It was no longer a big surprise when the Council of States rejected the initiative "Yes to the ban on animal and human experimentation" on 7 June. In doing so, it followed its preliminary consultation committee, which was unanimously against the initiative to ban all research on animals and humans. Maya Graf (Green Party/BL) also voiced her support against the initiative: "[This popular initiative] is extreme, harmful to our research and innovation location, and useless for the next steps of action we should take together on the issue of animal experiments." In the final vote, both the Council of States, by 42 votes with 2 abstentions, and the National Council, by 195 votes to 0, recommended rejecting the initiative. The popular vote will take place at the end of 2021 at the earliest.
The possible role of science in crisis
Much has been discussed and written recently about the relationship between science and politics. The trigger for these discussions is the activity of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force and its strong media presence. At the political level, various initiatives have been submitted that would like to use the expertise of science in future crises.
In the summer session, the Council of States dealt with the proposal of Olivier Français (FDP/VD). He proposes to set up a permanent platform of scientific experts who deal with major risks. The Council of States now wants to take stock of the situation and discuss various approaches on how science can be better integrated into crisis prevention or organisation. It has therefore assigned the motion to its Committee for Science, Education and Culture for preliminary consultation.
Campaign against harassment at the two Federal Institutes of Technology: concerns already fulfilled
The Council of States rejected the National Council's proposal to quickly implement an awareness campaign to combat harassment at the two Federal Institutes of Technology. In its view, the concern has already been fulfilled. The Federal Council has supplemented the strategic goals for the ETH Domain to this end and instructed the ETH Domain to implement a corresponding campaign in 2021. The two Federal Institutes of Technology and the four research institutes will launch this campaign during the autumn semester.