We have previously discussed the move to drop the use of the large cow bells that is part of the Swiss identity. Now local citizens in the canton of Aargau have moved to deny a passport to Nancy Holten, 42, because of her advocacy on behalf of the Swiss cows. It turns out that citizens and towns can object to the issuance of passports in Switzerland.
Holten who was born in the Netherlands, but moved to Switzerland when she was eight. She is fluent in Swiss German and her children have Swiss citizenship. That would seem ample reason for a passport. However, she is also a vegan and animal rights advocate. She has worked to educate people about the harm to cows by those large cow bells She has objected that some of these bells can reach 100 decibels and is like a cow having a pneumatic drill going around their necks. They can also weigh five kilograms or over eleven pounds.
Holten tried to get a passport in 2015 and it was approved by the local officials but then rejected by 144 out of 206 residents in a vote. It is an example of tyranny of the majority. This women is being punished because she cared deeply for these animals and has exercised her free speech rights on their behalf. Rather than counter her points, these residents are trying to bar her from traveling.
Urs Treier, a spokesperson for the local government administration in the village, said that people who stand out are outspoken and “cause the community to not want such a person in their midst.” And that is horrible, right? It is wonderful that the Swiss are so involved in civic decisions but there is a line between participatory politics and majoritarian tyranny.
What do you think?