The selfie may have finally met its match in Switzerland. Legendary Zermatt laid down the law this week, banning cellphone self portraits with the region’s iconic Saint Bernard dogs after a Swiss animal advocacy group accused the resort of animal cruelty. Wait, what?
“Zermatt has shown that it loves animals and it will put an end to the contemptible and dangerous shows these dogs were made part of by being used as tourist props,” said the Swiss Animal Protection Agency (SAP) in a statement released to The Telegraph.
The announcement is part of a larger inquiry from SAP regarding the treatment of the rescue dogs-turned-tourist attractions, including an ongoing 2012 investigation into the poor living and working conditions of the animals. While resort and advocacy parties remain in relative stalemate, they both agree that animal selfies needed to go, effectively disallowing the shots on the peaks of Gornergrat and Sunnegga.
“We have been able to convince providers that it is not right to continue to offer pictures in that way,” said Zermatt’s mayor, Christoph Bürgin, in a radio interview.
Believe it or not, the Saint Bernard case isn’t skiing’s only brush with the selfie epidemic this year. Earlier this season in two separate incidents, skiers fell from severe heights while taking pictures of themselves on their smart phones—a 28-year-old Australian man at Grand Targhee, and a 14-year-old who survived an ensuing 1,640-foot fall in the Austrian Alps—leading to a lucky few breaks and bruises as well as negative Instagram points.
So far there has been no reported penalty for taking pictures with the dogs, but we can guess it might cost you more than a few apres beers at the Brown Cow. My what a strange world of skiing we live in. —Kade Krichko