Rare breed

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A rare breed is defined as a breed of livestock or poultry that is not common in modern agriculture, though it may have been in the past. Various national and international organizations, such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy or the Rare Breeds Survival Trust of the United Kingdom, each define the exact parameters of what defines a rare breed. Many breeds that qualify as rare by these standards may only have a few thousand or even just a few hundred breeding individuals.

These organizations pursue conservation of heritage livestock and poultry for their unique traits, which can contribute to genetic diversity among animals important to human food supplies and economies, as well as general biodiversity and improvements in animal husbandry. The parallel of rare animal breeds are heirloom plants, which are rare cultivars.


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