Rare British Breeds is a book inspired by the Rare Breed Survival Trust Watchlist, which is published annually, listing the species of sheep, cattle, horses, pigs, goats and poultry (chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese) that are endangered in the United Kingdom.
This information is gathered from breed societies and lists the number of breeding females alive, along with their conservation status. Each species, regardless of their origin, is unique to the UK, either through cross breeding or by evolution.
There are good reasons for wanting to keep these breeds alive; not just the genetic makeup of these creatures which means many are able to survive and thrive in very formidable conditions – a prerequisite for enduring possible future environmental disasters. Once gone, these genes will never be able to be replaced. They have taken thousands of years to develop.
The book looks at the history of every breed, with their evolutionary roots, development over time, exportation, cross breeding and changing relationship to mankind as farming techniques react to societal shifts. Their particular physical characteristics such as meat, wool, milk, eggs or ability to pull great weights are discussed as well as their conservation status and the national and international efforts being made to ensure their survival.
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