Corinne Boss: Committed to Sustainable Animal Husbandry

Portrait Corinne Boss

“Working at the Swiss National Stud in Avenches is an amazing experience for me” declares 39-year-old Corinne Boss. A licensed dressage rider, she has known the Centre of Excellence for Equids for quite some time now, and appreciates the quality services it provides. A few years ago, she brought her horse to the National Stud for a training course. Through her work at the Federal Office for Agriculture FOAG as the national coordinator for animal genetic resources and the person in charge of the preservation of Swiss breeds, she is well acquainted with the needs of Swiss horse rearing – particularly those of the franches-montagnes breed. Moreover, after ten years at the FOAG she is well equipped for her new job as Head of the ‘Animals and Products of Animal Origin’ Competence Division at Agroscope – a post she has held since 15 July 2019. “It’s a brilliant combination, to be working for the benefit of livestock and horses in my new job, whilst continuing to build on my previous activities.”

Corinne Boss’s interest in animals and animal health began at an early age. During her childhood and teenage years in Bolligen, in the Bern countryside, she was often at the farm, where she and her mother kept their horses. After graduating from high school with a matura (Swiss school-leaver’s exam), she began studying veterinary medicine, but switched to biology after two years, specialising in molecular genetics. A part-time job at Swissmedic not only brought her an income, but expanded her medical knowledge. Written at the University Hospital of Bern, her master’s thesis was on brain tumours and the genetic predisposition to them. This knowledge of genetics was the ticket to a job at the FOAG as a scientific research assistant in the ‘Animal Products and Animal Breeding’ Division.

At the FOAG she discovered a fascination for work in the Federal Administration whilst in charge of the development of Swiss animal breeding legislation. “It’s highly motivating to be able to prepare legislation that’s actually implemented further down the line.” “Performance is important” she adds, “but we need to bear in mind all the pillars of sustainability. Animal health and well-being, the responsible use of resources and an intact environment are essential for our society. Promoting hoof health in dairy cows or improving resistance to the E. coli bacterium in pigs, for example – these are the things to work towards. Our objective should be a site-adapted, resource-efficient and healthy animal.” She is also personally invested in ensuring that Agroscope makes its contribution towards this goal.

Having directed the National Animal Breeding Strategy 2030, Corinne Boss is well known in the sector. Her acknowledged talent as a mediator, which has enabled her to arrive at win-win solutions for all involved parties, will doubtless serve her well at Agroscope.  “I intend to make coherent use of synergies and gather together available knowledge so that everyone concerned can benefit from the new opportunities offered by ‘big data’.”

In her free time, Corinne Boss enjoys excursions to the mountains – and of course she loves to go to the farm in the evening for a leisurely ride through the woods. “Lots of ideas have come to me while riding my horse” she adds with a hearty laugh.