July 2013: Despite being belatedly banned in Switzerland, the fur trade in domestic cat pelts, still exists on the black market for three reasons:
- It is lucrative – a blanket made of up to 12 domestic cat pelts can be worth more than $1,700
- You can still shoot domestic cats if they are more than 200 metres from their home — shock, horror, I never knew that. Is that really the case?
- Some Swiss believe that wearing a domestic cat fur garment can cure rheumatism — more shock horror. This is the sort of thing some Chinese still believe. In China up to 2 million cats per year are killed for their fur. Staggering and awful. The Swiss appear to have adopted the Chinese traditions. There must be an historical connection of some sort; probably ancient trading. It would seem that this disturbing idea that has no basis in fact mainly exists in the older citizens of Switzerland. As they die out so will the demand.
The three bulleted points above pretty much sums up why the fur trade that was banned in 2008 continues on the black market.
Thankfully, it appears that the trade is much reduced since the days before the ban. In an effort to eradicate it altogether the Swiss government have increased the penalty for selling a cat pelt to 20,000 Swiss francs (about $21,700 USD).
However, prosecutions for trading in cat fur are virtually non-existent and therefore enforcement is weak. This is because it is a low level crime despite the high quality of animal welfare law and attitudes in Switzerland. The Swiss really are advanced in respect of animal welfare except for the aberrations referred to above (if they are true).
The “aberration” in the law that allows a person to shoot a cat when straying 200+ metres from home will be debated in Parliament with the intention of removing it. Yes, that would seem to be a good idea.