Monday, 3 April 2017

B is for British Breeds … an introduction ...



Britain has been known as the ‘stud farm of the world’ with British breeds being taken originally, then exported to many parts of the world … at one stage that global map was full of pink … the British Empire in its Ballgown of Blush Pink …


 
British Empire in pink ... 
The importance of preserving the breeds we have left has not gone unnoticed by a few farmers and breeders who are keen to protect and secure their passion for a breed for the future.


Countryside Classroom - Rare Breeds Centre
in Kent - run by Canterbury Oast Trust ... specialising
in helping people with disabilities


Almost half the native breeds are classified officially as ‘rare’ … and many other minority breeds are on the fringe of endangered species.






These endangered breeds benefit from the support of genetic conservation programmes … with particular emphasis going to ancient and distinctive breeds such as:

Exmoor Ponies
White Park cattle
Soay sheep, and
Dorking poultry


Soay Lamb, St Kilda's archipelago Scotland,
the westernmost point in the UK
(except for rocky Rockall in the Atlantic)

Their ancient lineage can be traced back more than two thousand years, and whose history is intertwined with the wider development of British culture.





White Park Cattle - a rare breed of horned
cattle - preserved in two semi-feral
populations - Northumbria and Gwynedd


No native British breeds of farm stock have become extinct since the early 1970s but, as with the fortunes of individual breeds some fluctuate, others decline.




Eriskay Pony - on Eriskay: an island
in the Outer Hebrides, the western
isles of Scotland

Occasionally a new group of animals is discovered and accepted as a true native breed (as the Eriskay Pony) … but all our breeds need to be conserved as they are a part of our history and heritage as ancient buildings, or rare plants – they deserve to be conserved for that reason alone if necessary.


The American Cream Draft -
found in  Minnesota


Rare breeds often find their way across national boundaries.  In particular, breeds from the Republic of Ireland, such as Kerry cattle, Irish Draught horses, and Galway sheep are seen in the United Kingdom.




Moose by George Stubbs (1724-1806) - he was
 renowned for his paintings of animals .. and we
can see how much they have changed since the
1700s; they are no longer found in Britain
Shire horses are now less endangered because of their increasing popularity in North America.


B for BUT is that we need to preserve all gene pools … so that we have that variety as the spice of life … affording breeders more choice …


There are various conservation societies:

The Rare Breeds of Britain Trust
... various Livestock organisations 
Rare Breeds Survival Trust  ... and others ... 



That is B for British Breeds … Bravely Battling for Bestial survival … from Aspects of British County Rare Breeds …


Counties – with the letter B …
(note some Counties have been retired!, or amended over historical local government … but some I’ve included)

England:  Bedfordshire; Berkshire; Bristol; Buckinghamshire
Northern Ireland:  Belfast
Scotland:  Banffshire; Berwickshire; Bute
Wales:  Brecknockshire


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

58 comments:

Nilanjana Bose said...

As you say the gene pool should be as deep and as wide as possible. Better still if conservation could be without any commercial interest. Efforts always go towards the cuter species/breeds, or commercially attractive ones, the plain ones without any prospects are just ignored. We do need them all.


Best,
Nila.
From Madly-in-Verse

Elephant's Child said...

Bravo.
We do indeed need them all. Conservation Benefits us all.
While in Antarctica years back we saw reindeer. And learned that they were one of the few pockets of reindeer left which hadn't been exposed to radiation after Chernobyl. A clean gene pool. I hope that they stay safe and continue to breed safely.

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

I remember visiting working shire horses back in the 70s when I was as primary school. The Soay Lamb is adorable! It's good to know our native species are being preserved and its not all about how fat the live stock can get how fast.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings - Shapeshifters and Werewolves

Anabel Marsh said...

I've been to Erskay but don't remember seeing any of the ponies. St Kilda I'd love to go to.

Sharon M Himsl said...

The draft horse from Minnesota looks stout enough to handle winters there..but bet he's gentle as a dove. My Norwegian grandma lived in Minnesota as a girl and remembered riding a horse to school.
"Female Scientists Before Our Time"
Shells–Tales–Sails

Rhodesia said...

Interesting post some of which I knew but also some of which yet again I had no idea of! The horse part of it really interested me and I never knew that the Shires were at any time endangered, Well done another great post. Diane

Vinodini Iyer said...

I don't know much about these breeds but thanks for sharing. You seem to be doing a lot of research.

