The Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand was founded in 1988. Today its main aim is to foster official and amateur efforts in preserving rare breeds of livestock. This is achieved through rescue efforts for rare feral breeds, breeding programmes and the establishment of a gene bank which aims to retain valuable genetic material by cryopreservation.
Preserving Genetic Biodiversity
But, why should the public be concerned about preserving livestock breeds? Primarily on a global scale the most important reason is to maintain genetic biodiversity. On a more local scale farmers naturally want to use the most productive healthy and hardy stock to optimise their financial gain on the current market. Often this leads to a monopolisation of certain breeds to the detriment of others.
Rare breeds may retain important genetic characteristics that enable them to do well in times of drought or disease. These desirable traits can be incorporated into new improved breeds of livestock.
Don't Miss our Rare Breeds Auction in March
Hobbyists and lifestyle block owners also find rare breeds have aesthetic appeal and enjoy breeding and conserving their animals. The Canterbury branch of the Rare Breeds Society holds an annual auction in March at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, where many enthusiasts have the opportunity to sell and purchase livestock.
For further information on the society and benefits in joining, please visit www.rarebreeds.co.nz