Friday, January 2, 2009


Courses in 2009 - 2010

If you are interested in any of these courses, either at the Center (in which case you need to make up your own group of at least 3) or at your home location, then contact us via email

The subjects are :

* First Level of Equine Behaviour, Welfare and Cognition
* 2nd Level (for those having attented previous courses & professionals) : Equine Teaching & consciousness, Fitting horses into agriculture, how to drive and work on the land, in the garden & forestry. Harness, implements, vehicles.

For public relations personnel, businesses & people working with difficult children. Learning about getting on with others from studying animals, their social relationships and yours with them. Practical work with horses, dogs, cattle & sheep. Tutors: Kaz, Oberlix, Ocean & Orange.

We have associations with universities in UK, USA, Germany & France. We take & supervise undergraduate and graduate students for university projects, masters and doctorates in ecology & ethology, and join own projects. We are WWOOF host farm where members come and work & learn about Organic Agriculture. All courses are in French and English.

April 29th - September 9th

Open Tuesday afternoon each week. Guided farm walk & nature trail. 15:30 - 18:00 by arrangement, telephone in advance, groups more than 5. Meet the animals, see the flowers & identify the wild plants and animals. Suggested contributions 10€ adults, supervised children less than 10yrs free.


Long ride around the Vercors with Druimghigha horses, or bring your own.

1st week of November

Examination for Certificate in Ecological Agriculture.

We can organise additional workshops & courses on:

  1. Equine behaviour, management, teaching and welfare.
  2. Wildlife of la Combe.

By arrangement. Please contact by email or telephone evenings 00 33 (0)475532027

Saturday afternoons throughout the year lessons with horses, ground work & riding, randonees, dance, camps etc... for regular adults & children. If interested contact us.


Courses in Japan


Marthe Kiley-Worthington

B.Sc ( zoology). D.Phil (ethology). M.Phil (philosophy of mind), British Horse Society AI (1971), II (1978, not jumping) spend her childhood in Kenya on farms, went to University in Scotland and then returned to Eash Africa to Makerere College, Kampala, Uganda and was one of the first researchers studying the behaviour of a large mammal in the field in Africa as a Goldsmith Scholar.
She then returned to the
UK to do a doctorate on communication in domestic and wild large mammals at Sussex University. She won post doctoral scholarships to study animal welfare problems of farm animals, and developed an ethogram for cattle, then returned to study wild eland and blesbok in South Africa while teaching at University of Pretoria.
In 1973 she established her first experimental ecological farm and stud while continuing detailed research on the behaviour of cattle and horses. After 10 years, she moved to
University of Edinburgh (Hon fellow) continued ethological and ecological research on an ecological farm on the Isle of Mull in the Hebrides. In 1989 the third farm was established in the Dartmoor National park in Devon to test the integration of food production and wildlife conservation. Elected an honorary fellow at the University of Exeter (1990-2003). Research on animal cognition and improved teaching began in 1992 and continues to date with domestic and African mammals. . Won prize for Creativity in Rural Life from the Womens’ World Summit Foundation at UN for work with women in agriculture in 1998, elected the Brenda Ryan Fellow at Girton College Cambridge in 2002. Visiting Fellow, Bristol University (Veterinary Science) 2006. Visiting Scholar (Philosophy) California University, Berkeley, USA, 2007. Consultant on Ecological Agriculture , Animal Behavioural & Welfare since 1970 and teaches riding and horse management.

Detailed academic curriculum vitae


B.Sc. (engineering). Registered Farrier, FRC. Born in Cornwall in 1952 . He went to University of London to study engineering for B.Sc..Joined Voluntary Service Overseas and taught in Ghana 2 years, returning to the UK to work on farms in Cornwall. He joined Marthe at Milton Court Eco Farm in Sussex, & completed his diploma in Ecological Agriculture (1978). He managed and developed Milton Court Eco Farm, Druimghigha Isle of Mull, Little Ash Eco Farm Devon, and now La Combe, Bezaudun sure Bine , Drome. Particular expertises are practical farming, arable & animal husbandry ( cattle, sheep, horses, pigs, poultry, camelids), designing and building alternative energy systems, farm vehicles & implements, draught animal implements from local materials, animal handling and teaching .He is a farrier, specialising in biomechanics and natural balance shoeing, and rides internationally long distance and flat races.

