About European Shepherds Network
European Shepherds Network (ESN) brings together extensive livestock farmers and shepherd organizations in Europe that share common goals such as supporting pastoralism and building a cohesive social movement.
Read our newsletter
Change Site language
- Calling for the 5th ESN Assembly !!! 21-23 September 2016, St.-Floir, France
- European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism to host 2015 Conference in Ireland
- Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein Declaration
- Third ESN meeting in Koblenz, Germany
- CALL FOR A EUROPEAN SHEPHERDS ASSEMBLY & Conference on Pastures
- ESN awarded grant by FAO to develop regional pastoralist Hub
- European delegates sign common declaration at Kiserian Global Gathering of Pastoralists
- SHEPHERDS UNITED CONFRONT THE EUROPEAN COMISSION
- Eight shepherd from across Europe meet in Kassel, Germany
- Why support shepherds? Open letter by a ESN member
- The electronic identification for sheep case
5th Meeting of the European Shepherds Network
St. Floir – Cantal – France
Celebrating the European Week of Mountain Local Breeds, and hosted by CORAM and Aubrac and Salers Livestock Breeders Unions from Central France the 16- 25 September in St. Floir, ESN members, grassroots pastoralist organisations from different countries, will take part in a public seminar the 21 – 22 September, around the question of the autonomy of livestock systems, and the importance of local breeds on it, as well as the impact of Common Agricultural Policy on mobile pastoralist systems across Europe.
The 22nd we expect to have a meeting with the French Ministry of Agriculture to explain our conclusions.
The 23rd, ESN will also hold its 5th meeting and assembly to discuss the action plan for the future.
We will be organising ESN travels and calling for support to donor organizations.
See you in Saint-Floir !
The European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (EFNCP) will host its annual Conference in Corofin (County Clare, Ireland) on 22-24 October 2015. The speakers will be farmers and specialists coming from diverse High Nature Value landscapes across Europe. The event will also be a gathering of EFNCP members.
Details, programme and booking form: http://efncp.org/events/seminars-others/efncp-conference-ireland2015/.
Two weeks ago at the European Pastoralists Assembly organized by ESN in Koblenz, Germany, more than 50 pastoralists from 17 countries signed a common declaration, entitled the “Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein Declaration”.
Our members are actively circulating this statement within their region and networks, but please help us support the demands of European pastoralists by downloading and sharing the declaration!
From 26 to 28 June, more than 50 shepherds from 17 European countries have met at the European Pastoralists Assembly organized by ESN in Koblenz, Germany to share the problems they are facing, discuss solutions and agree on further actions to be developed by European Shepherds Network.
The successful meeting resulted in a common declaration signed by participating delegations. We will be posting the statement and further materials about the outcomes of this important event very soon. In the meanwhile, here are a few pictures of united pastoralists.
This Assembly will take place in Koblenz (Germany) from 26-28 of June. We are inviting 2 pastoralist representatives from each country in Europe. If you want to nominate or apply to participate, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org before the 17th of June.
The only continental wide organization representing pastoralist grassroot groups and regional chapter of the World Alliance of Mobile and Indigenous Pastoralists (WAMIP) European Shepherd Network (ESN) is moving forward in its mission of bringing together pastoralist and making their voice be heard.
The agenda is available here: ESN-meeting-2015.05.25-EN.
ESN has succeeded in securing funding for at least two years from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) that will enable it to strengthen the regional dialogue between shepherd organizations, implement actions at the European level, and become a strong entity with an operative secretariat during at least 2015 and 2016 to serve the purposes of its members.
The grant provided by the FAO covers the organization of a European-level meeting in 2015, set to happen in Koblenz, Germany on June 26-27-28. Shepherd leaders and Union representatives of the extensive livestock farming sector will be invited to discuss shared issues, such as:
– CAP implementation and national legal frameworks
– wild fauna and predator species
– land issues
– ecosystem services and climate change
– cultural identity and preservation of the shepherd way of life
The agreement with FAO also includes a regional identification process expected to result in a census of pastoral organizations in the EU countries.
Several shepherd councilors of the European Shepherd Network (ESN) project and other representatives of European shepherd organizations have met in Kiserian, Kenya to constitute a European delegation at the Global Gathering on Pastoralism jointly organized and hosted by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program). From December 9th to 15th 2013, the event gathered 120 pastoralist leaders representing communities in 48 countries worldwide in Kiserian, Kenya, to share experiences and concerns.
