During the spring session, the National Council clearly recommended the rejection of the popular initiative "Yes to the ban on animal and human experimentation". Now it is the turn of the Council of States. Its preliminary advisory committee unanimously spoke out against the initiative, which intends to ban all research on animals and humans. It can therefore be assumed that the Council of States will follow its commission and also recommend rejection of the popular initiative. The popular vote will take place at the end of 2021 at the earliest.
A muzzle for science - or better to use their knowledge?
Through the activities of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force, the relationship between science and politics has become an important topic with the public and in parliament. During the spring session, for example, there was the so-called "muzzle debate" in the National Council. Politicians wanted to prohibit the Task Force and its members from communicating publicly, or at least severely restrict this.
Various initiatives are now going in the opposite direction and want to use the expertise of science in future crises as well. For example, Matthias Michel, an FDP member of the Council of States from Zug, would like to create an interdisciplinary scientific network for crisis situations. And his colleague from Vaud, FDP State Counselor Olivier Français, proposes setting up a permanent platform of scientific experts who deal with major risks. The aim is to give the authorities access to the latest scientific findings so that they can take informed decisions. The Council of States will deal with his proposal on 8 June. Matthias Michel's proposal was already adopted last year. The Federal Council is now preparing a report on how science can be more closely involved in crisis management by the federal administration.
Campaign against harassment at the two Federal Institutes of Technology
The Committee for Science, Education and Culture of the National Council submitted a motion in January: The Federal Council should instruct the ETH Board to quickly implement an awareness campaign to combat harassment at the two Federal Institutes of Technology. The background was the project "Paye ton EPFL" by the student association Agepoly. In it, various students gave an insight into how they experience sexual harassment or homophobia on campus. The National Council supported the motion. However, the Council of States will most likely reject it. In his opinion, the request has already been fulfilled, as the two Federal Institutes of Technology and the four research institutes are currently working on campaigns they will launch in autumn.
Animals in research
Information and documents on the topic of "Animals in Research" - for example, on the 3Rs (Reduce, Refine, Replace) principle or the severity levels - can be found on the site of swissuniversities.