Pittsboro, N.C. [May 12, 2020] – Heritage breed farm animals and the genetics they possess are not only living time capsules from our past; they represent the key to our future as we are forced to adapt to a world that is changing at a rate not seen in previous generations. According to the Summary for Policymakers of the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, released in 2019, the future of biodiversity in animal agriculture is in jeopardy. That’s still true in 2020.
To organize and target conservation efforts for more than 150 endangered livestock and poultry breeds at risk in the United States, The Livestock Conservancy compiles a Conservation Priority List. This year, the organization added eight more breeds to the list, including two horse, one sheep and five rabbit breeds. The ranked list of heritage livestock and poultry breeds is based upon the annual number of registrations in the United States and the breed's estimated global population size.
New to the Conservation Priority List this year:
- The Puerto Rican Paso Fino, listed as Threatened, is an old breed of gaited horse important throughout the Americas.
- Brabant horses, listed as Study, are an important heavy draft breed from Belgium.
- Teeswater sheep, listed as Critical, are common among longwool sheep breeds, but their low global numbers mean American breeders contribute to the breed’s international survival....