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文章標題New York Times : To Preserve Regional Tradition, Flanders Subsidizes Horse Breeding
To Preserve Regional Tradition, Flanders Subsidizes Horse Breeding
By JAMES KANTER
MERCHTEM, Belgium — In less than a century, Belgian draft horses have gone from being one of the country’s most valuable exports to a vanishing breed in their own homeland, prompting waves of concern in communities like this small Flemish town.
To blunt the trend, the top politician in Flanders said this month that he would offer to subsidize their breeding. His idea is to preserve regional identity and mark the contribution made by animals that once hauled cargo and logs in ports and fields from Russia to the United States.
Belgian draft horses are “part of the valuable cultural inheritance of Flanders,” Kris Peeters, the minister-president of Flanders, said in an e-mail message. “By providing this bonus, I want to stimulate Flemish breeders, and thus secure a beautiful future for our Belgian draft horses.”
Breeders who gathered here last week for an annual competition to judge the quality and comportment of Belgian draft horses said the support, while modest, still would make a significant difference.
Annelies De Brabander, 23, one of the contestants, said the new subsidy should enable her to keep 35 draft horses rather than cut back. That in turn would help her to keep touring with a troupe that uses the horses for acrobatics and other displays.