Dying breeds.

We’re in the middle of massive extinction event, warns SciDevNet – not of species, but of breeds. As in livestock. And that can be bigger problem than you’d think:

The report surveyed farm animals in 169 countries, finding that nearly 70 per cent of the world’s remaining unique livestock breeds are found in developing countries. Such rare breeds are essential to supplying livestock for harsh environments, says the report.

According to Carlos Sere, the director general of ILRI, the new research shows that over-reliance on just a few breeds of livestock is causing the loss of an average of one breed every month.

The report notes that breeds such as high-yielding Holstein-Friesian cows and White Leghorn chickens have been used in preference of rare breeds.

Sere says, “Populations of Maasai Sheep, Sheko cattle in Ethiopia and the Ugandan Ankole cattle are going down every day. We need urgent action to conserve these breeds that are resistant to many diseases and pests.”

One breed a month? I’m glad I’ve got a Rhode Island Red in the back yard, but feeling guilty that she’s not making babies….