Shepherding livestock diversity
Perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope that Defra is thinking about the importance of genetic diversity in caring for the future of the nation’s livestock.
This week sees the first meeting of a new National Standing Committee designed to encourage the sustainable use and protection of the UK’s rich diversity of livestock breeds.
Committee members will advise on Government policy areas that affect the nation’s livestock breeds, breeding systems/production and their primary function will be to implement the National Action Plan on Farm Animal Genetic Resources. The National Action Plan on FAnGR was published in November 2006. It explains why we need to value genetic resources, how we can manage them better and how Government might help.
Professor Geoff Simm is chair of the new committee which also includes world class geneticists, industry leaders and key personnel from the UK’s principle livestock breeding companies and conservation organisations.
Jeff Rooker, Defra Minister for Sustainable Food, Farming and Animal Health says –
“The genetic diversity of our UK livestock breeds is a invaluable asset to our economy, animal health and welfare, environmental management and culture. I am confident that the new Standing Committee, which represents the main species interests, breed conservationists, livestock genetics and technical experts will make real progress in delivering the key recommendations in the National Action Plan.”