Socio-economic impact of horse production on rural areas: a comparison between Ireland and France - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2012

Socio-economic impact of horse production on rural areas: a comparison between Ireland and France


In the European Union, the horse industry is growing and evolving and has various impacts on areas that are still unknown. The horse has an economic and social significance and contributes to the maintenance of landscapes and to the dynamism of rural economies. This paper provides a review of the research that has been conducted on this topic in France and Ireland. In these two countries, the horse industry is growing. In France, the horse industry is represented by almost a million equines, 55,000 firms, around 40,000 direct agricultural jobs, 1.5 million horse riders and approximately 12 billion euro turnover. In relation to land management, equines in France use around 0.5 millions hectares, that is to say 0.1% of the whole country area and 5% of permanent grasslands. Ireland is the third largest Thoroughbred (TB) producer in the world accounting for over 42% of EU output. Bloodstock production accounts for approximately 10% of all livestock production in Ireland and 4.4% of agricultural output. Irish racing is a buoyant economic sector with over 300 race meetings yearly, expenditure for racing fixtures exceeds €110 million and attendance income over €23 million. There are 22,084 full-time employees in the TB industry, the vast majority are in rural areas where alternative employment opportunities are limited. The sport horse industry in Ireland is worth €400 million per annum to the Irish economy. It provides employment for approx. 20,000 individuals on a full time and part-time basis. The total number of sport horses in Ireland is estimated to be 110,000, of this approx 12,000 constitutes breeding mares. Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) and Horse Sport Ireland are the governing bodies for horse racing and the sport horse industries in Ireland. Both horse sectors are of hugh importance to the Irish economy and to thousands of rural communities throughout the country. Horses have an important role in rural development: their multi-purpose use represents a strong environmental advantage in land occupation and management, horses help restructure the suburban countryside, they help maintain relationships between urban citizens and cultural rural life, they contribute to agriculture diversification and multifunctional development due to horse livery, equine services and agritourism. However horses also compete for land occupation with urbanization in suburban areas and with agriculture in rural areas, and they create conflicts over land use with other users, mainly in suburban areas. Research into the socio-economic importance of the horse on rural dynamism has commenced and the importance of these aspects will be discussed.
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hal-02745296 , version 1 (03-06-2020)



Bridget Younge, Celine Vial. Socio-economic impact of horse production on rural areas: a comparison between Ireland and France. 6. European Workshop on Equine Nutrition, European Association for Animal Production (EAAP). Rome, ITA.; European Workshop on Equine Nutrition (EWEN). Lisbonne, PRT.; Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária (FMV). Lisbonne, PRT., Jun 2012, Lisbonne, Portugal. 512 p., ⟨10.3920/978-90-8686-755-4_63⟩. ⟨hal-02745296⟩
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