As reported in the BBC. UN findings show that many of the worlds livestock breeds are in imminent danger of extinction as the developing world moves to more productive but often environmentally unsuitable breeds. This trend away from indigenous breeds lowers biodiversity and often leads to catastrophic failures for farmers when highly productive western breeds are incapable of adapting to the stresses and less than perfect conditions of the developing world.
The loss of these blood lines would be a great loss of genetic variety, including disease resistance, drought/heat tolerance, ability to survive on low levels of feed, mothering instincts and easy birthing, all traits which do not increase yield but do increase survivability of animals in harsh conditions.
Recommendations by the researchers to improve the problem included:
-establish gene banks in Africa to store semen, eggs and embryos
-allow great mobility of breeds across national borders
-encourage farmers to maintain a variety of indigenous livestock
-use advanced genomic and geographical mapping to match breeds to suitable environments
The Problem however is not just a developing world problem, western farmers have most of their eggs in one basket with 90% of all cattle in 6 distinct breeds ignoring others who's genes may once again be needed in a lower yield post carbon farm or needed to rebuild herds after some agricultural plague to which the pampered, uniform and high intensity farming breeds might succumb.
See the 13 cattle varieties under watch by the Rare Breeds Canada, 16 Chicken and 8 Turkey breeds, as well as horses, water fowl and pigs.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Posted by Kubera Jones, AKA several other guys. at 9:07 AM