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Ten percent of farmers penalized for abuses

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Photo: Switzerland Tourism
09:30 CEST+02:00
One in ten of Switzerland's heavily subsidized farms is financially penalized each year for failing to meet agricultural regulations, according to a report from state broadcaster RTS.

Direct payments to operators of the country’s 48,500 farms account for up to 90 percent of revenues for those in the mountains and between 30 and 40 percent for those in the plain, government figures show.

The payments total around 2.8 billion a year but a significant number of recipients fail to meet regulations for treatment of animals, cultivation of land or harvesting, among other issues, RTS said in its report on Monday.

Every year a quarter of Switzerland’s farms are inspected and “around a third (of these) are penalized,” Simon Hasler, a spokesman from the federal agriculture office (FAO) told the broadcaster.

In 2013, more than 2,100 farms failed to fulfil “ecological service requirements” regarding, for example, the use of manure, or the conditions under which livestock animals are kept, the RTS report said.

Around 1,140 farms failed to respect regulations for animals to be let out into the open air on a regular basis.

The penalties handed out in 2013 amounted to 6.5 million francs a year.

The level of non-compliance has remained stable for the past several years, FAO’s Hasler said.

RTS said that based on figures from 2013, farmers in the canton of Graubünden were the worst offenders, with 516 out of 2,248 farms penalized in that year (23 percent). 

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