Main arguments for
the Primate Initiative

Icon für No more balancing of interests

No more balancing of interests

Non-human primates are our closest relatives. We have taken them out of their natural environment and into our society. It is therefore our duty to ensure that we take their needs into account. But their legal protection is insufficient today, as the core of their interests in life and in physical and mental integrity is not protected. Thus, through a so-called ‘balancing of interests’, even the worst experiments and husbandry methods can still be approved.

Icon für Primates suffer just like us

Primates suffer just like us

There is no question today that non-human primates—just like us humans—are highly sentient creatures. They are genetically very close to us, have a highly developed central nervous system, and have similar neuron and brain structures. Non-human primates also have a fundamental need to remain physically and mentally intact.

Icon für They have a complex emotional world

They have a complex emotional world

Primates possess a high level of social intelligence, the emergence and development of which can be attributed in particular to the demands of their complex social lives. For example, primates grieve for deceased acquaintances and feel empathy toward other mammals.

Icon für The time is now!

The time is now!

The initiative acknowledges the scientific knowledge about our closest relatives and recognizes the signs of the times. By finally enshrining the protection of non-human primates in the constitution, we prevent much suffering—today and in the future.

What the initiative does NOT demand:

  • Primates should get basic rights to life and to physical as well as mental integrity. They shall NOT get human rights. So they will not be able to vote, marry or receive welfare.
  • With the acceptance of the initiative the zoo will NOT be abolished. Even with the indirect effect on private individuals, primates may still be kept, provided their fundamental rights are guaranteed.
  • Biomedical research is also NOT made impossible by the initiative. The bill only requires that the rights to life and to the integrity of non-human primates be respected in research conducted by cantonal bodies. Private companies would not be directly affected.
  • After adoption of the initiative, non-human primates will NOT be able to do whatever they want. As is true for human fundamental rights, the fundamental rights of non-human primates are subject to certain recognized limitations. Thus, a restriction of fundamental rights is possible if it does not violate the core content, if there is a legal basis or if it is justified by a public interest or the protection of fundamental rights of third parties and if it is proportionate.