Chinese agriculture although usually considered as belonging to a "vegetable culture", makes use of many labour animals such as oxen and buffaloes, horses, donkeys, mules and camels. With a population of some 130 million cattle, including 26 million of equines, China has more horses than any country in the world. The present geographical distribution - dominance of buffaloes and oxen in the South, prevalence of donkeys over a large territory, marginalization of horses - should be seen as the result of a multisecular evolution. Nevertheless, the draft animal population has been constantly growing during the past fifty years corresponding to the first stage of the agricultural revolution. On the other hand, statistical data concerning equines during the five year period 1990-1995 demonstrate a change in breeding economics. The recent surge in equine fertility should be seen as a means of meeting a rapidly expanding meat market.
Horses, Agriculture, Animal demography, China.