Swiss citizens will vote Sunday on an issue involving cows that has divided the country.
Voters will decide if farmers can receive government aid for not removing the horns of their cows.
Cows are an important part of the nation's milk industry. They are also a national symbol for Switzerland and draw visitors to the country.
Farmer Armin Capaul began the effort to keep horns on cows nine years ago. Capaul told Reuters that "listening" to his cows incited him to act. When his campaign to persuade politicians failed, Capaul collected more than 100,000 signatures to hold a national vote on the issue.
He is seeking to have the government give farmers yearly payments of about $200 for each horned cow they have. Capaul says the money is needed to help famers pay for extra costs linked to keeping horned animals. Having more space for the animals helps prevent fights and injuries involving cow horns. Capaul hopes the government assistance will reduce the number of dehorned cows.
Capaul says horns help cows communicate and keep the right body temperature. We must respect cows as they are, he told Reuters on his small farm in northwestern Switzerland. Leave them their horns. When you look at them, they always hold their head high and are proud. When you remove the horns, they are sad, he said.
About 75 percent of Swiss cows are dehorned or genetically hornless.
Capaul's plan would require a change to the Swiss constitution. The government opposes the idea. It estimates the assistance would represent about $30 million a year of the country's agriculture budget. Many farmers have also expressed concerns about how the country would pay for the proposed assistance.
Groups opposed to dehorning have supported Capaul's campaign. Dehorning involves burning a young cow's small horns with a hot iron. Critics say the process is painful and unnatural. But supporters say it is no worse than castrating male cats or dogs.
Farmer Stefan Gilgen has 48 cows that provide about 260 gallons of milk a day. He told Reuters that his cows get along better without horns. If cows have horns, the danger of injuries to the animals and humans is greater, he said.
Gilgen added that he does not agree that a vote should be taken to change the constitution for such an issue. Each farm should decide for itself. We have other problems in agriculture, he said.
The latest public opinion studies have suggested Sunday's vote will be very close.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
1. seek to do sth 寻求做某事
When we act we seek to preserve or to change.
2. oppose to 反对
The Chinese people cherish peace and resolutely oppose to war.
3. get along 相处，生活
They get along quite well.
4. more than 超过，多于
That would be more than I have expected.
农民阿明9年前开始保留牛角。阿明在接受路透社采访时表示，“倾听”牛的声音给他采取行动以鼓励 。他参加的活动本来想说服政客，但失败了 。于是，他收集了10万多个千字，请求国家针对这个问题进行一次投票 。
阿明希望瑞士政府能向农民们的每只带角牛支付近200美元的年度费用。阿明表示，这笔钱很有必要，可以帮助农民支付羊带角牛需要付出的额外成本 。如果牛类能有更多的空间，就能防止与带角牛有关的争斗和伤害 。阿明希望瑞士政府的援助能够减少非带角牛的数量 。
阿明表示，牛角可以帮助牛类沟通，并帮助牛类维持合适的体温。我们要尊重牛本来的样子，他在瑞士西北部自己的小农场里接受路透社采访时如是说道 。放过牛的角吧 。每当我们看到牛的时候，它们总是高仰着头，显露着骄傲；一旦去掉了牛角，它们就很悲伤，他如是说道 。
阿明计划如果要成功，就需要对瑞士的宪法做出改变。瑞士政府反对阿明的意见 。据估测，政府援助大概占瑞士农业年预算的3000万美元 。很多农民也表达了忧虑，担心瑞士找不到合适的办法进行援助 。
很多支持保留牛角的组织支持阿明的举动。去掉牛角有一种方式是：用热铁灼伤小牛的牛角 。有评论家称，这个过程很痛苦，是非自然的方式 。但支持者表示，阉割公猫或者狗类也好不到哪儿去 。
农民斯蒂芬·吉尔根养了48只牛，每天大概可以挤260加仑的牛奶。他在接受路透社采访时表示，自己的牛没有角会更好 。如果牛有角，就更有可能弄伤其他动物和人类，他如是说道 。
吉尔根补充表示，他认为不应该进行投票，不应该为了这件事而修改宪法。每个农场都应该为自己做决定 。他表示，农业里还有很多其他的问题要解决 。