Threat of extinction for British native pig breeds

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust has issued its updated watchlist for 2018-19, with the British Landrace, British Lop, Large Black and Middle White continuing to feature top of the list.
calendar icon 18 April 2018
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The list of 'at risk', 'vulnerable' and 'endangered' native animals continues to feature pig species that have existed on British soils for centuries and numbers are only declining, warns the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST), an organisation dedicated to securing the future of rare and native breeds of farm livestock.

With under 200 individuals existing in British herds of British Landrace, British Lop, Large Black and Middle White, these species are at the top of the 'endangered' list.

The RBST is encouraging people to promote and save rare native breeds of British livestock through choosing to source their meat products from rare breed and pedigree producers. Using the #GoNative tagline, it is hoped that more consumers will endeavour to understand more about native breeds and choose more rare-breed pig products to fund breeding programmes. People can also donate to the RBST conservation scheme to allow buying and conserving of genetically important stock.

The RBST aims to preserve such species by:

  • Monitoring rare and native farm breeds by collecting data from breed societies and using the number of animals registered each year to estimate the total number of breeding females.
  • Saving genetics in their Gene Bank by collecting tissue samples, semen and embryos from rare and native species.
  • In emergencies, RBST will buy genetically important stock and place these in approved breeding centres, to prevent extinction.
  • Promoting the breeding and registration of rare and native breeds.
  • Providing education and support for breeders.

You can view the 2018-19 watchlist and previous watchlists here and learn more about pig breeds here

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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