) in such doubtful manner. In future this kind of communication will no longer be possible.

A second decision was taken by 'UBI' (independent appeal instance for radio and television). The television station 'Tele Zueri' reported a campaign by the 'Animal Defence Association Zurich' regarding their "fur free" label. The report showed how animal protection activists visited fashion houses to publicise this 'label' and used a fur shop in Zuerich for filming.

Although the owner requested the activists clearly to leave the shop and forbade the transmitting of the filming, the TV station nevertheless showed the scenes, showing the owner and the female employees who could clearly be recognised.

'UBI' upheld the complaint with the reason that the photographs served only to show up the persons concerned and make them vulnerable and went against the principle of the established legal broadcast protection for the privacy of an individual. Here the constitutionally guaranteed privacy protection was breached, in particular the protection of private personal space. This safeguard likewise contains the protection from the publication of private data, which also includes pictures.
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