Horned Cow Initiative

On the 25.11.2018, the Swiss electorate voted on the Popular initiative ‘For the dignity of farm animals’ (Horned Cow Initiative).


Today around three quarters of cows and a third of goats in Switzerland have no horns. The share of hornless farm animals has increased over the last two decades as more and more farmers opt to keep their livestock in open pens, where the animals are easier to keep if they have no horns. Livestock can be made hornless in one of two ways: either through disbudding in the first three weeks of the animal’s life, or by breeding hornless animals.

The proposal

The Popular Initiative ‘For the dignity of farm animals’ (Horned Cow Initiative) was submitted by the Interessengemeinschaft Hornkuh in 2016. It aims to ensure that there are more horned cows and goats on Swiss farms. The initiative seeks to prevent farmers from opting to keep hornless animals on purely economic grounds. As it generally costs more to keep horned livestock, the Confederation should provide a subsidy to keepers of fully-grown horned cows, breeding animals, female goats and male goats used for breeding. The disbudding of young animals under local anaesthetic would still be permitted.

Last modification 11.07.2022

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