Livestock breeds In Spain

Articles in ‘Livestock breeds In Spain’

A Spanish Shepherd by Richard Ansdell

December 1st, 2016

richard_ansdell_-_a_spanish_shepherd_1863

A Spanish Shepherd (1863) by Liverpool-born Richard Ansdell. The artist had travelled in southern Spain in the 1850s.

 

Albera cows

December 1st, 2016

img_20161027_145520.jpg

Just 400-odd Albera cows survive, living semi-feral and calving in the wild in the Serra de l’Albera in the Catalan Pyrenees. They are a short, stocky breed now protected by law and employed by the Catalan government to graze the undergrowth and reduce fire risk.

Basque horses

August 2nd, 2010

800px-Biandintz_eta_zaldiak_-_modified2

Pottok horses on Bianditz mountain, in Navarra. Behind lie the Aiako mountains. The Pottok (Wikipedia) is an endangered, semi-feral breed of pony native to the Pyrenees of the Basque Country, Pottoka being the Basque language name for this horse, both north and south of the mountains. This image by Mikel Ortega won an award on Wikipedia here

Read the rest of this entry

Donkeys to help schizophrenia and epilepsy patients

March 24th, 2010 Donkeys are being used for the first time in Spain in a centre in Galicia to help schizophrenia and epilepsy patients. El País

Catalan donkeys to fight fire

February 15th, 2010 They have found a use for Catalan donkeys aside from the Catalanist appropiation of their image for political ends. In the Gavarres Hills they have started using this be-lovable breed to graze and so clear forests as a way of reducing the risk of fire. Some 550 Catalan donkeys remain. La Vanguardia

Traditional agriculture in León

February 1st, 2010

http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=2864.0;attach=5785;image

Dave spotted this remarkable scene of “a working pair of Oxen  with a cart full of manure, which the driver was distributing over a small rectangle of newly ploughed land. Location: some 40km from León capital. More here on the forum.

Shepherd uses wild boar to control his sheep

September 15th, 2008

Appros of nothing in particular, a story here from the Olive Press about a shepherd in Granada who uses a wild boar to control his sheep. Read

Spain second in Europe in BSE cases

June 24th, 2008

Europe has still not managed to eradicate Mad cow’s disease (BSE). last year 174 cases were detected, 65 in the UK and 40 in Spain. 500,000 animals were tested in Spain last year El País + EU reports here in English
The removal of livestock because of BSE has had a huge effect on Spanish wildlife. See archive on iberianature

Conservation work camp in the Picos de Europa

May 13th, 2008

The Fundación para la Conservación del Quebrantahuesos is organising a work camp in July with volunteers in the village of Bejes, Cantabria. The camp is centred on helping the maintenance of traditional livestock farming in the Picos de Europa as an essential element in the conservation of the biodiversity and the recovery of the lammergeyer in the Cantabrian Mountains. Volunteers will help in sheering the sheep which are taken up to the high pastures in the summer. The camp involves three days working with the shepherds, two days learning about the fauna and flora of the Picos and one day’s rest. Knowledge of some Spanish is highly recommendable. More information from FCQ.

Be a shepherd for a day

May 6th, 2008

It is increasingly difficult for shepherds to make a living these days, and without them the landscape and biodiversity they help to produce would be seriously affected. Ways must be found to increase the earnings of shepherds and to compensate them for the work they do. In Catalonia for instance there is a pilot scheme which pays shepherds to graze forests thus cutting down the undergrowth and reducing the risk of fire. They are also employed to detect and warn about fires.

Another way forward is the great initiative by a group of Aragonese shepherds in the Medinaceli and Calatayud area. Ser Pastor por un Día, offers you the chance to go out for a morning or afternoon with a shepherd and a biologist and learn about the different skills involved in shepherding, mastiff dogs, local sheep breeds, shearing, lambing and the landscape they help to create. Knowledge of some Spanish is probably a must. Tel: 659 834 121 or visit Ser Pastor por un Día. I intend to sign up one of these days.

Update: The Guardian newspaper has since picked up on this story:

Stressed out city folk have found a new way to unwind – becoming a shepherd for the day and tending flocks of sheep. Caring for lambs at a remote hillside farm has become popular for urban Spaniards who want to rediscover nature.

Jesús Valtueña, a 44-year-old vet and sheep farmer, charges urban visitors €10 (£8) a person a day to tend a flock of 1,200 Aragonese sheep at his farm in Monreal de Ariza, in north-eastern Zaragoza province.

“The point is for people whose families may have had some connection with the countryside in the past but who now live in cities to come and re-establish that connection, perhaps showing their children sheep,” says Valtueña.

“Most of the people who come here live in the big cities such as Madrid and Barcelona and are stressed out.”

City dwellers and their children flock to the farm in January, May and September, the lambing season. When they arrive at the Pastores por un dia (Shepherds for a Day) venture they meet Valtueña’s eccentric partner, Miguel Garcia, a 20-year-old goat de-horner, or descuernacabras – the man who by tradition clips and trims the horns to stop goats wounding each other in fights. Garcia believes he can tell the sound and timbre of the bells on each and every sheep in the flock.

Half the lure of the farm (pastoresx1dia.com) is that Valtueña and Garcia let the flock roam and graze over various fallow fields and pastures, a traditional method of shepherding typical to the area for hundreds of years. It is not so typical now, however. Valtueña is the last shepherd in the area, his neighbours having turned to easier-to-manage cereal crops.