Swiss vote to reject cow horn referendum, projections say

GENEVA — Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a national referendum on a cattle farmer’s proposal to have the government subsidize herders of goats and cows if they let their animals keep their horns, according to projections.

Swiss media, including public broadcaster SRF, reported that the early projections showed that 54 per cent voted against the proposal, while 46 per cent were in favour of it.

Proponents of the measure had said the animals should be left the way nature intended, for their well-being and happiness. Opponents, like a key federation of cattle raisers, said the measure would cost too much and drain funds from other activities.

The impact of the issue was more spectacle than substance. Three-fourths of cows raised in Switzerland don’t have horns, and many are born naturally without them.

Voters were also called to vote on two other referendums as part of Switzerland’s form of direct democracy. Referendums follow petition drives mustering at least 100,000 signatures to bring issues up for a vote and ultimately change the constitution.

The other referendum issues involved ensuring Switzerland’s constitution precedence over international treaties, and whether to allow insurance providers to secretly monitor people suspected of insurance fraud.

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