Possible funding to breed racehorses in Tuscany


Key Words:  Agricultural EU funding and breeders of race horse in Italy

7 November 2013

Roberta Angelilli (PPE)


In Tuscany around 200 people breed racehorses on land that they either own or lease; their job consists in keeping broodmares, ensuring that they reproduce and weaning and raising their offspring (foals) until they reach an average age of 18-20 months. Thereafter the horses are sold, in auctions or simply by private agreement, to owners who entrust them to equestrian centres where dressage activities and competition training (trotting and gallop racing) are carried out. Breeders therefore earn most of their money from selling foals, with the 20% royalty they receive from their horses’ prize money being their second most important source of income.

For these reasons, it is the job of every breeder to study cross-breeds and invest in superior bloodlines so that they can breed competitive horses that can take part in races and major competitions throughout the world. Tuscany is the Italian region with the highest number of equestrian activities: around 2 000 people are employed directly in the sector and more than 70 000 people participate in equestrianism; there are also 195 FISE (Italian Equestrian Federation) centres and 9 racecourses in the region.

However, this activity today incurs high costs (stabling and paddock costs, costs of maintaining huge pastures, costs of maintaining high-quality broodmares and foals, farrier costs, veterinary costs for insemination and for checks required during pregnancy, high stud fee costs, transport costs and the costs of registering foals in the appropriate stud books) which are seriously jeopardising the entire sector and having a major impact on all related sectors, too.

These costs have led to a drastic reduction in the number of foal births, because many breeders have either reduced their stock of broodmares or stopped breeding horses altogether on account of the high risk to their business if broodmares fail to reproduce or if their foals have an accident and are unable to take part in competitions.

In view of the above, can the Commission reply to the following questions:

1. What programmes or funding are planned for the trotting horse and racehorse breeding sector in the new programming period 2014-2020, with particular reference to Tuscany?
2. Are any funds available for the promotion and enhancement of racecourses in Tuscany?
3. What funding is planned for Tuscany’s regional animal breeding plan in order to assist breeders in researching the best cross-breeds and bloodlines?
4. Can it provide an overview of the situation?

Answer :

8 January 2014

Joint answer given by Mr Cioloş on behalf of the Commission

Written questions :E-012586/13 , E-012592/13

The EU legal framework for programming period 2014-2020 does not explicitly list the non-agricultural sectors for which support in rural area can be given. It is up to the Member States to define the scope of intervention of their Rural Development Programmes. Therefore, at present, it cannot be excluded that racehorse breeding and/or services linked to it could potentially be funded by the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

With regard to the 2007-2013 programming period and in accordance with the current legal basis, as well as on the basis of the content of the Italian Rural Development Programmes (RDPs), support for ‘promotion and enhancement of racecourses’ from the EAFRD is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, since the implementation of RDP measures and the selection of individual projects are the responsibility of the Regional Managing Authorities, it is at that level that further information on this issue should be sought.