Bull markets and cattle shows in Central Switzerland


Category:
Knowledge concerning nature
  • Social practices
Canton:

Description

From the late Middle Ages through to modern times, grassland and dairy farming in the alpine and pre-alpine areas formed the primary basis of Central Switzerland's economy. Farming practices were centred primarily around dairy cows, calves and beef cattle. Local animal markets played an important role in this system. The establishment of Braunvieh breeders' associations (Braunvieh is a Swiss breed of cattle) at the end of the 19th century resulted in the emergence of the first cattle shows. In addition to their function as animal and goods markets, these shows also feature competitions to ascertain the best breeding specimens. Although the importance of agriculture has declined significantly since the 1950s, cattle shows remain popular social events, particularly in the rural areas of Central Switzerland, and now appeal not only to farmers but also to other sectors of the population. The largest market for breeding animals is the Zug bull market, at which some 250 bulls are offered for sale. This event, which has been organised by the Braunvieh breeders' association since 1898, is held on the Wednesday and Thursday of the first week of September. Cattle traders, buyers and the general public travel from all parts of Switzerland and neighbouring countries to attend. Although the cattle market lost its functional significance for breeders following the introduction of artificial insemination in the 1960s, for the residents of Zug – be they traders, bankers, businessmen or even farmers – it remains an important date in the events calendar.

Image gallery

  • Uri cattle show: the Eyschachen showgrounds play host to some 500 oxen, cows and bulls, Altdorf, October 2010. © Christof Hirtler, Altdorf
  • The son of a cattle owner leads a cow round the parade ring, Altdorf, October 2010. © Christof Hirtler, Altdorf
  • Visitors admiring the cattle on show, Altdorf, October 2010. © Christof Hirtler, Altdorf
  • ID card: label detailing the name, father, race, owner, and ear tag number of the animal, Altdorf, October 2010. © Christof Hirtler, Altdorf
  • A former “Miss Original” enters the best Swiss brown cow in show competition four years after her first victory, Altdorf, October 2010. © Christof Hirtler, Altdorf
  • Cattle show in Engelberg (OW), Ochsenmatte, 13 October 2006. © Marius Risi, Engelberg
  • Yearling cows at the Engelberg cattle show, 13 October 2006. © Marius Risi, Engelberg
  • When livestock shows were still an integral part of the model economy: cattle show in Schwyz, 1930s © Klosterarchiv Einsiedeln
  • Cattle show in Einsiedeln (SZ), 1930s © Klosterarchiv Einsiedeln
  • Aerial shot of part of the bull market held in Herti (Zug): marquee, ring and holding areas, September 2011. © Adalbert Ulrich, Steinhausen
  • A herd bull candidate at Zug bull market, September 2011. © Adalbert Ulrich, Steinhausen
  • A bull enjoying some well earned refreshment, Zug bull market, 2010. © www.picture-newsletter.com
  • Zug bull market attracts visitors from all four corners of Switzerland, Zug, 2010. © www.picture-newsletter.com
  • Zug bull market, 1920 © Familie Mettler, Seewen
  • Uri cattle show: the Eyschachen showgrounds play host to some 500 oxen, cows and bulls, Altdorf, October 2010. © Christof Hirtler, Altdorf
  • The son of a cattle owner leads a cow round the parade ring, Altdorf, October 2010. © Christof Hirtler, Altdorf
  • Visitors admiring the cattle on show, Altdorf, October 2010. © Christof Hirtler, Altdorf
  • ID card: label detailing the name, father, race, owner, and ear tag number of the animal, Altdorf, October 2010. © Christof Hirtler, Altdorf
  • A former “Miss Original” enters the best Swiss brown cow in show competition four years after her first victory, Altdorf, October 2010. © Christof Hirtler, Altdorf
  • Cattle show in Engelberg (OW), Ochsenmatte, 13 October 2006. © Marius Risi, Engelberg
  • Yearling cows at the Engelberg cattle show, 13 October 2006. © Marius Risi, Engelberg
  • When livestock shows were still an integral part of the model economy: cattle show in Schwyz, 1930s © Klosterarchiv Einsiedeln
  • Cattle show in Einsiedeln (SZ), 1930s © Klosterarchiv Einsiedeln
  • Aerial shot of part of the bull market held in Herti (Zug): marquee, ring and holding areas, September 2011. © Adalbert Ulrich, Steinhausen
  • A herd bull candidate at Zug bull market, September 2011. © Adalbert Ulrich, Steinhausen
  • A bull enjoying some well earned refreshment, Zug bull market, 2010. © www.picture-newsletter.com
  • Zug bull market attracts visitors from all four corners of Switzerland, Zug, 2010. © www.picture-newsletter.com
  • Zug bull market, 1920 © Familie Mettler, Seewen

References and documentation

Publications
  • Chantal Desbiolles: "Wo die Braunen begutachtet werden", In: Neue Zuger Zeitung. Zug, 11. September 2008, p. 17

  • Damian Gisler: Miss Haldi verteidigt den Titel. In: Neue Urner Zeitung. Altdorf, 27. September 2011, p. 22

  • Heinz Herzog, Monika Herzog: 100 Jahre Zuger Stierenmarkt. In: Zuger Neujahrsblatt. Zug, 1991, p. 106-107

  • Paul Küchler: Die Viehzüchter sind wetterbeständig. In: Neue Obwaldner Zeitung. Sarnen, 8. Oktober 2011, p. 23

  • Naturmuseum Luzern (Ed.): Rindvieh. Begleitbroschüre zur Ausstellung «Viehschau». Natur-Museum Luzern, 3. April bis 17. Oktober 2004. Luzern, 2004

  • Josef Niederberger: Viehzuchtverband Nidwalden. 50 Jahre. 1962-2012. 2012

  • Heiri Scherer: Muni - Der Zuger Stierenmarkt. Zürich, 2016

Documentation