French horse breeders who oppose a landfill site in a picturesque region of Normandy are calling for international support in their bid to have it closed.
Opponents are calling for international backing for their cause as the World Equestrian Games take centre-stage in the region.
Those opposing the dump allege it puts the breeding lands and breeding activities around the Haras du Pin at risk.
They are hoping, with the Games being held in their region, to harness international support for their cause.
The landfill at Nonant-le-Pin opened in October last year and has been the subject of a peaceful citizen’s blockade at its entrance since.
It is just 5km from the historical site of the Haras du Pin
Opponents claim the landfill puts the Normandy region at risk of receiving industrial waste from all over Europe and possibly further afield.
The landfill, by company GDE, could received up to 150 000 tonnes of waste a year, or 2.5 million tonnes over its estimated 17-year life.
Opponents fear pollution from the site.
“The future of our breeding activities depends on our active and continuous mobilisation against this project,” the breeders said in a statement.
They said the International Federation of Thoroughbred Breeders, which met in Chile last March, classified the lands surrounding the Haras du Pin as a protected region for the breeding and raising of horses.
The breeders argue that there is “total incompatibility” between the landfill and the many surrounding horse farms.
“These lands harbour some of France’s most beautiful and famed stud farms, and half of the country’s winning horses in races and equestrian sports are raised here,” they said.
Spread over 15 square kilometres, 165 farms are recorded, breeding thoroughbreds, trotters and sport horses.
They say their blockade of the entrance, which began on October 24, will only come to an end when their rights to protect the land have been re-established and responsibilities have been clarified.