RBST 'Watchlist' compiled
PUBLISHED: 12:51 12 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:19 28 March 2014
JANUARY 2008: Two breeds of sheep are to be classified at 'Other Native Breeds' and 19 native breeds of poultry added to the annual 'Watchlist' compiled by RBST.
2007 gave us many challenges, floods, FMD, Bluetongue and Avian
Influenza all these along other factors will have a direct effect
on numbers of livestock, both now and in the future, said RBST. However, the
2008 Watchlist shows that most breeds are showing an encouraging
increase in numbers.
“We are delighted that the numbers of Llanwenog and Ryeland
sheep have increased and enabled both breeds to be moved to the ‘Other
Native Breeds’ category. This is a great credit to the longstanding
commitment of the Trust, breed societies and breeders.” says
Dr Dawn Teverson, RBST Conservation Officer.
Greater public awareness about food production and animal welfare
together with a demand for traceable, quality products is supporting
the work of RBST.
Word is spreading throughout the farming fraternity that native
breeds can be managed extensively without the need for the expensive
inputs that are required by many other breeds. Premiums paid for
quality meat and incentive schemes for keeping native breeds also
help to increase animal numbers whilst discerning retail customers
are returning time and again to butchers who provide this quality
Other changes to the annual Watchlist include:
The Irish Moiled Cattle Society, have put together a breeding
programme on the basis of Geneped results and advice from the Trust.
The breed moves from category 2 to category 3 now that we are assured
that the programme is in place, and conservation breeding semen
is now available to Irish Moiled breeders in addition to the bulls
on the ‘for sale’ list.
Other cattle breeds which are showing the results of concerted
conservation efforts are the Shetland (category 3 to 4), original
population Lincoln Red (category 2 to 3) and the Whitebred
Shorthorn (category 1 to 2). Although an increase in numbers, we must remember
that this still only brings the Whitebred Shorthorn to significantly
less than 200 breeding females – more than ever a breed in
need of serious support.
Two primitive breeds, the Soay and the Castlemilk Moorit are going
from strength to strength. The Soay (category 3 to 4), and the
Castlemilk Moorit (category 2 to 3). The Castlemilk Moorit Breed
Society has embarked on an extensive Breed Support programme, based
on the results of breed analysis by RBST, using Geneped. Rare bloodlines
are being targeted, both for semen collection and live animal conservation.
The project is a model of cooperation between the Society, the
breeders and the Trust. The Dorset Down is also classed as a success
with its move (category 4 to 5).
Horses and Ponies
Equine breeds show little movement between categories for 2008.
However, the Dales is a notable exception (category 1 to 2), a
welcome increase after the shock of it moving from category 3,
Vulnerable to 1, Critical in the 2006 Watchlist. This move is a
reflection of the hard work of the owners and the breed society,
but also illustrates the positive effect of accurate listing of
a breed on the Watchlist, which means that we can monitor population
numbers in order to concentrate effort and resources where they
can be most effective.
RBST met with the Poultry Club of Great Britain during 2007 and
significant new projects are planned for 2008. These will build
on the continuing work of the Trust and Roslin Institute to produce
poultry DNA profiles, and the addition (after extensive research)
of 19 native breeds of poultry to the Watchlist. This means that ‘other
native breeds’ of poultry are included as well as those traditionally
found on the Watchlist; as with other species. However, we do not
have population data for these additional breeds for the 2008 Watchlist,
so they will remain uncategorised.
The Trust and British Pig Association (BPA) expect to make significant
progress during 2008 with Geneped breed analyses planned for all
our Watchlist breeds. However, these can only be attempted when
BPA has received pig survey returns from the breeders and incorporated
this information into the registration database. Both organisations
will pool expertise and resources to take our breeds forward, post
For more information contact RBST on 024 7669 8764 or visit www.rbst.org.uk