Nicola said...

Interesting post, Hilary. We British are a rare and beautiful breed :) I love the photographs and the Scottish Soay Lamb is such a cutie. Thank you for sharing and teaching us more about what Britain has to offer. Have a lovely week.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I think I've read something about the Shire horses here (my daughter rides). That lamb is absolutely adorable. Conservation efforts are so important -- unsung heroes, really.

Keith's Ramblings said...

I learned something from your first paragraph! I had no idea about global spread of British breeds. Thank you!

Click HERE to read my 200-word tale

nashvillecats2 said...

Well done Hilary on yet another excellent post about British Breed.
Having been born in this country I didn't know anthing about what you have written.....We learn something new every day.

Yvonne.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nila – yes .. thankfully they are doing their best to keep a large gene pool. I think a lot of the conservationists at the RBST are in it for ‘love and passion’ of the breeds – they I am sure recognise that all breeds are essential to continuation.

@ EC – yes we do need each and every breed and species and sub-species … fascinating about the reindeer in Antarctica – I hadn’t known about the deer. I see they are considered ‘pests’ … and the other introductions (eg rabbits and geese) by the Norwegian whalers over 100 years ago … Certainly now a clean gene pool – after the Chernobyl disaster … wonderful that you’ve enlightened us.

@ Tasha – shire horses are lovely to see about … not so often now – but still in use. I couldn’t resist the Soay lamb either – yes conservation is a valued study now …

@ Anabel – the ponies are so wild … I guess they hide out … those islands must be lovely to see …

@ Sharon – the draft horses seem to have taken America by storm … ie lots around. Bet they’re gentle too. How interesting to read about your Grandma – I hope you’ve lots of other memories …

@ Diane – it’s been interesting doing the superficial research I’ve made for these posts – just glad the horse section interested you … WW1 was ‘a killer’ for so much … horses too – then few left here …

@ Vindoni – I suddenly thought Rare Breeds would be interesting and ‘easy’ to write about … not quite as I thought – but I hope the series satisfies readers …

@ Nicola – ok I will definitely agree with you re the Beautiful British Rare Breeds. Thanks re the Soay lamb – it’s good to see the different animals and areas of the UK.

@ Elizabeth – I remembered your daughter rides and I expect there are Shires in one of the States near you. Ah! the lamb is a winner. Unsung heroes … definitely …

@ Keith – the empire succeeded at something … but to realise quite how far the tentacles of agriculture spread is fascinating …

@ Yvonne – thank you …

Cheers to you all - thanks for visiting ... Hilary

bellybytes said...

Glad to read about your efforts in preserving British and other endangered indigenous breeds of animal life

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Fascinating stuff, Hilary! Of course, you could argue that we Brits have exported our genes across the world too - puts 'stud-farm of the world' into a whole different light :-)

FinnBadger said...

I've never heard of the Soay sheep - what a fantastic picture of the lamb. Now I want one!

Great post today.

Cynthia Rodrigues Manchekar said...

So many animals and species go extinct because of lack of conservation efforts. Your series is truly interesting.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

Aw, that lamb is so cute!

It's amazing they be able to sustain the breeds for so long. More people are trying to do that now, which is good. Hopefully they will have success too. But no more moose in Britain. :( I didn't know there were any ever there.

Jean Davis said...

Sorry to hear you no longer have moose. :( Those are some beautiful white cows. Conservation is very important!

Bob Scotney said...

I'm hooked and wondering what individual breeds are to follow. Will Chillingham herd feature or is it an import? I'll just have to wait.

Christine Rains said...

How interesting! Other species we hear so much more about, but these ones are just as important.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

So glad they're being preserved. I didn't know there were ever moose in Britain.

Deborah Weber said...

This is such a fascinating topic Hilary. I've been concerned with flora and seed preservation and in general terms species extinction, but breed preservation has pretty much escaped my radar. I'm grateful for the reminder.

Emily Bloomquist said...

The Soay Lamb is adorable. And wow! moose have certainly changed over time.

Good job bringing awareness to all of these animals.

Emily | My Life In Ecuador

Susan Scott said...

Great post thanks Hilary. In agreement with wider conservation and gene pool and hope that at the same time its' value is recognised and cared for ...

Out on the prairie said...

I have Berkshire hogs, they are rising in popularity again here.Love the others, the Soay almost looks like a wild sheep we have in the Rocky Mts

cleemckenzie said...

