Limousin is one of the oldest French cattle breeds that were selected for meat production. (Foto: Anita Burri)
The Limousin breed is strongly marked by its birthplace, the Limousin region in France. This is a region that consists mainly of grassland and is subject to harsh climate conditions in winter. Limousin is one of the oldest French cattle breeds that were selected for meat production.
The Limousin, the native region of the Limousin cattle breed, was formerly autonomous, and now belongs to the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region. This sparsely populated and predominantly agricultural landscape lies to the north-west of the Massif Central. (Photo: www.lemonde.fr)
The first documents attesting to the existence of the Limousin breed date back to the end of the 18th century. At the time these cattle were prized in particular for their qualities as draft animals. During the First and Second World Wars the extremely powerful bullocks of the breed were used, among other things, to pull barges on ropes from the landside paths along the inland canals. At that time most horses were requisitioned for use by the army and were thus a rare commodity.
A market for Limousin animals for slaughter developed in the major French cities, especially under the leadership of Turgot, the then intendant of the Limousin region. In 1770 the Lieutenant-General of the Paris police, Antoine de Sartine, sent him a message enquiring whether he could ‘‘count on the Limousins after Easter‘‘, in order to supply Paris which was in need of meat. To this end animals aged between 8 and 10 years were fattened and then brought to Paris on foot over a period of 12 to 14 days.
Two out of three Natura-Beef cows have a Limousin bull as a father. Often the father tags along with the herd and the calf grows up in a family group. (Photo: Anita Burri)
The Limousins have a strong connection to their native region and have been characterised over time by the environmental conditions that prevailed there. They have also adapted well to conditions in Switzerland and are very common here today. Almost 70 percent of Natura-Beef cows have a father from the Limousin breed.