Destruction by the EU of pastoralism in the Balkans

This is one reason why large numbers of Romanian shepherds, shearers and others are ending up in Spain. There’s an interesting collection of info here (beware stupid music and cursor) dealing with the history and organisation of transhumance in Spain. While the sheepway infrastructure still exists in the Balkans, lorry transport, improved roads and the concern for the rural environment manifested by Brussels have led to its disappearance in Spain. Four classes of way were generally recognised: cañadas, cordeles, veredas/varedas, and coladas. The first and largest of these seems to have guaranteed a minimum width over cultivated ground of 75m. That is obviously not as attractive as a motorway.

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  1. Waddyamean they’re disappearing? By my simple figuring, the Junta de Andalucia just lifted 60 olive trees off me when they decreed my half of the 37 metres of cañada real that slides alongside, theirs – in the interests of protection of the tradition, dominion over public lands, etcetera. Of course, I wouldn’t mind if they in turn would train shepherds in the correct use of the modern tape measure…


  2. My knowledge of the ways of the Junta of Andalucía suggests to me they’ll have 50 houses on that before you can say “baa”.

  3. Apparently, among the noble causes to which my sixty trees (handed down from generation to generation, BTW, since before the discovery of the element subsidium – symbol:Eu, weight:-1^0.5, half-life:2013) will be dedicated is the creation of a via verde. Will bald people be seen invading these hallowed confines? The gatling gun will be installed during all months except December and January. (don’t skip the flash intro, Trev!!)

  4. I’ll check the gatling gun link when the other mad guy has left the internet caff.

    I don’t actually see any legal basis for the Junta’s claim. I’m a bit vague on cañadas reales and the like, but the considerable areas of land involved were never owned by pastoralist organisations (of which the state could view itself as the successor) but merely ceded for use for the passage of stock after the harvest of whatever was planted on them. You should be able to retain the land and insist that no bald or furry scum pass over it until at least after carnival. On the other hand, you might make more digging up the trees and selling them to well-off gardeners than you’ll make with the olives.

  5. Hey Trevor, I was wondering, do you organize transhumance routes? I mean where you walk with the flock and the shepherd from winter to summer pastures?

  6. That’s an interesting one! The logistics would be a challenge, but I think it makes some kind of sense–I’ll talk to some people and get back to you by mail.

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