Parliament: The idea of ​​a “free for the horns” of cows resurfaces


A committee of the Council of States on Tuesday supported a motion asking for the payment of a contribution for the maintenance of the horns in certain species.

Ranchers who maintain the horns of their cattle could still get a boost from the state.


Remember: the Swiss had rejected 54% in November 2018, the initiative “For the dignity of farm animals” which wanted to modify the Constitution in order to grant financial support to farmers who renounced to remove the horns from their cows. The vote caused a stir, and was widely reported in the foreign media. But the idea returned to Parliament in the form of a motion by Senator Roberto Zanetti (PS/SO) tabled in March 2021. Motion which has just found a favorable echo with the Commission for the Economy and Royalties of the Council of states.

No place in the Constitution

The text, accepted Tuesday by 8 votes against 4, asks to include in the ordinance on direct payments the payment of an “appropriate contribution” for the maintenance of the horns in the species concerned. For the senator, the people had a lot of sympathy for the initiative. But he refused it in 2018 because the idea of ​​a “franc for the horns” had no place in the Constitution. In addition, some feared that this subsidy would come at the expense of other categories of direct payments.

“Resolving this issue in the Direct Payments Ordinance and moderately increasing the expenditure ceiling for the payment of direct payments takes into account the two main objections raised against the horn cow initiative”, believes Roberto Zanetti .

The commission therefore followed him. She felt that a change in the ordinance would put the contribution for maintaining the horns at the right level and that the motion would go a long way towards improving animal dignity in agriculture. A minority, however, rejected the proposal, fearing it would lead herders to tether their horned cattle to reduce injuries. This would go against the efforts made in favor of free stalling and outdoor outings.

The Chambers will have to decide.


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