Non resident associates include: Dr. H.Randle, Senior Lecturer Ducky College, University of Plymouth


PRICES 2009-2010

We run workshops by invitation in many countries. If interested please contact us via email or phone 00 33 (0)475 53 20 27. We also take people for holidays and to learn about the local ecology, as well as horse and cattle behaviour.

To obtain the maximum from these courses/holidays it is best to stay at the centre.

We have accomodation for many pockets:

1) Chambre d'hôte en suite Two such rooms are available

2) Gites: Gite 1 - Two bedrooms, can sleep up to 6.

3) Lodge: (one bedroom, verhandah, small kitchen & shower) up to 2 people:.

4) Chambre d'hôte (not en suite)

5) Attic dormitory (sleeps up to 3):.

6) Hunters Hut

7) Bush Camp:

8) Wild Camping

Course & Lessons

- In ecology (local fauna and flora)
- In the ethology of mammals,in theory & practise
- working with & learning about cattle & their behaviour
- Working with equines,on the ground, ridden,working, driving etc
- Handling & teaching mammals, including, dogs, cattle, sheep, equines.

€70 private/hr, €45/hr group 2 - 5 persons, (with your animals or ours).

Rides out :
only after a lesson €40/ person/2 hrs (2 and more).

Pilgrimage to the natural world with horses:
with instruction on horses behaviour, other animals we meet, and the ecology of this beautiful area.

- Half a day with picnic: €100 (2- 4 people)
- All day: €200/person, if more than 4 then €100/person.

Taoïsm with horses and cattle:
all day expedition, learning about observing, and being ìn the world €150/pers min 2

Horse accomodation:
we have yards, stables and fields, an outdoor manege with music player, 40 x 20m, an indoor manege 20 x 20m, possibilities for endurance training & advise & accompaniment on local rides , self catering bunk accommodation adjacent to the horses, a resident farrier, cooperative animal educators & trainers up to Grand Prix dressage & international endurance.

in stable or yard & out during day bring own food. Hay & straw provided: €8/night/horse, €50/week.

Overnight Randonneurs:
including hay & food €10/night . Dormitory accomodation & kitchen: €20/person/night.

Horses for schooling:
€200/week plus board

Full livery

6 day course, 7 nights : 5 lessons on subjects as above, (or rides out), accomodation & full board group up to 5). €700/person

Dr Marthe KILEY-WORTHINGTON runs a consultancy in behaviour welfare & designing environments for mammals including: pets, horses, animals in zoos, wildlife parks & circuses.

Consultancy on Animal Behaviour Problems and Animal Welfare

The Centre runs clinics, workshops and a consultancy to help people with behavioural problems of their companion animals, horses, farm or wild animals.

We give advise on how, (given the particular facilities,) an improve quality of life and welfare of domestic and captive animals can be achieved. We work for governments, private individuals, zoos, circuses, national parks, nature reserves, farmers and NGO’s all over the world and published widely (c.v’s & list publications).

The principle advisor is Dr. M.Kiley-Worthington (B.Sc.D.Phil. M.Phil. BHSAI, Fellow Girton College Cambridge) who has spent her professional life researching the behavioural problems & welfare of mammals, and is one a well known and experienced Animal Behaviour Consultant world, wide with over 30 years experience. In the case of a particular behavioural problem, it is first established that the problem is not due to a physical disease by,if necessary, calling in a veterinary surgeon. A personal consultation by visit or via telephone/email is then arranged. A written report will be submitted if requested.

A orphan African elephant learning words by imitating his handler.

Books & Articles

Books on horses by Dr. M. Kiley-Worthington

Horse Behaviour in Relation to Management and Training (1983)

Reprinted 1999, translated into German, Italian, French and Dutch (in process), (available from the publisher & author, paper back £10.90). This was the first book on horse behaviour written by a scientist who had studied the behaviour of horses, and outlines the fundamentals of their physiology, perception, social organization, communication, breeding etc.
It also covers how learning works and discusses whether current horse management maximizes their welfare. It has been perhaps the most influential book in the recent change of attitudes concerning horses management and training.

