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New Approach to Survival of Rare Poultry Breeds

by 5m Editor
21 February 2011, at 8:48am

UK - With the publication of its 2011 Watchlist, Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) has announced a new separate listing for poultry which recognises the need to take a different approach to assessing rarity in poultry breeds as compared to other farm livestock.

The Smallholder reports that the new listing is a result of the findings of a working group set up in 2010 by RBST, the UK's only charity dedicated to the conservation of Britain’s native livestock, to consider the whole issue of monitoring trends. The new listing of 'UK Poultry Breeds At Risk' will stand alongside the standard RBST Watchlist for cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and equines.

The RBST Poultry Working Group consists of representatives of the Poultry Club of Great Britain, the Rare Poultry Society, the Turkey Club and individual poultry specialists. Looking at poultry in the context of the Watchlist, the Group concluded that it is not possible to apply the same criteria as other species. As a result, new, more relevant, criteria have been established for poultry.

RBST Conservation Officer, Claire Barber, says: "While there are many breed societies for poultry, there is no single central registration system and it would be very difficult to establish one. This has resulted in the total numbers of these breeds always being very difficult to estimate. It had become apparent that it was pointless trying to shoehorn poultry into the standard Watchlist process. However, this does not mean that poultry is not considered as important as other Watchlist breeds. On the contrary, it is because of the importance of poultry in livestock systems that we need to have a more appropriate poultry listing."

With the listing revisions now made, the Poultry Working Group will continue to review poultry issues for RBST. It has already added a number of new breeds to the existing list and it describes UK Poultry Breeds At Risk as a work in progress.

Ms Barber added: "For the moment, the list marks a new emphasis on poultry and the working group is looking at ways of bringing in turkeys next year, with waterfowl to follow after that."

The 2011 UK Poultry Breeds At Risk listing can be found online [click here], together with the guidelines for acceptance of breeds onto the list.