Horsetrading: Equine Europe

There is a lot horsetrading going on in Europe. Literally. At the request of the European Commission the World Horse Welfare and Eurogroup for Animals have just published a report titled Removing the Blinkers which looks at the health and welfare of European Equidae in 2015. The report is the first comprehensive documentation of where horses are being kept in Europe, how they are kept, and how they are traded. The following cartogram shows a Europemapper-style cartogram depicting the EU population figures for equidea as stated in the report, using their mean figure (averaging the lowest and highest estimates for the number of horses in each country) which counts a total of just over 7 million horses in the European Union (compared to FAOSTAT estimates of only 4.3 million horses kept as livestock):

Cartogram map of horses in the European Union
(click for larger version)

The data shows that “Belgium has the largest number of equines per person – with one equine for every 21 people. In Slovakia, there is only one equine for every 1,000 people.” Furthermore, the study finds, that “there are around 7 million equines in the European Union. France, the United Kingdom and Romania have the largest equine populations. The equine sector is worth at least €100 billion (£73 billion) every year.”
The following series of cartograms puts the economic aspect of horse trading into perspective: The maps show that there are distinct patterns in the trading patterns, visualising the movements of 107,083 horses that have changed borders according to the report’s data (and counted by the EU’s Trade Control and Expert System, TRACES). The cartograms on the left side show the absolute numbers, while the cartograms on the right-hand side dissect the net numbers for either the net-importing or net-exporting countries (with no data having been available for Croatia which joined the EU after the data was collected in 2012) – showing that Italy is bar far the largest net-importer of horses, which can be explained by Italy not being so much into horse racing, but being Europe’s largest horse meat producing country (as reported in a 2006 study and also mentioned in a 2009 report):

Cartogram map of horses in the European Union
(click for larger version)

The report also looks at welfare issues, stating that “although the lives of equines vary greatly between different Member States, sadly the welfare problems that they suffer do not. Animal welfare organisations in half of all Member States report unsuitable keeping environments as being among their most serious equine welfare problems.”
While this new report gives a first perspective on the shape of the European equine sector that were previously invisible to Europe’s policy-makers, the study also finds that (despite horses being very popular in sports just as in leisure) “there is a serious lack of information about many aspects of the sector. Even simple information such as the equine population of each Member State has been difficult to find, with many countries not able to supply one reliable figure. Despite the EU having had equine identification legislation in force for over a decade, it is clear that the system is still not functioning as well as it could.”

The content on this page has been created by Benjamin Hennig using data published by World Horse Welfare. Please contact me for further details on the terms of use.

(Visited 1,819 times since December 2015, 9 visits today)