Franz Weber (activist)

Last updated

Franz Weber (in the 1970s). Franz Weber by Erling Mandelmann.jpg
Franz Weber (in the 1970s).

Franz Weber (27 July 1927 – 2 April 2019) was a Swiss environmentalist and animal welfare activist.

Environmentalist someone who supports the goals of the environmental movement

An environmentalist is a supporter of the goals of the environmental movement, "a political and ethical movement that seeks to improve and protect the quality of the natural environment through changes to environmentally harmful human activities". An environmentalist is engaged in or believes in the philosophy of environmentalism.

Animal welfare the well-being of (non-human) animals

Animal welfare is the well-being of nonhuman animals. The standards of "good" animal welfare vary considerably between different contexts. These standards are under constant review and are debated, created and revised by animal welfare groups, legislators and academics worldwide. Animal welfare science uses various measures, such as longevity, disease, immunosuppression, behavior, physiology, and reproduction, although there is debate about which of these indicators provide the best information.



Franz Weber began his career as a journalist and reporter. After his studies of philosophy and linguistics at the Sorbonne University in Paris, he worked from his Paris office from 1951 until 1973.

Sorbonne historical monument

The Sorbonne is a building in the Latin Quarter of Paris which was the historical house of the former University of Paris. Today, it houses part or all of several higher education and research institutions such as Panthéon-Sorbonne University, Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris Descartes University, École pratique des hautes études, and Sorbonne University.

Weber became actively interested in ecology and conservation in 1965, when he learned about efforts to conserve the Swiss mountain region, the Engadine Valley of the Lakes. [1] Weber decided to invest himself in the rescue and safeguarding of this region by beginning an international press campaign. At the end of a seven years battle by Weber the Swiss Federal Government declared the Engadine Valley of the Lakes a "National Conservation Region" and put it under the State's protection. [ citation needed ] [1] In order to be able to launch further campaigns, he quit writing for money and devoted himself entirely to the conservation of natural sites of special beauty and value [1] in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Slovenia and Hungary, as well as endangered species in South America, Canada, Australia, Africa and Europe.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

He founded the Franz Weber Foundation in 1975. The board is composed of 5 international personalities with Weber as president. [1] The Foundation has today over 230,000 supporter members.

In 1997, in the presence of Émile Gardaz, Jean-Pierre Thiollet and some other personalities, the township of Delphi appointed him a Citoyen d'honneur.

Émile Gardaz Swiss writer

Émile Gardaz was a Swiss Romand radio moderator and author from Villars-le-Terroir, canton of Vaud, Switzerland, working for Radio suisse romande since 1955. He was the father of the comedian Sophie Gardaz.

Jean-Pierre Thiollet French author

Jean-Pierre Thiollet is a French writer and journalist.

Delphi archaeological site and town in Greece

Delphi, formerly also called Pytho (Πυθώ), is famous as the ancient sanctuary that grew rich as the seat of Pythia, the oracle who was consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. Moreover, the Greeks considered Delphi the navel of the world, as represented by the stone monument known as the Omphalos of Delphi.

In 2014, Weber announced his retirement from the foundation, with his daughter Vera to succeed him in running it. [2]

Weber was married to Judith with one daughter, Vera, and lived in Montreux, Switzerland. [1] He died on 2 April 2019 in Bern at the age of 91. [3]


Franz Weber by Erling Mandelmann - 3.jpg
Puidoux, (Chemin de la Dame) Plaque commemorative Franz Weber a Puidoux (Lavaux).jpg
Puidoux, (Chemin de la Dame)

In the 1970s and 2000s, Franz Weber launched three cantonal popular initiatives for the complete protection of the Lavaux region and two of them directly succeeded. [4] In 2007 the vineyard landscape of Lavaux was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. One of the Foundation's first international campaigns in defence of animals was the fight against the yearly slaughters of seals on the coast of Labrador in Canada, The campaign, which started in 1976, included a trip with French film actress Brigitte Bardot and 75 newspaper reporters to the Labrador seal hunting grounds. [ citation needed ] In 1983 the European Economic Community banned all importations of baby seal pelts into the EEC.

