The Social Network Animal

We all seem to be part of social networks these days, indeed it is proving more and more difficult to avoid them. Movies are being made about social networks, devices are being marketed based on their social network capabilities, the phrase itself is becoming ubiquitous. I heard the following item this week and had to look into it more. It seems that in Switzerland (and Switzerland is a veritable font of information for Slaw), Guinea Pigs (amongst others such as budgies and goldfish) have been identified as a “social species” that are protected by law. That is, in Switzerland, a person cannot own a single guinea pig, by law you must have two. If one dies, then you must procure another, giving rise to novel business opportunities.

In Switzerland article 80 of the Federal Constitution states:

Art. 80 Protection of animals

1 The Confederation shall legislate on the protection of animals.

2 It shall in particular regulate:

a. the keeping and care of animals;
b. experiments on animals and procedures carried out on living animals;
c. the use of animals;
d. the import of animals and animal products;
e. the trade in animals and the transport of animals;
f. the slaughter of animals.

I’ve done some cursory searching for an English source for the specific law in question but have yet to discover one, please feel free to add a link in the comments if you find one. All of this does beg the question of whether or not there might be a technological solution for lonely guinea pigs, perhaps a smart phone equipped with social network apps?

While the Swiss are leaders in animal rights, they have, interestingly, turned down the option of allowing animals to have lawyers, substitute your own joke here: ___________________________

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