Disappearing Livestock

Agricultural biodiversity is under threat again. The world’s livestock production
has become dangerously over-reliant on just a few high-yielding breeds, causing
the loss of many hardier breeds, well suited to poor countries, according to a
new report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

This ground breaking survey of the world’s animal genetic resources, says 20 per
cent of the more than 7,600 breeds of farm animals and poultry it has identified
are at risk of extinction. Over the past six years almost one breed has been lost
every month.

Carlos Seré, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute
(ILRI), is calling for the rapid establishment of gene banks, especially in Africa,
to conserve the sperm and eggs of animals at risk.

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