In 1978, the Council of Europe in Strasbourg appealed to Franz Weber to save ancient Delphi in Greece from destruction by an American-Greek project of industrialization. [ citation needed ] Weber created the successful international movement, "Save Delphi" and within only a few months stopped the project. [ citation needed ] When, in 1986, Delphi is again threatened by industrialization "Save Delphi" was successfully revived. In 1997, in recognition of his merits and campaigns, the city of Delphi named Weber Honorary Citizen and Protector of Delphi.

In 1983, Weber battled against the destruction of the alluvial forests of the Danube between Hainburg and Vienna in Austria to build a hydro-electrical complex. [ citation needed ] His Foundation invited 40 European journalists to Vienna and to draw international attention to the project. On Christmas 1984 the Austrian government stopped the project and in 1995 Chancellor Franz Vranitzki decides to "offer the water forest region of the Danube to the coming generations as the first Austrian National Park". [ citation needed ]

Also in 1983, parallel to the Danube campaign, Weber saved the turn-of-the century Grandhotel Giessbach on Lake Brienz near Interlaken from destruction by raising the funds to purchase the property. He then entrusted it to the Swiss People as a place of culture, of meeting and of rejuvenation. [ citation needed ]

In 2008, a referendum initiated by Weber to end Swiss Air Force training flights over "tourist areas" (virtually the entire country) to reduce the "impact of noise pollution", was soundly defeated by a vote of 68.1%. [5] Weber, who referred to the Air Force's newest jet fighter, the F/A-18 Hornet, as "oversized, ineffective, and ruinous to our country", proposed the use of simulators to replace air operations.

On 12 March 2012, the "Franz Weber initiative" was accepted by 50.6 percent of voters. It aims to reduce urban sprawl by limiting the number of second homes (with a quota of twenty percent per commune). [6] [7]

Also in 2012, the Franz Weber Foundation launched an international campaign against bullfighting. The campaign is called “Childhood without violence”, and focuses on the Latinamerican countries that allow bullfights, and in particular draws attention to the effects on minors of witnessing bullfighting. [8]

Franz Weber Parks

In 1989, the Franz Weber Foundation purchased Bonrook Station, a former cattle station near Pine Creek, Northern Territory, which it has since developed into a sanctuary for brumbies and native wild life. Backpackers worked on the sanctuary improving the grounds for food and board. The grounds have now sadly been unmaintained for quite a few years as funding was cut and now is kept in order by only a couple workers. Tours and dinners are no longer held there. [9] In 1990, the Togolese Government approached Weber with an appeal to save Togo's last elephants. [ citation needed ] A convention was signed which placed the National Park of Fazao-Malfakassa into the care of the Franz Weber Foundation. [10] [11]

Prizes and honours

Source [1]


Books by Franz Weber:

A biography about Franz Weber was written in 2004 by René Langel:

See also

Related Research Articles

Canton of Vaud Canton of Switzerland

The canton of Vaud is the third largest of the Swiss cantons by population and fourth by size. It is located in Romandy, the French-speaking western part of the country; and borders the canton of Neuchâtel to the north, the cantons of Fribourg and Bern to the east, Valais and Lake Geneva to the south, the canton of Geneva to the south-west and France to the west.

Lake Brienz lake in Switzerland

Lake Brienz is a lake just north of the Alps, in the canton of Berne in Switzerland. It has a length of about 14 kilometres (8.7 mi), a width of 2.8 kilometres (1.7 mi) and a maximum depth of 260 metres (850 ft). Its area is 29.8 square kilometres (11.5 sq mi), and the surface is 564 metres (1,850 ft) above the sea-level. It is fed, among others, by the upper reaches of the Aare at its eastern end, the Giessbach at its southern shore from steep, forested and rocky hills of the high Faulhorn and Schwarzhoren more than 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) above the lake, and by the Lütschine, flowing from the valleys of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, at its south-western corner. It flows out into a further stretch of the Aare at its western end. The culminating point of the lake's drainage basin is the Finsteraarhorn at 4,274 metres above sea level.