Equine Welfare (1998)

J.A.Allen, (available from the author £10.00 hard back). This book is the first book about a single species which examines all the current arguments concerning animal welfare science, and applies them to whether what we do with our horses and how we keep them complies with maximizing their welfare. It includes a review of whether we should or should not compete in the many ways we do with equines, (combine training, jumping, racing, endurance etc) and covers what are the major welfare questions surrounding less well known subjects such as working donkeys (the most numerous working animal to day), zebras, working horses on the farm and travelling with them.
It examines all the arguments thoroughly from both sides, and concludes that we can do all these things with equines and still provide a life of quality for them, but some things need to change if we are seriously interested in their welfare.

Equine Education (2003)

Whittet books, (available from the publisher hardback £17.50). This book shows how what we know about the being of a horse (covered in Horse Watch) should be put into practice when teaching equines. It covers needs of the horse and how to keep them so these are fulfilled, learning theory, handling young and old, first riding, more advanced riding, jumping, long distance, travelling and living with equines and many more subjects. It is full of simple useful and effective tested methods and ideas.

Horse Watch (2005)

What is it to be a Horse, J. A. Allen large hardback with colour illustrations, (available from publisher @ £25, from author @ £21). This is perhaps the most important book about a single species and how they experience the world that has so far been published. In simple language understandable by any horse lover who can read, it reviews all the current ideas from many disciplines including cognitive science about how we can begin to know what the mental abilities of equines really are, and where they are similar or different from humans so we can begin to understand each individuals point of view. It give a host of examples and much new empirical results of the authors and others recent research. Although this is a controversial subject, the author, uniquely among writers to date, is not only a scientist and scholar, but is a professional instructor, breeder and international competitor. As a result, this book combines all information from scholars as well as from knowledge about horses from those who have daily experiences with them professionally. The message is that there are ways in which we can learn to better understand these animals, but we must be seriously aware of faulty preconceptions.

If you would like to purchase any of these books please email

Ecological Farm & Wild life Management Consultancy

The Centre runs a advisory service for those requiring help setting up or changing their farming system to self-sustaining Ecological Agriculture, a self-sustaining, diversified agriculture that increases net production, is economically viable, where animal welfare, aesthetic considerations and the integration of wildlife with food production are of great importance, and which causes no long term irreversible environmental changes.

The centre works for governments, UN, European Union, NGO’s, national parks, private nature reserves, both large and small farm proprietors, peasants, and horticulture holdings in many parts of the world in many countries (e.g. France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, UK, Spain, Switzerland, Asabijan, USA, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Morocco, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Leswoto, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Japan, Zambia, Malawi, India), with farms ( animal & crops), nature reserves, forestry, horticultural enterprises, alternative energy production, draught animals, landscape design, building from local materials.

The director and chief advisor Dr. M.Kiley-Worthington has 30 years of theoretical and practical experience as an agricultural advisor. C.C. Rendle expertises are:- engineering, farriery, appropriate farm implement design and making, animal management & teaching, building ). (c.v’s & list of publications).

For further details email with the details of your project.

A gentian in flower at La Combe

The Horse Project


For general and up to date information about the horses of the Druimghigha stud, their performance and career, read the
Druimghigha Blog, created and maintained by Vicky Clink, owner of Druimghigha Shanti

Druimghigha Shemal Winner of the Arab Marathon, 2000, Man versus Horse 2002 & 2003, 80km Red Dragon, Wales 2003. Short listed for the junior International Endurance Team, 2003. She knows over 250 words, and has learnt some human concepts. She was Aurora: Sleeping Beauty in the televised production .

The Druimghigha stud was founded in 1959 in Sussex , when Marthe Kiley-Worthington, having come to UK from Kenya , bought Stirrup Cup ( Kathiawar ) a Whetherby’s registered thoroughbred race horse. She was a crib biter, rearer and although fast, had behavioural problems & was not retained by the racing stable. She had been sold on to a variety of people, ending up with a city gent who could not manage her. Her behavioural problems sparked off my interest and with plenty of work, we overcame many of them and spent a summer touring around local shows, qualifying for the Foxhunter finals, and winning many events including gyhmkhana races. She visited Nimran, a pure Crabbet Arab, and produce Padna Parameter (Syringa) an anglo-arab who taught me much about teaching horses. After leaving university I left for Africa.On my return several years later, I sent Syringa to Harwood Asif a pure Crabbet Arab in order to breed a versatile performing but well conformed anglo-arab: Baksheesh, 3/4 arab, 1/4 thoroughbred was born in 1963. He was placed 3rd the first ever British Arab races, won the Arab marathon twice, won 3, 80km endurance rides in the early days, and took part in one of the first 160km in one day races on the South Downs . He jumped, won cross country and worked at medium dressage level.