Beautiful creatures, all. Hate to think of losing them forever, especially since I've never had the experience of seeing all of them. I'm very taken with the adorable Soay Lamb and the Eriskay Pony. I did see the pony when I was in the Outer Hebrides.

Loved the alliterative, British Empire in its Ballgown of Blush Pink! Great B post, Hilary.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Each breed is like a brushstroke from the Father. Such a shame to lose even one. :-(

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi everyone … see my notes to Emily below re George Stubbs and the Moose painting …


@ Bellybytes – yes we seem to have embraced the rare breeds much more in recent years ..

@ Mike – well that put a different spin on exporting our genes around or across the world too – I believe we did just that … and as you so rightly said it puts ‘stud-farming’ into a different light!

@ Phillip – ah! I am sure you could adopt one …? It does look delightful doesn’t it …

@ Cynthia – yes we have over the centuries lost lots of native breeds … but at least conservation and awareness are to the fore now. Thank you!

@ Holly – yes cute little Soay. There’s been a lot of hard work sustaining the breeds and getting them to conservation levels, rather than on the brink of extinction …

The moose (elk in our part of the world) were around 3,500 years ago … (1,500BC) – long time ago …

@ Jean – moose/elk bones must have been found … but they died out millennia ago – see my comment to Holly above …

@ Bob – thanks so much … I’ve tried to include many rare breeds, so I cover the ground fairly well … ah ha! Re Chillingham … as you say: wait and see …

@ Christine – exactly these rare breeds are essential to be kept going so we don’t lose their genes …

@ Susan – I know I was pleased with what I found when I researched … and moose/elk only a mere 3,500 years ago!

@ Deborah – many thanks … it interested me and I thought it was something I could learn about, while writing up the posts. When we think about extinction … it covers so many areas of life … insects too, grasses etc etc

@ Emily – the lamb has taken everyone’s fancy.

Now you’ve reminded me I put one of Stubbs’ paintings up featuring a moose … I’ve found out – William Hunter the anatomist (1718-1783) commissioned this work from his friend, George Stubbs … it seems Hunter was interested in the different species of an Irish elk v an North American moose, which Stubbs helped clarify through his art …

@ Susan – at least I’m making everyone aware of the needs of conservation and the gene pool … we seem to have recognised the need to preserve these rare breeds …

@ Steve – I discuss pigs later on … Berkshires in particular. They are an excellent breed. Fascinating about your comment re the Soay and the Rocky Mountains …

@ Lee – I know they are a good mix of breeds … wonderful you’ve seen the pony on one of your trips over here to the Scottish Isles …

Thanks re the alliterative … I enjoyed writing it up …

@ Roland - yes each breed is very special ... and let's hope we don't lose any more ...

Thanks everyone – it’s good to see you all and I’m delighted with the comments … cheers Hilary

quietspirit said...

Hilary Thank you for sharing this information. I had not idea that a lot of these breeds even existed.

bazza said...

Hello Hillary. One problem with distinctive breeds (as with pedigree dogs) is the limited gene-pools. If all the individuals of a particular breed are closely related, there is a heightened risk of a single disease wiping out the lot! That's why mongrels are always more healthy - a wider gene-pool.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

M. Denise C. said...

That lamb!!! I can't stop looking at the cuteness. A wonderful and informative post, as always!! Cheers, Denise

mail4rosey said...

You did a double 'B.' Well done. :)
I love seeing the breeds. The white cattle...oh my word, but he's a beauty. The lamb is a real sweetheart too!!

Eva A. said...

Now I'm thinking of stamps about this matter... I would like to see them for "S"!

-----
Eva - Mail Adventures
B is for: Bank. Have you ever received a postcard featuring... a branch of a bank?

helen tilston said...

Hello Hilary
This is a great that these rare breeds are being protected.
Thanks for posting and have a wonderful week

Helen x

Jacqui Murray said...

I didn't know. The only thing I can relate it to is all the dog species. Fascinating stuff.

Jemima Pett said...

Love rare breeds, especially British ones.

Jemima, with the Book Bloggers' Hop

Leslie Moon said...

Thank you for sharing this. So many beautiful manimals our world over. We need to preserve them. I will mention the Zebra (which are extinct in Uganda because of disease.) Fortunately they have survived in other regions.
Cheers

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

Your photo of the 1700s moose gave me pause. I've always thought of moose as broad and solid around the middle, yet this one has the body of a horse, almost mythological in appearance, a chimera.

