Swiss cows fly to Kosovo

The Swiss government has shipped another plane-load of cows to Kosovo. Keystone / Meinrad Schade

Another plane-load of Swiss cows is on its way to Kosovo, as part of efforts by the Development Agency to help the province regenerate its agricultural sector after last year's war.

This content was published on September 27, 2000 - 19:06

A total of 500 beasts are being transported on eight flights over the next few days.

The SFr1.5 million operation is part of a programme which began a year ago. Since last September, 1,250 cows and bulls have been flown to Kosovo to help needy families, at a cost of about SFr4 million.

The Swiss Development Agency says they have reproduced very successfully, giving birth to about 1,000 calves.

It says the success prompted the decision to continue the scheme, in association with its partners, the federal office for agriculture, the Swiss farmers' union, associations of stockbreeders and the federal veterinary office.

The cows are transported in a DC-8 aircraft specially equipped to transport animals. The agency says the two-hour flight is much less stressful for the beasts than the much longer routes by land or sea, and they are accompanied on the journey from Zurich to Pristina by trained staff.

On arrival, the cows are placed together in stables for several days, before being handed over directly to the farmers. The agency says priority goes to farmers with big families, but other criteria include the number of cattle lost during the war and whether the animals can be looked after satisfactorily.

The operation is overseen on the spot by representatives of Switzerland's Disaster Relief Unit and members of the veterinary centre in the town of Gsakova (or Djakovica).

swissinfo

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