a 15 year old Iris Draught mare was bought to ride and breed with Baksheesh. A registerered section A, 6 month old Welsh filly, Aderin, was bought off the hills to join us. Several years later, two pure bred Crabbet arabs: Omeya (Genji x Sumara) and Crysthannah Royal (Crystal King x Hannah of Fairfield) were bought at an Arab Horse Auction to join the stud. These four mares produced foals, every 3rd year or so. During the mares’ non breeding years, and every year for the stallion Baksheesh, the horses took part in competitions (endurance, dressage, jumping, cross country, racing, driving, gymkhana, obstacles) taught people, worked on the land , went on long rides around England. They lived as our companions and friends as well as our research subjects. Their social organization and communication was studied in detail for my doctoral thesis, and as a post doctoral fellow they were studied to help the initial development of animal welfare science.

Omeya and her son Druimghigha Oryx. Aged 2 months.

In 1972 when I was a fellow of the University of Sussex, we decided to examine the conventional equine husbandry and teaching, and experiment with alternative practices based closely on the behavioural needs of these high quality horses. This was the start of the 34 year research programme, (the longest running of any study of a group of horses to date). It has resulted so far, in four books and numerous scientific papers and theses (see list publications). We have continuously monitored the horses physical, social, emotional and cognitive behaviour, in order to assses their “needs” and developed measures for “quality of life”, not just the absences of “distress”.

The husbandry developed for the Druimghigha horses is the result of years of study of empirical observation and experimentation. For example, their physical needs are fulfilled by feeding them high fiber diets which they have access to at all times, and home produced grains when they are working more than one hour/day every day. Their need for constant movement and exercise is catered for by keeping them outside in large paddocks, and also working them frequently. Their social needs are catered for by the horses being in groups of different sexes and ages, often with a stallion so that mares have natural sex when they wish (contraceptives are used to prevent unwanted pregnancies). Their emotional needs are catered for by allowing friendships and sex , no artificially weaning of foals (unless their mother is at risk from continuing to lactate). We found that the establishment of behaviours indicative of trauma and distress was often linked to artificial weaning.

Their cognitive needs are catered for by the horses acquiring ecological knowledge since all the horses run out all year around in large paddocks with other species (cattle and sheep) with varied topography (rivers, mountains, woodland, ditches, cliffs etc). They have to make their own decisions to find natural shelter or shelter in buildings (provided in winter). The life of equines as well as humans can be enriched by mutual contact so the youngsters are handled and begin to learn to learn from humans and about them and their ways from when they are a few months old. We are particularly interested in the degree to which equines can learn to comprehend human language, experimenting with this, and with their ability to acquire human concepts and investigating animal consciousness.

Our horses are not shod unless it is necessary for the work they are doing, (when taking part in competitions over distances more than 40km). When shod, the “natural balance” shoeing technique is used, a method developed from studying the feet of feral horses.

Drugs are used only when it is in the interests of the individual’s welfare as it is maintained that constant use of drugs to keep horses well or sound indicates inappropriate husbandry. Antibiotics are rarely needed. The horses are wormed only after faecal egg counts indicate this is necessary. Soil Association approved wormers only used. The intestinal worms are controlled by multi-species rotational grazing .

All the individuals are monitored for any evidence of ill health or distress. The conception rate is significantly higher than for in hand breeding or Artificial Insemination. Ill health and diseases are rare ( e.g. Colic has occurred 3 times in 400 horse years. Despite the long, fast distances covered for international competitive long distance riding, lameness is rare. The average life expectancy for the horses retained bred or acquired young is 26 years. The Welsh mountain pony, Aderin is still active and able aged 38.

In 1983 we moved to the Isle of Mull, Hebrides, North West Scotland, to set up an experimental ecological farm and stud in a marginal areas. The horses adapted well to the very different climate and terrain, living out throughout the year but with winter shelter.

