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Productions et activités équines en France : quelles contributions à la durabilité de l’agriculture ?

Abstract : The numbers of equine livestock in France (around 1 million heads) are much fewer compared to those of cattle and sheep. Saddle horses and ponies used for equestrian sports and leisure represent 2/3 of the equine population. The racing sector represents alone a turnover of 10 billion euros. Whatever the type of production or activity (breeding, livery yard, training center, equestrian center…), the presence of equines on structures is mainly motivated by the leader’s enthusiasm for this animal. This leads to confusions between leisure activities and economic productions. This also influences the time that farmers spend with horses and their economic objectives. This finally can generate a lack of understanding from the rest of the agricultural world. Nevertheless, this interest may also explain why equine production and activities are encountered all over the country, where horses contribute to the image and attractiveness of rural and suburban areas. Moreover, the specificities of horse behavior allow them to use grasslands that are unsuitable for cattle grazing or to use the same areas in a complementary way. Horses therefore contribute to the preservation of natural resources and biodiversity. A better knowledge of the economic, social and environmental impacts of equine production and activities in the agricultural sector should increase its readability with agricultural professionals and public interlocutors. This could lead to a better integration of the equine industry in the agriculture policies towards more sustainability.
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Geneviève Bigot, Celine Vial, Géraldine Fleurance, Pascale Heydemann, Roger Palazon. Productions et activités équines en France : quelles contributions à la durabilité de l’agriculture ?. INRA Productions Animales, Paris: INRA, 2018, 31 (1), pp.37-50. ⟨10.20870/productions-animales.2018.31.1.2205⟩. ⟨hal-02625230⟩

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