Chexbres Place in Vaud, Switzerland

Chexbres is a municipality in the Swiss canton Vaud, located in the district of Lavaux-Oron. Chexbres is a wine-growing village and enjoys a good selection of local vintages. It also enjoys notable views of Lake Geneva, and therefore is nicknamed "Balcon du Léman" in French.

Forel, Vaud Place in Vaud, Switzerland

Forel is a municipality in the Swiss canton of Vaud, located in the district of Lavaux-Oron.

Grandvaux Former municipality of Switzerland in Vaud

Grandvaux is a former municipality in the Swiss canton of Vaud, located in the district of Lavaux-Oron. The municipalities of Cully, Epesses, Grandvaux, Riex and Villette (Lavaux) merged on 1 July 2011 into the new municipality of Bourg-en-Lavaux.

Puidoux Place in Vaud, Switzerland

Puidoux is a municipality in Switzerland in the canton of Vaud, located in the district of Lavaux-Oron.

Saint-Saphorin Place in Vaud, Switzerland

Saint-Saphorin is a municipality in the Swiss canton of Vaud, located on the shore of Lake Geneva, in the district of Lavaux-Oron.

Brienz Place in Bern, Switzerland

Brienz is a village and municipality on the northern shore of Lake Brienz, at the foot of the Brienzer Rothorn mountain, and in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. Besides the village of Brienz, the municipality includes the settlements of Kienholz and Axalp.

György Cziffra, was a Hungarian virtuoso pianist and composer. He is considered to be one of the greatest pianists of all time. Among his teachers were István Thomán, who was a favourite pupil of Franz Liszt.

Lavaux Switzerland

Lavaux is a region in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland, in the district of Lavaux-Oron. Lavaux consist of 830 hectares of terraced vineyards that stretch for about 30 km along the south-facing northern shores of Lake Geneva.

United Animal Nations (UAN) has been used as a name for two distinct institutions concerned with animal welfare:

Tiger conservation

The tiger is an iconic species. Tiger conservation attempts to prevent the animal from becoming extinct and preserving its natural habitat. This is one of the main objectives of the international animal conservation community. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has played a crucial role in improving international efforts for tiger conservation.

Antonio Mignucci Puerto Rican scientist

Antonio A. Mignucci is a biological oceanographer and veterinary technician specializing in the biology, management and conservation of marine mammals. He is the founder of the international non-profit conservation organization Red Caribeña de Varamientos dedicated to the care, treatment, and rehabilitation of injured or stranded marine mammals, sea turtle and sea birds. As a scientist, Mignucci is an expert in endangered tropical marine mammals and a specialist in the West Indian manatee, and since 2009, the director of the Puerto Rico Manatee Conservation Center.

Fazao Malfakassa National Park national park

Fazao Malfakassa National Park is the largest of three national parks in Togo, the others being Kéran and Fosse aux Lions. It is situated between the Kara Region and Centrale Region in semi-mountainous wetland, and forms part of the border with Ghana. The Fondation Franz Weber was authorized by the government to manage the park for 25 years, beginning in 1990 and ending in 2015.

Miniature cattle are found in various parts of the world. Some, such as the Dexter of Ireland and the Vechur of Kerala, India, are traditional breeds; others have been recently created by selective breeding. The Australian Lowline was the unexpected result of a scientific experiment. Some, but not all, miniature breeds display achondroplasia, or dwarfism.

World Wide Fund for Nature international non-governmental organization

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961, working in the field of the wilderness preservation, and the reduction of human impact on the environment. It was formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States.

SAVE Foundation company

SAVE Foundation was founded 1993 as a European NGO that acts as an umbrella organisation for the conservation of agrobiodiversity in Europe.

Santuario Equidad is an animal sanctuary created by the Fondation Franz Weber (FFW) in San Marcos Sierra, Córdoba Province, in the centre of Argentina.

René Morax Swiss actor

René Morax was a Swiss writer, playwright, stage director and theatre manager. He founded the Théâtre du Jorat in Morges in 1908, and promoted historical and rural theatre in French in Switzerland. He is known for the play Le Roi David, with music by Arthur Honegger.