On the 13 June 2021 the Swiss electorate will vote on the Popular initiative “For clean drinking water and healthy food – No subsidies for using pesticides and prophylactic antibiotics”.
Farmers who wish to receive direct subsidies from the federal government must comply with a range of environmental conditions. This proof of ecological performance includes requirements relating to plant protection, the use of fertilisers, animal husbandry and biodiversity. The initiative committee believes these requirements do not go far enough. In its opinion, direct subsidies support a system of agriculture that damages the environment and pollutes our drinking water.
The initiative aims to better protect the environment and drinking water. Direct subsidies should only be paid out to farmers if they meet the following requirements: they must not use pesticides; they must not use antibiotics on their livestock regularly or for preventive purposes; and they may only feed their animals with fodder that is produced on their own farm, meaning that livestock numbers will be restricted and less slurry and manure will accumulate. Agricultural research, advice and training should also be geared to these goals. The initiative could lead to a reduction in agricultural production in Switzerland. As a consequence, more food would have to be imported to feed the Swiss population sufficiently. The initiative would not affect farms that do not receive direct subsidies.
Last modification 07.04.2021