Nick Wilford said...

They should definitely be preserved as they're also part of the culture; they can tell you about the area where they were bred and what roles they might have had. Interesting as always!

diedre Knight said...

Had to giggle at 'Stud Farm', but how impressive the preservation programs are! The White Park cattle are interesting and the Soay sheep is/are adorable to look at - are they friendly? That sure is a striking painting of a Moose, ours don't look very much like that ;-)

Maria said...

Tis a great shame there are no moose around anymore.
We should try to preserve all the threatened breeds before it is too late.
I learned much from your post Hilary...thank you for sharing.

Jo said...

I didn't know we ever did have moose in the UK. Learn something new every day. The moose are dying out over here, they are not too sure why, but populations are decreasing constantly. One thought is a brain worm which deer carry and pass on to the moose.

Inger said...

I was looking for a picture of the Dorking Poultry. Just kidding, I love all your pictures and your, as usual, great research. P.S. I'm currently looking at old episodes of Inspector Lewis on my Kindle Fire and loving Oxford, the architecture is so lovely. I was there, of course, when I lived in London, but being young, didn't appreciate it all.

bookworm said...

Enjoyed this. Never knew there were moose in Great Britain as late as the 1700's. It is sobering. Our entire future depends on genetic diversity. Years ago, my husband and I kept various breeds of chickens, many of which are now considered threatened. It's sobering. The Unknown Journey Ahead agingonthespectrum.blogspot.com

Liz A. said...

So many species are dying out. Scary.

Lenny Lee said...

hi grandblogmom!
wow! it's amazing how british breeds are spread all over the world. it's cool that the farmers are working to manage rare breeds. another cool and interesting post.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Arleen – well I’m glad you know these breeds are around now … and that you enjoyed the post with its news …

@ Bazza – yes the RBST and organisations are well aware of the limited gene pool and are doing their best to broaden it. The rare breeds have specific features or traits that might be of use at some stage in the future … so it’s better to have both – mongrels and rare. I understand about the mongrel aspect though …

@ Denise – the lamb has captured everyone’s attention …

@ Rosey – yes a double bill with British Breeds. I had to post pictures too – makes it easier to ‘understand’ … I love the cattle – today’s C post is one of my favourites!

@ Eva – lots of ideas for stamps here … and no, I’ve never had a postcard featuring a bank … probably one of London might have the Bank of England featured …

@ Helen – wonderful to see you … and yes it is so good to know conservation of our rare breeds is an essential for some people.

@ Jacqui – yes dogs and cats are well known for their many different species aren’t they – dogs I’ve written about in depth in May 2012 …

@ Jemima – yes I’ve certainly learnt a lot since writing up these posts … I know nothing about breeds in other countries I’m afraid.

@ Leslie – good to see you and yes having lived in South Africa for a few years … there are some wonderful animals – which we need to preserve and protect them. I didn’t realise zebra had been wiped out because of disease in Uganda – the herds in southern Africa are wonderful.

@ Gail – this piece of art was ‘accurately concocted’ by George Stubbs from information they had in the 1700s – William Hunter, an anatomist, was very interested in species from other parts of the world. I gather Stubbs used a comparison between an Irish Elk and an American Moose … presumably partly via art work of the 1600 and 1700s … Elk/Moose had died out in Britain 3,500 years ago (1,500 BC) … my knowledge doesn’t extend beyond this ?!

@ Nick – they are as you say part of our culture and our history – and each animal puts its mark on our landscape … and we can find out so much about them: exactly as you say … as they can about our ancestors now …

@ Diedre – thank you for picking up Mike’s Stud Farm fun comment – I had to laugh too … if they are ‘wild’ as these animals are, they are probably not frightened of humans, but I’m sure not friendly per se …. Re the Moose – I’ve written a bit about him above … and I hope clarified things a little …they died out 3,500 years ago …

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Maria – I think if we had aurochs and moose there’d be less room for us lot! But it would be wonderful to see them roaming the countryside. Thankfully the various conservation societies are doing their best to preserve the stock…

@ Jo – the moose here died out 3,500 years ago – on the continent they lived a while longer … I didn’t know the American/Canadian moose had disease problems – at least they’re aware of the problem …

@ Inger – I nearly put Dorking Poultry into another post I’ve just completed but didn’t … in fact poultry don’t feature – they do in other ways! Lots of pictures and some interesting snippets I hope.

