Franches-Montagnes should not pay for other races

Support for all endangered native breeds, modeled on the award received by the Franche-Montagne horse, must not be performed on the back of the latter. Of the 22 orders under consideration, the most controversial is the one that extends the preservation bonus.

The Franche-Montagne breeders’ federation has responded to the consultation procedure of the Federal Office of Agriculture (OFAG), which ends on Monday. A delegation consisting of a team of four horses, accompanied by half a dozen riders, brought him to him at his headquarters in Bern. It was presented to FOAG director Christian Hofer by the president of the breeding federation and member of the national council, Albert Rösti (UDC/BE).

Following parliamentary interventions, this regulation aims to introduce a premium for the conservation of Swiss breeds that are in a critical situation or endangered. It will be paid per animal along the lines of what is done today for the only horse breed in Franche-Montagne, which will henceforth be encouraged through this measure, writes the Federal Office of Agriculture (OFAG).

This will be done through a “small reallocation of resources from the classical development of animal husbandry”, approximately 3 million, i.e. nearly 10% of the loan dedicated to livestock and using current resources to save the Franches-Montagnes horse,” said Flory Marion, OFAG spokesperson at Keystone-ATS.

As more endangered breeds are now supported, the Franches-Montagnes surcharge is decreasing. While 853,000 francs were spent on the Franches-Montagnes insurance premium for keeping horses in 2021, the forecast for the future is 320,000 francs, says OFAG.

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Thus, for the breeders of the only horse breed originating from Switzerland, the survival of the Franche-Montagne breed will be in great danger. According to the Breeding Federation of this breed, if this regulation is approved as such by the Federal Council, the amount of premiums for FM horses will be reduced by half, and the number of horses eligible for the award will be reduced by two-thirds.

The breeders have the backing of the Jura parliament, which unanimously passed a resolution this spring: “The federal executive is endangering the last native horse breed, the only one that resisted the mechanization of agriculture in the 20th century.” Jura State is making it clear that it is open to contributions being paid to all endangered species, but the size of the package should also be increased to keep the premium at the same level.

The Union of Swiss Farmers (USP) says nothing more: the umbrella organization would like to see the budget allocated for the planned advertising of endangered livestock breeds be increased without compromising existing promotion programs such as the Franches-Montagnes race.

compensate the army

This is not the first time Jura breeders and authorities have defended this federal support for “their” horse, which has already been questioned in the past. Federal advisers came regularly to the Marché-Concours de Saignelégier to reassure them.

Also in the 2000 issue, the then Economy Minister Pascal Couchepin told them the good news about the introduction of the bonus. This annual subsidy was then to partially compensate for the security surcharge paid by the army, which was abolished in the mid-1990s.

These 22 regulations, 18 from the Federal Council, three from the Department of Economics and one from FOAG, are likely to be passed by the Federal Council in November 2022. The new provisions should come into force, most of them, on January 1, 2023.



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