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Local News Summary of August, 15th

  • Five years of success for dog beach at the Rhine
  • Old Baslers remember flogging at school
  • Biggest private beetle collection in the world officially handed over to the canton

Five years of success for dog beach at the Rhine

The cantonal vet Michel Laszlo had the idea to create a beach for dogs five years ago – and it has been a success story.

Baslers love to tell their guests that it is even possible to take a bath in a fountain in the city. This is a unique possibility which makes Baslers proud. However, dogs are banned from the fountains. Still, they too suffer from the heat and depending on the race they are keen swimmers. But for the last five years, dogs have had a beach of their own on each side of the river, reserved only for them. Here, they can have a swim around and cool down their paws. Each one is 30 metres in length.

No more complaints

The two dog zones are located at St Alban-Rheinweg and the Tinguely museum. There, dogs do not have to be on a lead. The two beaches are not exclusively reserved for dogs; other creatures with or without fur are welcome to visit. This caused complaints in the beginning, but they decreased over time. «I would say that Baslers are mostly happy with the bathing zones for dogs», cantonal vet of Basel-Stadt, Michel Laszlo, said.

Animal protection first

The idea comes from the cantonal vet himself: «First of all, animal protection was the motivation behind this idea, to make it easier for dogs to bear the summer heat in the city. Since bathing in fountains is forbidden for dogs due to hygienic reasons, it was obvious that the Rhine could be used. But this wasn't so easy», Mr Laszlo said. Since it can get hot in the summer and dogs have little possibilities to cool down, a solution for the problem was needed. «The bathing zones on both shores should fulfil the needs of dogs in both parts of the city», said the vet.

It wasn't easy to find a suitable location for the beaches, he added. «The choice was a challenge regarding safety issues, swimmers, and nature protection on both shores,» said the vet. According to the Rhine Police, dogs and their owners must have easy access and exit points along the river, so that the emergency services can save people who get into difficulty. Also the peaceful co-existence of dog owners and other people had to be considered. Some places at the Rhine are protected, while others are too steep.

Old Baslers remember flogging at school

Those who are around 60 years old will still remember the days when an angry teacher would gave a pupil a quick slap across the hands with a ruler or would box their ears. Up until the 1970s, school directors supported this kind of punishment.

While flogging was banned in Germany only in January 2000, in Switzerland students and parents already had possibilities to report such assaults. However, a strict law like in Germany is still lacking in Switzerland. Teachers whose hand «slips» still have to expect a warning, only those who do it repeatedly have to expect serious consequences. As the «Neue Zürcher Zeitung» wrote in an article published earlier this year: «Corporal punishment which doesn't exceed a line accepted by society is allowed». Imagine: In May 2017, the Federal parliament rejected a motion demanding a ban on corporal punishment.

The students’ fear

Despite the incomprehensible decision by our parliament, teachers who flog their students are very rare. Times have luckily changed. Let's look back 100 years. Until the start of the 20th century, it was self-evident that students were being flogged by the teacher. Rods or sticks were used in front of all students. Whether unsatisfying performance or defiant behaviour, teachers had the explicit right or even the duty to exercise corporal punishment for a pupil’s misbehaviour. In the schools in the city and countryside, teachers punished the misbehaving child in front of the entire class on its bare bottom. Sometimes around 100 students watched as some of the classes were that big. What a difference that today a class cannot have more than 25 children.

Biggest private beetle collection in the world officially handed over to the canton

The beetle collection of Dr. h.c. Georg Frey has long belonged to Basel, but only yesterday the canton Basel-Stadt has become the proud owner of the world-renowned collection.

The Natural History Museum of Basel has kept the beetles since 1997 but so far only on permanent loan. Yesterday they were handed over to the canton Basel-Stadt as its new owner.

Thirty years ago the association «Beetles for Basel» were founded with the only goal to take the biggest private beetle collection of the world to Basel.

The Frey beetle collection contains more than 120,000 different species and sub-species. This corresponds to around a quarter of all beetle species known today. With more than 47,000 type of specimens, the collection is especially valuable.