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Could horses disappear one day?
A journey to the future

By Amelie Tsaag-Valren, translated into English by Danielle Haywood.


N°13
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The disappearance of horses seems like insanity in this day and age, where worldwide there are over a million horses and hundreds of different breeds. However, it’s a hypothesis that many aren’t reluctant to make… A genuine prospect or pure sensationalism? History has taught us that the preservation of a species, even a very widespread one, should never be taken for granted. So where do horses stand in all of this?

It’s impossible to imagine a life without horses. The idea that they could one day vanish is shocking, unbearable and terrifying. The Przewalksi horse, our last genuine wild horse, was on the brink of extinction fifty years ago.

Horse
© Alexandra Polla-Fotolia.com

Domesticated earlier than many other animals, horses suffered a real crisis during the 20th Century, losing almost all of the utility for which man had selected them since ancient times: towing and allowing quicker travel.

Studies show that the pets of the future will be genetically modified so that they may be more useful to humans, or simply easier on the eyes.

A prospective study claims that the pets of the future will be “genetically manipulated and recombined” for the sole reason of making them more useful to humans or “cuter”

The new roles that have been discovered for horses, from sport to hobbies, games and providing company; haven’t been sufficient in preserving all breeds. In the future, horses will likely be little more than pets. This is a situation that would lead to the loss of horses, according to the French ethnologist and anthropologist Jean-Pierre Digard. But this is a view that is not widely shared.

The forgotten hecatomb of the 20th Century

History books often forget to mention the collapse of the horse population in the 20th century. In 1990 there were only 1.6 million horses in the whole of Europe, whilst in 1913 there were some 3 million in France alone. It was a hecatomb caused by the near total disappearance of draught horses and the horse-drawn streetcar. As during the previous century, nine out of ten horses were used for either of these tasks. In 1995 this correlation was inversed.
Numerous causes justified the...

Bibliography:

  • Ann Norton Greene, Horses at Work: Harnessing Power in Industrial America, Harvard University Press,‎ 2009, 336 p
  • Thierry Gaudin, 2100, Récit du prochain siècle (An Account of the Upcoming Century), Payot, 1993 – a book which has already predicted numerous things correctly such as rental bike and car systems in cities, electric cars and electronic banking
  • Jean-Pierre Digard, Une histoire du cheval (A History of Horses), Actes Sud, 2007

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Published 24-05-2015

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