Working equids in the European Union
Domesticated to harness their potential as transport and draught power, working Equidae such as horses, donkeys and mules have become an integral part of human history and culture. Lessening labour burdens, assisting agricultural productivity and enabling travel, trade and development, equids demonstrate considerable versatility and can be found in a range of modern-day roles including equestrian sport, tourism, agriculture, forestry and environmental management and as contributors to human wellbeing.
Globally, over 100 million working equids support over 600 million people. The total population of equids within the European Union has been estimated at around seven million.
In a time of increased global dialogue about sustainable practice, particularly within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, working equids should be recognised and provided for, not necessarily as an alternative to modern technology to be employed out of context, but as an existing and complementary contributor to sustainable lives and livelihoods within the EU.