In 1989 we moved to the Dartmoor National Park in to set up an ecological farm and stud to demonstrate the integration of wildlife conservation with economic ecological farming and horse breeding.

In 2003 I was offered a fellowship at Girton College, University of Cambridge. Two of the horses accompanied me as subjects for our learning experiments. Thereafter the stud moved to a small project near Ely, demonstrating how organic horse management and horticulture can be integrated on the superb fenland soils. We transferred to our new large project in La Drome France on 25th December 2004. Here the horses live out in the high pre Alp mountains, snow in winter, very hot and dry in the summer.

Druimghigha Orbelix taking part in an endurance competition.

Their education starts when they are a few days old being handled gently and continues throughout their lives using only positive reinforcement. The animals intended to remain in the stud for their lives are taught to be able to win a race one day, and pull a plough give a beginner a riding lesson the next, win a dressage competition , then a long distance race, and deliver the vegetables in a light vehicle. They are truly versatile arabs and part breds, and have excelled in Endurance (10 international horses produced to date, 4 times winning the Arab Marathon, and all who have completed been placed within the first 5. We also take part in dressage events (up to Intermediare/Grand Prix), and demonstrations with dances, liberty and quadrilles.

Some of the well known horses include (all prefixed with Druimghigha):- Druimghigha Baksheesh, Druimghigha Shiraz and her foals: Druimghigha Shiera, Shirak, Shemal Shukrane & Shanti. Druimghigha Shereen and her foals: Sher Khan, Shergar, Shellah, Shezaam, Shindi and Socrates. Aderin and her foals: Druimghigha Achmed and Aisha Evans, Amanita, and Aroha. Chrysthannah Royal and her foals: Druimghigha Cariff, Cara, Carma and Christmas Time. Omeya and her foals: Druimghigha Omani, Osnan, Oscar, Omen, Oberlix and Oryx.

In 2002-3 we decided to see if Druimghigha Oberlix , (who is an pure Arab Horse Society Premium tested Performance Stallion), could take part in International level Endurance races and International dressage in the same summer. This he achieved, taking part and being placed in 80km races, 3rd in the Marathon, while also taking part in affiliative dressage up to Intemediare Level ( one before Grand Prix).

The research on equine education has involved teaching the subjects (Druimghigha Shemal ,Oberlix and Oryx) human language, measuring the speed of learning acts, learning concepts and whether or not equines have a “theory of mind”, in order to further investigate equine lore and equine consciousness. These subjects understand at least 200 words.

The research is one of the few research programmes where the subjects pay for the research. This is done by teaching, displays, multi-species theatre/ballet (Sleeping Beauty televised 1995, Chestnut Beauty 2000), workshops throughout the world (details of workshops see below). and selling young horses.The youngsters are usually sold at around three years old having had their secondary education (handled, lead, lunged, free schooled, backed, bitted, long reined, ridden out, elementary to medium dressage movements, 40km slow rides in difficult terrain, and out camping). Their fitness is assessed by heart recovery rates and heart monitors.

Oberlix and daughter Druimghigha Shemal being ridden cooperatively: NO TACK.

No equipment other than a simple snaffle, bitless bridle or head collar, saddle, numnah and breast plate is never used during their education or in competition unless it is obligatory (no drop nosebands of any type, martingales, running reins, curbs, long hackamores etc). The horses are cooperatively educated, not frightened or forced. If there is a problem, the education must be reassessed. They can be worked at liberty, ridden. They will go over every type of terrain that we can find ( water, sea, bogs, steep hills, rocks, rough areas, forests, steep banks, in snow, mud, rain, dry or dusty). They can be left tied up for several hours, kept in electric coralls, go camping with their riders or attend competitions with strange horses. As part of the sale, there is a free follow up service to help the new owners overcome any misunderstandings. Horses are only sold to approved homes. We sell young versatile cooperatively educated 3 year olds. Contact centre if by email if interested.

3 year old chesnut, 15.2 gelding, Shukreen. Shemal X Oryx for sale 2009

Courses & Students. We take pupils and students to learn about all aspects of horse behaviour and welfare, improve their handling, working or driving skills, learn more about educating equines from beginners to advanced professional standard. We specialize in teaching the art of riding based on the European classical school, but with ideas and practices filtered from many schools of riding including Western, Indian, Australian, English with an emphasis on cooperation between horses and rider, rather than obedience of the horse, and domination or leadership by the human.

