Switzerland - Animal husbandry

More than half of Switzerland's productive area is grassland exploited for hay production and/or grazing. Livestock production contributes about 2% to GDP. Dairying and cattle breeding are practiced, more or less intensively, in all but the barren parts of the country and, during the summer months, even at altitudes of more than 1,200 m (4,000 ft). In 2001 there were 1,611,000 head of cattle and 1,548,000 pigs, 420,000 sheep and 63,000 goats. Meat production in 2001 included (in tons): pork, 234,000; beef, 138,000; poultry, 50,000; mutton/lamb, 6,000; and horse meat, 2,000. Swiss cheeses are world famous; production was 174,000 tons in 2001. That year, 36,000 tons of eggs were produced.

While home production almost covers or exceeds the domestic requirements for milk and dairy products, substantial quantities of eggs and meat must be imported. Selective cattle breeding, research, and improvement of production standards are promoted by the federal government and by farmers' cooperatives. Exports of milk, dairy products, and eggs amounted to $319.2 million in 2001.

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