IFA South Leinster Regional Chairman James Murphy was today elected Chairman of the COPA Horse Working Party.
Speaking following his election, James underlined the need to have a true European policy for horses to maximize the economic potential of the sector and to take better account of the benefits of the equine sector for rural areas.
James Murphy said, “Horses play a vital role for the economies of rural areas, contributing to growth and jobs and encouraging consumers to have a healthier lifestyle through agriculture, equestrian schools, sport, education, agri-tourism and therapy . Horse production and training has an important role to play in supporting sustainable rural communities”.
“We therefore need to create the right environment in which farmers can earn enough to make their businesses viable. This also impacts on the welfare of horses which can be improved when there is an economically viable production system. Primary producers need to remain profitable if they are to respond effectively to new challenges such as limited natural resources, the effects of climate change or the emergence and spread of new diseases”, he stressed.
“The EU Commission recently recognised the contribution of the horse sector to the objectives of the European 2020 Strategy. Copa believes that taxation is the first thing that needs to be looked at in order to develop a real European policy for horses. A fair fiscal system adapted to the different needs of each Member State and that allows professional horse owners to generate the necessary revenues to maintain their economic activity is not yet in place at EU level”.
Other priorities for Mr Murphy focus on exchanging best practices on research and innovation in the sector to ensure a viable sector and ensuring that simplification of policy is extended to the equine sector. He would like to cooperate with other EU organisations to ensure that equines are high on the political agenda.