Camargue cattle at pasture
|Other names||Raço di bioù|
|Country of origin||Camargue region of France|
|Distribution||Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France|
|Weight||Male: 400 kg|
|Female: 250 kg|
|Horn status||Upcurved horns|
Bos (primigenius) taurus
The Camargue cattle breed, in Provençal: Raço di bioù, is a cattle native to the Camargue marshlands of the river delta of the Rhône in southern France. The cattle are black in color with upward sweeping horns. They are hardy animals thriving on the marshes where they live semi-wild, tended by the mounted herders called gardians who ride the famous Camargue horses which live in the same area. The bulls are used for bull-fighting and for the course camarguaise; animals suitable neither for the bull-ring nor for breeding are sold for beef. The breed is also regarded as a tourist attraction. The meat of the Camargue breed, along with that of the Brava cattle breed and crosses between the two, can under strict conditions of pasturage and of zone and methods of production be marketed with the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) "Taureau de Camargue" certification of origin; animals that have appeared in the bull-ring are excluded. The breed is not endangered, with the population estimated at 5950 head. The cattle share the wetland environment with the horses, wild boar, and flamingoes. Cattle egrets live with the cattle.
This breed has existed for a long time in the region of the Camargue : it is mentioned in writings dating from the Roman times. The animals seem to have interbred very little with other types of cattle and remain almost a throwback species. This corroborates the idea that it has existed in the Camargue for two thousand years. Some theorize it is related to cattle that now inhabit Asia and Southern Europe, and believe it is the last branch of the species Bos taurus asiaticus. Others argue that the Camargue is descended from aurochs who inhabited the area in prehistoric times, making its closest relative the extinct Bos primigenius mauritanicus. The first idea is predominant. The animals are also similar to a breed of cattle driven around Solutré.
- Etude de la race bovine: Raço di bioù Bureau des Ressources Génétiques (in French) "Study of cattle breeds: Raço di bioù" Accessed September 2011.
- Nacioun Gardians (Cultural association, Camargue, France)
- A.O.C. Viande « Taureau de Camargue » Parc naturel régional de Camargue (in French) Accessed September 2011.
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