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Pit Schlechter FECTU and the context for work with horses in Europe.

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Presentation on theme: "Pit Schlechter FECTU and the context for work with horses in Europe."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pit Schlechter FECTU and the context for work with horses in Europe

2 FECTU the European Draught Horse Federation founded in member associations in 10 European countries Main aims: promote cooperation between member organisations advocate use of animals as a sustainable energy source render draught animals more effective guarantee their welfare

3 FECTU – difficulties and problems Some 23 different languages spoken in Europe Geographic dispersal of members Limited financial resources Numerous different uses of draught horses Differing opinions and interests e.g. professionals vs. hobbyists Partly unusable horses Huge difference between Northern/ Western and Central/Eastern/Southern Europe

4 Attitude towards physical efforts - Humans Negative: hard physical efforts to earn money with productive work Positive: spend money for spoiling energy in unproductive fitness training

5 Attitude towards physical efforts - Horses Negative: work with horses is backward and cruel Positive: use sport/leasure horses is respected

6 The scenery of “animals in the good old days” Enforces the image of backwardness in nostalgic countryside events

7 The scenery of “animals in the good old days” Is used by agro-industry to hide the high-tech industrial food production

8 Animals as models for machines Animals replaced by machines tractors, trucks, … Machines intended to be as good as animals Animals used instead of machines: mules, honeybees, dolphins, sea lions, …

9 A Future for Working Horses: Two Tendencies 1. Using working horses in niches Profitability has a subsidiary role Support of local decision-makers Fits with existing economic & social setting Improves quality of life Engages excluded groups Fits with trend towards “sustainability” Example: return of working horses in urban areas

10 A Future for Working Horses: Two Tendencies 2. extensive return of draught horses in agriculture, forestry etc. Long time vision Fundamental changes of the political, economic and social context e.g. from agro-industry to “peasantry” Animal energy seen as a solution for: –Environment issues e.g. low input farming, soil compaction, biodiversity, carbon footprint –Fossil energy shortage –Poverty and food sovereignty

11 Problems No real bottom-up movement for animal traction Machinery: a vicious circle –Insufficient demand hinders development and mass production with lower prices –lack of varied and affordable machinery hinders retention/conversion to horse power Image problem: –advantages of modern use of animal energy: unknown, ignored, denied –disadvantages of industrialised farming: unknown, ignored, denied e.g. extreme dependency on: machinery manufacturers, parts suppliers, prices for fuel, chemical fertilisers, seeds and pesticides, massive state subsidies, market regulations …)

12 Prospects A new context for the promotion of animal energy in the current discussions about:  renewable energy,  climate change,  agricultural policy,  the empire of agro-industry,  food security etc. Strong international networking is needed

13 Pit Schlechter FECTU and the context for work with horses in Europe


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