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How the horn cow came to the ballot box

At the end of November, Switzerland decides whether cows with horns will be subsidized. For the mountain farmer Armin Capaul people are the last hope.

Angelica Hardegger

Are cows with horns included in the constitution? This is the Swiss vote in November. (Photo: Gian Ehrenzeller / Keystone)

Are cows with horns included in the constitution? This is the Swiss vote in November. (Photo: Gian Ehrenzeller / Keystone)

In the beginning the cow was. Marianne, to be precise. One evening in the summer of 2011, she turns the head of her neighbor Rahel and gently wipes her head out of the corner of her eye with the tip of her horn. The mountain farmer Armin Capaul sits on his couch in the Jurassic Perrefitte on a bench and looks at the scene. That would have been a "key moment" in his life, he will later tell a journalist from the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung", who drew up a portrait of the Swiss mountain farmers. "The Cow Whisperer" is the title, but the cows did not whisper when they asked Armin Capaul to become active for them. In Capaul & # 39; s memory the cows called him.

When the Hornkuh initiative was discussed in the National Council, a SVP politician from Vaud said: "When I heard about this initiative, I thought it was a joke." Many laughed at Armin Capaul and his fight for a "horn franc".

Fairy for horns suggested

He started with a registered letter to the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG). The fact that less and less cows would carry horns in Switzerland makes you think, writes Capaul and his colleague Daniel Wismer on 6 December 2010. They propose to the BLW that farmers who keep their animals horns with a franc per day and to celebrate the year .

The horn cow rebels

The confederation is preparing a reform of agricultural policy from 2014 onwards. It seems that mountain farmers have an opportunity to express their concerns. But the Federal Office for Agriculture refuses the Hörner Francs. The Kuhhorn does not mention the reform proposal that the federal government sends to parliament. So Armin Capaul tries his luck in parliament.

In a mail to all MPs he wrote in March 2012, only one in ten horns for cows in Switzerland. It is high time to get this "valuable natural property of Switzerland". In the autumn, the Green National Council, Louis Schelbert Capauls, brought horns, francs into the big room, and Roberto Zanetti of the SP launched an attack on the Council of States in December. Both applications are rejected, but Armin Capaul announces in a letter to the editor: "The French Horn is not yet off the table."

Eleven months later, Capaul and co-fighters of IG Hornkuh lead a horned cow and three goats across the Bernese Bundesplatz. The cow bears the signatures for a Hörnerfranken petition on the back. It requires the Federal Council to introduce the horn contribution by the regulation. "Dear federal councilor Schneider-Ammann," Capaul writes in a letter to the Minister of Agriculture, "more than 18,000 people are signing the idea of ​​a hornbill." Together with the horn cattle they all hope for your insight and that of the whole Federal Council. "

«Listen to your heart, please»

In August 2014, Capaul returns to the Minister of Agriculture. IG Hornkuh is considering launching a popular initiative. He asks the Federal Council one last time to prescribe a horn contribution. "Please listen to your heart, or ask your wife (sometimes I have to!)," Capaul writes. Johann Schneider-Ammann replied that he could not issue the subsidy if Parliament had previously refused it. But if IG Hornkuh wants to question the people, that is their right. Armin Capaul will start the collection of petitions on 9 September. He wants to write in the constitution "that cows, breeding bulls, goats and goats will be supported financially as long as the adult animals carry horns".

After twelve months, Capaul has barely half of the necessary signatures. "Horn Horn Initiative threatens the early end", writes "Switzerland on Sunday". Capaul plunders his savings account and pays 55,000 francs to professional petitioners. The association Alpenparlament, a group of right-wing conspiracy theorists, takes over the administration. In March 2016, supporters of horn cows gather the necessary signatures. "Bergbauer creates a basic democracy wonder", reports the news platform Swissinfo.

Horned in the record of the constitution

Now the journalists give the jack in the hand of Armin Capaul. The "Schweizer Illustrierte" publishes a 12-page report by Perrefitte, in October Capaul appears on the talk show "Aeschbacher". The miner appears in a wool vest and with a pointed hat. Calmly he pulls a horned cow's skull out of a burlap sack during the conversation and explains that the horn is better supplied with blood than the tail of a dog that calves after burning the horn. Approaches have severe pain and some "gitzi" die under general anesthesia.

In the spring of 2017, Capaul will repeat his demonstration of cows' heads in the competent committee of the Council of States. A somewhat peculiar parliamentary debate sometimes follows.

Armin Capaul talks about the Hoorn cow initiative during a media conference. For demonstration purposes: the skull of the horn cow. (Image: Anthony Anex / Keystone)

Armin Capaul talks about the Hoorn cow initiative during a media conference. For demonstration purposes: the skull of the horn cow. (Image: Anthony Anex / Keystone)

In the Council of States the horn-head friend Roberto Zanetti of the SP, an Uristier without horns, looks like a sheep with Nasenpiercing, a Cymbal Capricorn without horns like a dog on the run. The intervention in the appearance of the cow was "so deep" in the morning, the animal protection law was "massively" wounded. A representative of Valais CVP complains that the black nose sheep are missing in the constitutional article. Zanetti assures him that sheep can also be included as part of a "strong implementation" of the "natural" initiative. Minister of Agriculture Johann Schneider-Ammann, for his part, tells an anecdote from the army: "Once a night go to the army, packed and in a column, through a herd of cows – and then the cow herd is up and the army is heading! Then it will be criminal, "he says.

The Council of States recommends rejecting the initiative in September 2017 and the National Council will follow the small chamber in June 2018. The final word will be released by the voters within six weeks. Then it was possible to show the much-beloved farmer Armin Capaul everyone. His goal is 80 percent yes.

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