SPANISH shepherds have branded plans by big city schools to teach shepherding a ‘sheep trick’. Higher education schools in both Madrid and Barcelona are now offering shepherding courses as a way to boost the dwindling sheep-farming industry. However, the shepherding community has reacted badly and is against the move, claiming school-taught qualifications take away from ‘rural traditions’. “It used to be just something that you learn from your dad,” one shepherd, Jordana Madrid, said. “The survival of sheep isn’t at risk because there will always be a sheep-farming industry but the values and traditions of the shepherds certainly are.” The number of shepherds in Spain is predicted to have halved over the past century, although there are no official statistics for the neglected industry. Students who undertake shepherding in school will be granted a certificate by the regional ministry of agriculture. In November 2014, shepherds guided a flock of 2,000 sheep through Madrid’s streets in protest against modern agricultural practices.
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