As part of the current agroecological transition, animal traction in agriculture is benefiting from an increased focus in developed countries. However, the practice is struggling to gain recognition from research, institutions and the agricultural profession. This article aims to analyze how animal traction is treated in developed countries, and to assess the extent to which it could be considered an agroecological practice. We analyze animal traction as a scientific object and a socio-professional movement. Our methodology is based on a review of scientific literature and an analysis of the French general press. The various studies show that animal traction has advantages in terms of energy, economics and agronomy. It tends to be developed by alternative movements and farmers motivated by a desire to redesign our food systems. Both scientific and press reviews show a renewed positive interest in animal traction. Although these reviews highlight its agroecological potential, the practice is facing difficulties in gaining recognition. The findings of this article are of obvious interest to rural development researchers and policy makers. They help the former to explore new issues in the return of animal traction, and the latter to better understand the development factors of this practice.