How does the story with the wolf go?

“My, what a big mouth you have, grandmother.” “All the better to eat you with!” The wolf dressed as the grandmother had scarcely finished speaking when he jumped from the bed with a single leap and ate up poor Little Red Riding Hood. As soon as the wolf had satisfied his appetite, he climbed back into bed, fell asleep and began to snore very loudly. We all know how Little Red Riding Hood met her gruesome end. Never trust the big bad wolf was the message we all took to heart as young children.

Fairy tale will flirt with reality in May, when Switzerland decides whether or not the wolf is still big and bad. Voters are set to give their verdict on the Swiss Hunting Act and say whether we should continue to give full protection to the wolves that have repopulated the Swiss Alps and Jura mountains, or whether we should resort to shooting wolves to regulate their numbers and protect the livestock that they have been known to attack.

The Little Red Riding Hood story is still strangely relevant, because the wolf divides opinion. People demonise or idolise this controversial animal depending on what side of the debate they stand. On the one hand we have the animal-loving contingent from the low-lying cantons, who romanticise the wolf as a mythical symbol of the untamed natural world. On the other, the sheep-rearing, anti-wolf mountain farmers who want their livestock to be free of these deadly predators and who feel overlooked by Switzerland’s city dwellers. A new divide threatens to split Switzerland along rural and urban lines.

Of course, wolves care little for referendums. They are gradually reclaiming their natural habitat in the Alps and Jura mountains– and will continue to do so regardless of whether we put yes or no on our ballot papers. At least we hope they do. The creature also gives us hope amid the alarming loss of biodiversity and species that we increasingly see in countries such as Switzerland. We thought the wolf had disappeared. It hasn’t. Read the article on page 6 to follow its trail.

Voters on 17 May will also decide the fate of the “limitation initiative”, an issue with claws and teeth that is as far removed from a fairy tale as you can get. If the SVP initiative is approved, Switzerland will have to terminate the Swiss-European Union agreement on the free movement of persons (see page 10). The consequences would be far-reaching, especially for the 460,000 Swiss Abroad who live in the EU and are reliant on Switzerland and the EU having good relations.



Important notice

Please note that this edition of “Swiss Review” went to press in mid-February 2020, i.e. before the Corona pandemic had reached Switzerland. This means that the Federal Council, for example, has now postponed the votes that were scheduled for 17 May 2020. However, the background information that we have published for voters in this edition continues to apply. Marc Lettau, Editor-in-Chief


Comments (3)
  • Roger Zimmermann, United Kingdom
    Roger Zimmermann, United Kingdom at 10.04.2020
    The Swiss Review, being taxpayer funded, is a totally inappropriate medium for the furtherance of strong political views, such as the Editor's exposé of his own personal, biased opinion on the "limitation initiative".
    It is tantamount to instructing the reader on which way to vote on 17 May 2020!
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    • Arye Ophir, Israel
      Arye Ophir, Israel at 21.04.2020
      Wie ich verstehe, Sie wollen ein Journal ohne Meinung, in dem die Schreiber ohne Meinung schreiben, ein Journal auf dem geistigen Niveau einer Börsenkursinformation - und das wollen Sie dann auch noch lesen. Und wie nennen Sie diese Art von Kulturbereicherung?
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  • Arye Ophir, Israel
    Arye Ophir, Israel at 21.04.2020
    Mit meinem Kommentar "Corana kontra Filter" nehme ich Stellung zur Corona-Pandemie, die am Schluss des Editorials erwähnt wird:

    Teils belustigt, teils besorgt verfolge ich den Meinungskrieg in den Medien um die Schutzmaske in Sache Corona. Vielleicht ist es an der Zeit, dass die Meinungsmacher ihren Höhenflug mal abbremsen und auf den Boden der Realität zurückkommen, wie folgend nach meinem Vorschlag allerseits: Legt Euch mal zur Probe so eine hässlich-widrige Wattenpapiermaske an und spuckt gegen die Wand. Richtig, die Spucke kommt dort nicht an, aus dem einfachen bio-physikalischen Grund, dass jede Art von Maske unsere Oralausscheidungen effektive abfängt. Sie werden auch keine seriöse oder unseriöse Person finden, die das Gegenteil behaupten wird - schliesslich: Wer macht sich schon freiwillig selber in der Öffentlichkeit zum Idioten. Ergo, all jene, die gegen die Maske sind, tun das nicht aus bio- physikalischem Wissen zum Guten der Menschheit, sondern rein aus psycho-physikalischem allgemein schadhaftem Egodrang heraus.
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