Rare Breeds Survival Trust
The Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) is the leading national charity working to conserve and protect the UK`s rare and native breeds of farm animals from extinction. RBST believes in the value of the UK`s rich and varied livestock heritage and that this needs to be conserved as a vital genetic resource for future generations and the benefit of agriculture.
Our mission, put simply it is to Monitor, Save and Promote native breeds of livestock. RBST does this through monitoring the numbers of rare and native breeds by collecting data from breed societies to inform their annual Watchlist. RBST saves genetics from animals in the form of semen and embryos in our National Gene Bank. Finally RBST promote the breeding, registration and use of UK rare and native breeds through their staff, support groups and members.
There are many reasons as to why it is important to save native breeds. Economically, native breeds provide a major contribution to our rural economy with around 30000 herds and flocks of native breeds in the UK. They contribute around £700 million in total to the UK local economies.
Culturally native breeds are part of our national identity and special heritage - they represent a unique piece of the earth`s biodiversity. The UK has inherited a rich variety of livestock breeds and their loss would impoverish agriculture and diminish the human spirit. We must work together, for the sake of future generations, to safeguard these treasures.
The UK has lost no breed of native livestock since 1973, but this does not mean that there is not work to do. Globally, over 20% of livestock breeds are at risk of extinction. In the UK, that percentage is even higher. Pig and equine native breed pedigree registrations have halved since they reached their peak a few years ago. In real danger is the Gloucestershire Old Spot showing a dramatic decline in breeding females. Numbers of native poultry breeds are critically low. Registered numbers of native cattle are stable, but it is very important that genetic diversity is maintained. Populations of native sheep are stable, but the number of breeds categorised as rare is growing. Numbers of our only two native breed goats are showing a welcome increase in numbers. Finally genetic diversity within all our breeds is in decline. Pop by to our stand to hear how we can work together to save our rare and native breeds.
Stand Number: 1397