The European Union is preparing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2020-2027. Unfortunately, the importance of the horse industry and horse farming seems to be ignored. There is a too strong focus on food production. One of the first steps will be to skip any statistics about horses in the future Integrated Farm Statistics, claiming that exact numbers are hard to get by the statistical bureau of the EU, Eurostat. However Eurostat will continue to count rabbits produced by rabbit farms…
The European Horse Network (EHN) repeatedly stressed the importance of the horse industry in relation to EU’s agriculture policy:
– Horse is an agricultural product. Its historic and close connection to the land and how it is farmed means that equines are to be considered along with other livestock such as cows and sheep, not least because of the millions of hectares which they graze, but obviously also because the horse breeding and production often takes place as a valued part of a diversified farm unit.
– Horse is a rural product. Equines are bred in small farms, are part of activities that are not delocalized, creating links and projects between territories, providing jobs and services.
– Horse is a green product. Horses graze a significant percentage of Europe’s permanent grassland, and therefore contribute to the upkeep of many areas, as well as providing significant sources of income for local population. The horse produces only a very small amount of green-house gases: no carbon dioxide and little methane.
EHN published an information leaflet, to inform members of the European Parliament about this policy. The European Parliament will vote about it in July 2018.
FEIF is one of the founding members of EHN.