Everyone, from beginner to advanced rider, first has a lesson in our magnificent manege, and then can be taken out (on our horses or their), for rides in this spectacular mountain world, for hours, days or weeks, while learning about the local natural world, learning more about your mount and about the ecology and how to value it more (see calender & prices).

We run a 6 months or 1 year Diploma (approved by universities in UK, USA, Japan, Canada, Australia) in the science, theory and practice of Equine Welfare , Ethology , Education and Husbandry (email for further details) in French & English.The teachers are academically and practical ( BHS qualified, see personnel).The teaching is of a high standard and the diploma demanding. Many world authorities visit the Centre and contribute by giving seminars, lectures or demonstrations in their areas of expertise. The students are exposed to many different ideas and are taught to think, question and discuss all relevant issues. 1 scholarship per year is offered to particularly promising students.

We supervise undergraduate and graduate student projects and theses.

We run an internationally consultancy on behavioural problems and welfare of equines (and other species). email or phone 00 33 (0)475532027 for further details and prices.

Druimghigha Oryx and Druimghigha Oberlix , the two stallions,
nuzzle each other excitedly over a hedge.



We have to date conducted these international workshops in UK, France, Japan, Australia, USA, Switzerland, Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya. In French or English, or with translator.

Organisation: Interested people & riding Centres organize workshops internationally for us. If you are interested look at calendar or contact by email for further details. At least 10 people are necessary to cover costs. ( Prices: 45 pounds, / 63E for 2 days; 40pounds day 1 only. 25pounds/35E for an individual lesson on day 2. If less than 10 people, must have minimum 350pounds/490E day 1. Of each person’s payment over 10, 40% day 1 & 10% day 2 go to organizer to pay expenses (advertising etc). Board and lodging is provided for teachers & horses free for the period required. We need a comfortable place to lecture with video player, some equines (any age/sex), and an enclosed space to work them ( out or indoors). Date will be mentioned on Eco Research Centre’s internet site. All profits go to help finance the Centres research programmes. Notes & attendance certificates for grants on request. Text books available. email if already attended & require advanced courses.

Day 1. Theory & some practical experiences.

& background to the scientific/philosophical approach.

Do horses have minds?
If so what are they. What mental life do they have? Current understanding of these questions by scholars in simple language. Applying “conditional anthropomorphism”, what it is and why.


What is it to be an equine? Exercises to help us understand differences and similarities between them and us in perceiving and interpreting the world.

The physical, social, emotional and cognitive needs
of equines, and how to fulfill these in order to improve their welfare. Exercises in: learning to observe social behaviour , equine communication, and understanding equine emotions.

Instinct and Learning
. The ways in which equines learn. Exercises in putting the theory into practice.

.This understanding put into practice in handling, liberty, teaching with the voice, lunging and concept learning.

Feet & shoeing.
When to shoe horses and why. Balancing the hoof & shoe. Four point/natural balance shoeing & why.

Day 2 to 5. Putting the theory into practise.

The next day/s consists of individual lessons for those participants who would like them, (45 minutes) with their own or our equines. These can be on a range of different aspects of equine behaviour, husbandry, teaching or riding. They include handling, teaching simple movements, liberty, lunging, early & more advanced riding, (up to Grand Prix dressage) jumping, cross country, physiological and psychological fitness for endurance, driving, working equines, or how to conduct ethological studies with horses, ponies, donkeys, mules or zebras. They can also be consultancies on behavioural problems (e.g. loading, aggression, “vices”, bolting, management problems etc). Maximum 6 lessons/ day. There is discussion at the end of each lesson. We have 1hr lunches together (sandwiches or buffet) to facilitate discussion and a social meal in the evenings ( café/pub etc).

Text books:
Horse Behaviour, Equine Welfare, Equine Education & Horse Watch. >> See Books & Articles

Africa Project

For the last 35 years, we have been researching, how in practise on farms and in theory, to help, rural women in Africa have a life of quality but increase or retain their political independence , and ,at the same time , how to integrate, wildlife conservation, with food production.

