Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Horse population dropping in Cuba, researchers say

Revolution on horseback
Here comes the cavalry

There were an estimated 4.7 million cattle, 400,000 horses, 30,000 mules, 26,000 buffaloes and 6,000 donkeys in Cuba in 2000, according to a paper, "The importance of horses, mules and donkeys in modern Cuba."

Roughly 700,000 of those animals were being used regularly for work, the eight-page paper said.

The paper also said the horse population had declined by about half from 1980 to 2000. Researchers attributed the drop to urbanization, an increase in the number of people using motorized transportation and, possibly, limited feed supplies for horses and an increased demand for horse meat.

Five universities and the Cuban Ministry of Transportation produced the paper, which appears to be six or seven years old.

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