Horse breeding and other activities involving horses meet the ongoing and future reforms and policies of the EU, ‘greening’ the CAP, developing environmentally sustainable projects and supporting rural development and employment. Looking to the future and considering ongoing changes in society and economic challenges, the horse has still got a great deal to offer and provides opportunities that could benefi t both animals and people.
Horses meet the objectives of ‘greening’ CAP The latest reform of the Common Agriculture Policy focusses on the need to balance agriculture with environmental and rural development. Horse breeding is a non intensive, land protective and landscape conservation activity. Although horses are the smallest group of farm animals, the breeding activity for the 7 million horses (86 million beef/veal animals) is the one with the least adverse impact on nature and presents many opportunites for rural employment.
It is well known that the biodiversity of grasslands is improved by extensive grazing of horses. It is also recognised that horsemeat produced for human consumption is healthier than other meat. Moreover, the working horse is a remarkable source of renewable energy since the draught horse produces its own replacement, something that tractors cannot do. Better still, a horse can be bred and fed locally, using locally-produced sources of renewable energy: grasses and cereals.
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