Animal husbandry

Animal-friendly stables and time in the open air

Swiss meat deserves complete consumer confidence, as the standards set for livestock farming are extremely high. This is not surprising, as family businesses have a close relationship with the animals. In addition, the state promotes responsible husbandry, for example, through the programmes 'Particularly Animal-Friendly Stable Systems' (BTS) and 'Regular Time in the Open Air for Animals' (RAUS). More than three quarters (75.3%) of livestock take part in the RAUS programme and half (55.6%) take part in the BTS programme (2015). The farmers' dedication pays off: the animals are healthier and their meat tastes exquisite. Diverse label programmes place additional demands on animal husbandry and the feeding of animals.

Example: poultry

Domestic poultry for fattening: 94.1% is kept in accordance with BTS standards. These require, for example, broiler chickens to be given raised places to sleep and access to a protected area outdoors at all times during the day.

Strict animal welfare laws

In addition to voluntary initiatives, strict laws and regulations are also in place regarding species-appropriate husbandry. The animals are kept according to their requirements: This means, for example, that calves are not tethered until they are four months old, and that water and roughage are freely available. 81.2% of our cattle and cows regularly have time in the open air (2015). Poultry are kept in the open or at least in a winter garden and pigs can be found in the Alps. Independent checks guarantee these qualities.

Switzerland has the strictest animal transport laws in the world and animals may only be transported for short periods.

A compromise

Animal protection is a public and political matter based on ethical standards. The extent of animal protection granted is always an expression of a compromise between use and protection. Swiss animal protection legislation was completely revised in 2008.  The revision took into account, in particular, the desire for streamlining, purging, and defining appropriate levels, as well as the new focus on information and training.

Ecological activity should not have a negative effect on our high level of animal protection. Animals kept in animal-friendly conditions with time in the open air leads to increased ammonia emissions. However, the Swiss farming sector sees a future in species-appropriate animal husbandry.