Swiss Political Group Gets Far-Right Rival's Goat With Mascot Kidnapping

BERN, Switzerland -- A Swiss far-left group sparked a political war by kidnapping a goat that was used as a mascot by the country's far-right party just a week before federal elections, Le Matin newspaper reported Monday.

The goat, named Zottel, was stolen from the home of right-wing SVP lawmaker Ernst Schibli on Friday night.

The far-left Anti-fascist Action group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and issued a statement Monday accusing the goat of "complicity in spreading racist paranoia" and "general hostility to the proletariat."

Schibli reported the theft of the goat to authorities, and police were investigating. The lawmaker said the goat was the target of a death threat last year, in which it was described as "the fascist goat Zottel," news website The Local Switzerland reported.

The SVP said in a statement that it was "appalled" by the theft of Zottel, along with a second goat called Mimo, and called for the immediate return of the animals.

Zottel, 10, rose to prominence when he was used as a mascot in the 2007 federal election, in which the SVP won a record 29 percent of the vote. He has made several political appearances since then, and the party planned to use him before Switzerland goes to the polls Sunday.