The result has been the development of Ecological Agriculture, agriculture based on an understanding of how natural ecosystems work applied to farms. It’s definition is:-

“A self sustaining, diversified, high net yielding economically viable agriculture which has no irreversible environmental effects, where the whole farm is a wildlife conservation area, and where there are no unacceptable social, ethical and political consequences.” (Kiley-Worthington. Ecological Agriculture. Food First Farming. 1993)

We have developed and run 4 successful farms in UK, and helped many start in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe, developing one in France and one in Africa.

Proposed Eco Farm Demonstration, Educational & Research Centre in Africa.

Even though Africa is a very large continent, land is increasingly becoming a limited resource and conflicts of interest for land use are growing. One of the most important is that between those who wish to preserve large areas of land for wildlife conservation, and those who wish to have more land for growing of food and other agricultural products. The majority of the local rurally based voting populations in the different countries usually favour more land for food production since wildlife is often a nuisance from which they receive no benefits.

Various ideas to help towards resolving this conflict have been tried. In general they have been geared towards trying to bringing the local rural people more into the consumer economy by sharing money earned from the wildlife (by tourism or hunting) with the local communities. There is a strong trans-African cultural interest among women in growing food for their families . As a result, women in many areas of the developing world , (where paid work is often scarce, available land in short supply, and no welfare payments have a growing sense of insecurity.

There is unlikely to be one solution to this conflict throughout Africa, but there is a very important need for new ideas which may be relevant. Failing further integration of food production and wildlife conservation, ,much of the indigenous fauna and flora, (particularly the large animals) will be extinct in a few years, and/or wildlife areas will be very restricted.

The Eco Research & Educational Centre has been working on local practical solutions to this conflict by developing and running self-sustaining small farms which, because they require little capital and are economically viable, can help increase the rural womens’ options. For the last 30 years we have been acquiring appropriate techniques, integrating modern scientific knowledge with local community knowledge and skills (further information in Ecological Agriculture, Food First Farming 1993, Souvenir Press, London), and teaching others from all over the world to do this (150 to date). Such farms can on a small scale produce more for less than modern conventional agricultural production, and re-empower women to provide food for their families. A diploma course has been run at the Eco Research Centre for the last 15 years, to which scholarships have been given to people from all over the world including Kenya, Uganda & Zimbabwe and follow up assistance to help them set up and run demonstration small farms in their countries.

One of the major emphases has been to integrate domestic animals into farms without causing them to suffer. We have conducted experiments with different management systems and developed highly profitable non-intensive, self-sustaining small scale animal husbandry systems for domestic animals where they have lives of quality (Kiley-Worthington & Randle 1999).

One of the major problems areas at present are areas of small farms that abut national parks or nature reserves. The large mammals often escape and cause havoc to the local farmers and their crops, reinforcing the local populations desire to be rid of them and have the land. These animals can be contained, and, also, some of them can be handled and taught to do useful work efficiently and safely for the local community on their farms or transport heavy materials. In this way they contribute to the local poor rural communities with energy ( e.g. elephant, zebra, buffalo) and also by providing other products which do not threaten their lives, such as milk (e.g.eland and cape buffalo) and fibres. The local people then have experiences with these animals which are of great help to them ( an elephant can pull a two furrow plough and plough around 1h a day, compared to a bullock 0.25h/day). The people then begin to value them for their work, and finally, for themselves (that is their intrinsic value). They appreciate them as living emotional beings and part of their traditional invaluable cultural heritage. So, these traditionally wild animals become ambassadors for wild life, and not just something to attract tourists from whom the small farmer rarely benefits.

Aims of the Eco Research & Education Centre in Africa.

Semi-domesticating and training African elephants, eland and buffalo has been done before, but the centres commitment for the last 10 years has been to develop this and the science of animal educational psychology to ensure that both the animals and humans working with them, are safe and have a live of quality ( see list publications). The co-operative training method involves uses non violent methods. Large African mammals have been taught to help on farms (ploughing, harvesting) with road and dam building, forestry, for transport and leisure. These include African elephants, Cape buffalo, zebra & eland, (Kiley-Worthington 1997). It has been extremely successful (video available). Now it is necessary to set up a demonstration integrated ecological farm and nature reserve to:-


help the rural people towards self-sustainable food security,

(2) demonstrate how this can be integrated with wildlife conservation,

(3) Interest the local community in their natural heritage living with large wild animals by teaching some of them to do useful things for the people.

