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 …
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:
White Park cattle
Soay sheep, and
|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
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories