Image from typicallyspanish.com
We don't often write about using less cars and trucks in wars; somehow nature and the environment don't come up in those debates. But NATO is switching from using high-tech vehicles to mules in the Balkans because the mules do a better job.
When it comes to navigating the treacherous mountain passes, sturdy little (5ft. tall) mules from Murcia, southern Spain are just the ticket. They can go places where vehicles with GPS and state-of-the-art weaponry can't make it.
"A Horse looks into your eyes, a mule looks into your soul"
It turns out that the German peacekeeping forces in Kosovo are buying mules for transporting heavy military weapons in the mountainous areas. The mules can carry 450 lb. each and they refuel on grass, hay, or anything else that they find along the way.
The German army bought a few last year and went back for 7 more . The army has purchased four mules, one from Lorca in Murcia, and three from Almería for their mountain brigade. Apparently the Lorca beasts have been chosen from 12 different studs for their strength and stamina, and will be pulling heavy artillery through the mountains. They cost
The new recruits will be trained in Bavaria first, and then join the NATO peacekeeping mission to Kosovo.
Image from Michael Totten Kosovo Mountains
This is a godsend for the handful of farmers who still breed them, mainly out of nostalgia. The mule used to be a favourite for mule trains and ploughing and formed the backbone of the local farming economy. But now they have all but disappeared from the Spanish countryside. Said one farmer "I am happy for the Germans to take them. They have shown that they know how to look after them." : Guardian