The episodes of Oxford are amazing aren’t they … I love being taken back to – having been at school there. In fact last year a South African friend and I went to Oxford for a couple of nights and saw the place where the police station is meant to be – photographed it: of course … I will write about it at some stage.

@ Bookworm – many thanks … I think you’ve been misled by the fact the painting was done in the 1700s … the elk/moose had died out over 3,500 years ago (1,500 BC).

The poultry breeds here are well looked after – and I think you’ll find that today species are better protected … but wonderful you had the opportunity to have your own breeds to look after.

@ Liz – yes some species dying out, yet many being protected – thankfully …

@ GrandBlogSon: Lenny! Yes ‘the export’ business started centuries ago – Christopher Columbus apparently took longhorn cattle with him when he crossed the Atlantic – that seems quite extraordinary to me. But thankfully we’d realised that we could do selective breeding as far back as the 1700s … and so at least we have those breeds today and new ones … then were able to have separate gene pools on different continents ..

Thanks everyone so much for visiting … and for reminding me about the Stubbs painting – only being an art work painted in the 1700s, while elk/moose had died out 3,500 years ago … Cheers to you all - Hilary

Michelle Wallace said...

British Empire in its Ballgown of Blush Pink … what an aurally appealing phrase and it conjures up a lovely image! I love the sound of words...my ear kicks in straight away... and especially alliterative writing!
That picture of the white American Cream Draft is interesting. Looks like a horse that's not sure it's a horse...LOL
I'm wondering how long it took you to research and compile these posts? I'm sure you've been planning them for a while.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Michelle - I do love using alliteration in my A-Z posts .. livens them up somewhat - delighted you enjoyed the phrasing of our British Empirical Ballgown ... blush pink isn't a bad colour either!

The American Cream Draft does look slightly odd doesn't it ... but was the only image I could easily find.

I decided on Rare Breeds back in June/July 2015 (didn't post or do the A-Z last year) but had the posts written by March 2016 ... so they were ready for this year - I'm delighted to get them out of my scheduled postings.

I thought the Rare Breeds would be fairly easy - but actually it was quite complicated to get a range of A,B,Cs together ... I went to a Rare Breeds Survival Trust Show down near Chichester and picked up some info ... but it was an interesting creative period and much harder than I thought it would be! The first thing is to get the letters attached to an overview subject and then go from there ... I was delighted to use my C for Cow Cooper post ...

So yes - it took some time ... but I've enjoyed the process and I learn and thankfully commenters seem to enjoy my posts (despite their length) ... cheers to you and South Africa ... Hilary

Sara C. Snider said...

Such beautiful animals. How amazing that new native breeds are still discovered. They most definitely need to be preserved.

A to Z 2017: Magical and Medicinal Herbs

Paula Kaye said...

It is very wise to protect the breeds!

Ann Bennett said...

The sun never sets on the British Empire.

So true about keeping a diverse gene pool and diversity in all ecosystems. This is a very good A to Z theme.

Lynn said...

That lamb is so dear! So wonderful the breeds are being protected.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sara - yes I guess with better technology and testing we can find out more - hence the differentiation between species etc ... and we need to preserve them ...

@ Paula - it is wise to look after our rare breeds

@ Ann - I'm not sure what's going to happen to the British Empire now - but all empires fail/fall over time.

Glad you're enjoying the A-Z theme and as you say we need our gene pool and diversity of our ecosystems ...

@ Lynn - the Soay lamb is much loved - and it is good the Rare Breeds Trust has taken some control over the process ...

Cheers to you all - thank you for commenting ... Hilary

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

Diversity is the key to a healthy earth, and conservation, (which I often misread as conversation)is our main role as human beings. Besides a healthy planet, can you imagine how boring life would be if there were never anything new to discover in our natural world? As it is, no one person would ever be able to discover everything there is to see, not in one lifetime. How wonderful!
Great conservation conversation! Just had to...
Andrea

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Andrea - good to see you here. You've said it right: diversity is definitely key to a healthy earth and the natural world ...

We need to engage in a healthy conversation about conservation and remember other aspects of our world ... not just ourselves - we need to educate more people to remember these points ...

Great to see you and thanks for the visit and pertinent comment - cheers Hilary

Toni said...

Soay lamb has a little bit of a monkey face which makes me want to keep several in my yard.