Interviews of some of the European delegates can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LzMOOwl6S0
European delegates took this opportunity to discuss their own priorities on the continent and reassert the necessity of having a strong and united movement at EU level to support pastoralism against agribusiness and bureaucracy. Together they have signed and circulated among their respective organizations and partners the following declaration:
Organisations of cattle breeders and shepherds from all over Europe will protest in this manner against the mandatory introduction of an electronic chip on each animal.
On 7 March more than 500 shepherds will meet to hear the verdict of the European Court in Strasbourg.
Several organisations of small cattle breeders from different European countries (France, United Kingdom, Hungary, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, etc.) working in extensive farming, in filing a claim against Individual Electronic Identification (EID) that the German Sheep Breeders Association filed in 2012 before the Court of Stuttgart that is currently pending a decision by the European Court of Justice.
On 7 March, representatives of shepherds from all over Europe will meet in Strasbourg after they were summoned by the European Court based in this city.
The claim was filed because of the flaws in the system at the time in which it is to be implemented, particularly in its pin form. These deficiencies have been reported in all Member States where the system has been implemented, as well as the injury it results in for the tagged animal.
In addition to its inefficiency, this system involves several bureaucratic phases and costs for farmers that we deem excessive at all levels, and are the same whether or not a disease has broken out.
According to the coordinator of the European Shepherds Network, Fernando García-Dory: “Making the chip compulsory is the last straw in a series of absurd and inconsistent policies for small livestock farms that are so valuable for the environment and society in Europe. Such policies are designed in Brussels without any input from farmers and are cut off from reality in the field. They might end a way of life that is already seriously endangered by the low prices that the global market imposes and other causes. The EID results exclusively from an excessive desire for control and bureaucratisation of agriculture as well as the economic interests of those who produce the device. This is a historic moment in which shepherds from all over Europe are uniting and saying “Enough is enough”. We know that the public prefers shepherds, rural landscapes and high-quality products over industrialisation and mechanisation of food production concentrated in few companies that continue to cause food scares and animal discomfort.”
On June 23, members from ESN – European Shepherd Network – from seven European countries and a local shepherd held a public meeting in the Ständehaus as part of the dOCUMENTA (13) conference program in Kassel, Germany.
The assembly gathered sheep herders and farmers who discussed the creation of European Shepherd Network, an organization to give this community a voice and make it visible. They also commented on current campaigns by shepherds and their relation to public opinion and to their animals.
The event included the screening of a documentary recounting the journey of German shepherds from Berlin and Brussels to Trier.
documenta is the world’s largest contemporary art exhibition, running in Kassel every 5 years.
Shepherds are vital – we need them!
Their work is invaluable.
Permanent grassland is rich in plant and animal species. It is the best way to manage and protect land.
– It is the most effective way to protect the soil from wind and water erosion. - It filters out pollutants and delivers clean drinking water. - It absorbs carbon dioxide better than any other land use. - It offers a habitat for countless endangered plants and animals.
But species-rich permanent grassland does not come by itself. It is the result of decades of work by experts – the shepherds.
Without their dedication and effort, this land would turn into forest or desert.
The work of shepherds is very special:
In our work and daily life, we all consume resources.
But through their work, shepherds safeguard resources. They improve habitats and the health of soil, water and air. They produce high-quality meat, milk, hides and wool. They create irreplaceable benefits for nature and the environment.
That is why shepherds are vital. That is why we need them!
The case Vereinigung Deutscher Landesschafzuchtverbände e. V. (VDL) is carrying against the individual animal identification – towards herd identification (batch identity) – shows the first results:
The Higher Administrative Court of Koblenz has basically declared the action admissible. This is a necessary prerequisite for a hearing before the European Court of Justice. There are other indications that we have a good chance to make it to Luxembourg.
This success before the German court has made Sergio Pavon Gonzalez, Policy Officer, DG SANCO to personally asked to be kept informed.
We must now solve the following problem:
When we come to the European Court, all 27 Member States and the Commission will be asked for their position regarding the complaint.
Some states will not respond.
Therefore, we ask for reports from as many organizations throughout Europe as possible highlighting all the problems with the system.