The world’s equine population has been dropping by about a million horses a year for the three years from 2009 to 2011, figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations reveal.
The trend is the same for livestock including cattle, sheep and, but pigs joined the donkey in increasing numbers worldwide, figures just released by the FAO show.
In 2009, there were 60,001,310 horses listed world-wide, with a drop to 59,584,428 in 2010, and 58,472,151 logged in 2011.
Hot on the heels of their fellow equidae are donkeys (43,230,790) and mules (10,457,135) – which if added together give a total of 53,687,925 animals.
But far outweighing all animals is the 1.426 billion cattle in the world, followed by 1.093 billion sheep, 967 million pigs, and 924 million goats.
In Europe, horse numbers dropped from 6.3 million in 2009, to 5.8 million in 2011.
But in North America, horse numbers have shown an increase since 2009, when there were 10.1 million horses, jumping to 10.4 million in 2009, to sit at 10.5 in 2011. The 2011 figures for individual countries include USA (10,150,000) and Canada (405,000), where an increase of 5000 horses was made from 2010.
In North America, horses are far outnumbered by cattle, with 104.8 million logged in 2011, and pigs, with 79.1 million animals in the same year.
Nine countries are estimated as having more than a million horses, with the USA revealed as having the world’s largest population, at 10.150 million. China is next on 6.77 million, and the Americas have three other countries in the “top 5” – Mexico with 6.35 million horses, Brazil with 5.5 million horses, and Argentina with 3.59 million. Other countries with more than a million horses were Mongolia (2.112m), Ethiopia (2.028m), Kazakhstan (1.528m), and the Russian Federation (1.340m).
New Zealand horse numbers have dropped steadily since 2009, when 65,149 horses were logged. That dropped to 64,105 in 2010, before falling further in 2011 to 56,505. Australian numbers have increased slightly, from 256,413 in 2009, to 258,000 in 2010, and 259,467 in 2011.