The ecological farm will provide food and fodder for the resident humans and animals, building materials and furniture (for accommodation for people and animals, lecture rooms and laboratories). Local traditional building styles will be the basis for the design. The farm will provide its own energy from renewable resources using simple available cheap technology (wood, wind, sun, water if available, and animal and human power). Its own water ( rain water collection and storage, irrigation, recyling water systems) and waste disposal (recycling organic and other wastes, e.g. compost, and making simple objects from recycling plastic).

It will grow staple food crops such as wheat and maize, and vegetables, dairy, eggs and some meat. It will develop small cottage industries reliant on the raw materials from the farm. These will include wood workers ( e.g. wood carving, turning, making furniture from the farms self-sustaining woodland), spinning and weaving from the wool and fibre from the farms animals, basket making from appropriate bush and the farms sisal ( if appropriate), diary products from the farms milk ( e.g. cheeses, yogurts, cream, butter), and pottery if clay is available. The medicinal use of indigenous plants will be studied, collected and processed. The first objective is to supply the residents on the farm, if there is excess the products will be sold locally.

The ecological farm and wildlife area will be an educational centre. The courses offered will be principally for local people, but attendants from the developed world will be welcomed and charged to finance local participants. We will continue teaching the 6 month certificated, and one year diploma courses in the theory and practise of ecological agriculture, already internationally renowned. and running for 15 years. Courses will be run on the behaviour, ecology and husbandry of wild animals, ecology, conservation, environmental philosophy. With certificated qualifications for large animal handlers which concentrate on ensuring human safety, cooperative teaching and a high quality of life for the anim als (developed for elephants in Zimbabwe a world first). Short courses 1-14 days will also be run.

Research of all levels will continue in ecological agriculture, ecology, animal welfare, large mammal cognition, equine minds, environmental philosophy and animal educational psychological. International researchers will be encouraged and the centres research staff will continue to produce publications. The centre will be to accommodation, supervision and research facilities. In exchange, they will be asked to contribute to the centre ( e.g. help with teaching,or researching ecological problems that arise at the centre or in the locality).

A particularly attractive unique aspect will be the experience of living with the animals, and learning more about them instead of just seeing them at a distance. All the people will live together at the centre, in order to foster international understanding and cooperation. Over a period of time, local people will be trained to administer and run the centre.

Situation. The area for the establishment of this centre is under discussion. It is essential that the project fits with government aims and has government cooperation and it must be enthusiastically welcomed by the local people. We are therefore sending this proposal out to individuals and governments whom we consider might be interested.

Personnel & Experience. ( see cv’s and list of publications.) The personnel centrally involved have individual expertise which together ensures that there is both theoretical and practical experience of setting up, running and teaching:-

(1) Self-sustaining ecological farms, building using local materials, developing renewable energy sources,

(2) Animal educational psychology, improved handling & training of wild and domestic animals,

(3) Wildlife conservation & research. In many countries in Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. (e.g: Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe).

There will also be undergraduate and post-graduate students involved.

Finance & Budgets. Finance, energy and expertise is available for developing the centre from scratch once the land is available, although more finance will increase the speed of development. The project is in memory of one of the founders of IUCN and of Human Ecology (Dr. E.B.Worthington) & Stella Johnson, Kenyan dairy farmer. The project must be backed by both central and local government approval and have the donation of land, (or some leasing arrangement) before it can go ahead.

Further finance as the project progresses will be necessary, in particular to reintroduce some of the traditionally wild animals and establish small breeding herds. There is considerable interest in this proposal from organisations and individuals internationally, including the media, consequently there should be good media coverage. The idea is to match the existing finance by funds raised.

This project is, in part, a model for how poorer rural people who have some land could farm and integrate wildlife conservation . It will develop at the appropriate rate for the local community using local resources, although, initially, there will be a need for some financial inputs for the development of the educational and research programme. It will apply for charitable status once the site has been selected.

Eco Research & Education Centre Copy right ISSN 1367-2045

Un éléphanteau orphelin apprend à monter dans un camion.