Previous PageTable of ContentsNext Page


10.1 Africa (K.O. Adeniji - IBAR)

The Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (IBAR), which is the mouth-piece of the 50 meraber states of the OAU in livestock development, introduced the idea of the preeervation of animal genetic material in its regional meetings for the Directora of Veterinary Services and Animal Production in Sudan, 1973, and Algeria, 1976. Our major concern then was lack of breeding policies and the apparent dilution and loss of genetic material in the indigenous breeds of member states of the OAU. The Algiers meeting carne up with two recommendations. The first urged member states to supply IBAR with infor­mation on breeding policies and wherever possible the extent to which such policies have been successful in furthering the national goal in increasing animal production. The second that IBAR should establish an intergovernmental Expert Committee of African States to assist in the collection and collation of information for the preservation of indigenous livestock genetic materials.

As a first step in the implementation of these recommendations, IBAR sent out letters requesting information on breeding policies and questionnaires on the indigenous breeds of livestock in the region. The response has been very encouraging and we can now say that the breeding policies of most of the member states are known to us. Purthermore, the information on the indigenous breeds viz. population, distribution and productivity are also available in our office. What we lack, however, are the population numbers of individual breeds which will enable us to ascertain which are in a state of decline or threatened with extinction, though some countries have indicated the breeds in a state of extinction. This is the next step in our desk data collection.

During our visits to member states and on the basis of information at our disposal we know some of the highly produetive indigenous breeds and the majority of the unproductive ones. We have emphasized the need to preserve all indigenous types of cattle and other species of livestock which, though they may seem uneconomic presently, might have potential for use in future breeding programmes. An example is the East African Zebu which is found in the tsetse-infested areas of Eastern Africa. Nobody has thought of carrying out investigation to reveal the basis of its adaptation to this area. It is likely that this breed might have developed some tolerance to infection by trypanosomiasis. Our major role here is to encourage member countries to preserve their indigenous breeds which might preve valuable in future research programmes.

We have also selected a few of the highly produetive indigenous breeds in the region and because of the great demand for them we think they should be multiplied in great numbers in order to satisfy this demand. We would have considered setting up multi-plication centres like other organizations but lack of financial resources and manpower militates against us. We are, however, happy that some of the organizations (FAO, ILCA, IEMVT) do cooperate and inform us of their activities in this field. Moreover, it is a good way of avoiding duplication of efforts. We hope others will emulate this good intention and keep us posted of their activities.

In our attempt to form the intergovernmental Committee on Animal Genetic Resources, we have encountered some rather unforeseen difficulties. Geneticists and animal breeders are scarce in Arica and in order to overcome this difficulty, we have resolved to inolude animal scientists, e.g. veterinarians, agriculturists, zoologists as well and all those engaged in multiplication and breeding centres in the region. We hope this can be accomplished by the end of this year. Once this Committee is formed, the responsibility of further survey, indexing and evaluation of the indigenous breeds will aolely rest on the Cormmittee.

Meanwhile OAU/lBAR will compile the available information on the indigenous breeds in Africa. This information will be circulated, in the hope of receiving a feedback on the reliability of the data and to serve as an encouragement to those who have not yet sent a reply.

10.2 Argentina (G. Joandet)

Criollo cattle in the temperate zones have been absorbed by breeds of British origin. In the northeast and northwest, however, a population of about 3000 remains and a station has been established to study it. This population is not fixed; there is great variation in colour and sexual dimorphisra in size. Natural selection has worked in favour of reproduction (e.g. annual calving) but against production. The Criollo sheep are very variable in colour; their coarse wool is used for carpet making

10.3 Botswana (A. Makobo)

Botswana is a semi-arid country and, therefore, livestock production (cattle, sheep and goats) is carried out under semi-arid extensive conditions.

The indigenous livestock of Botswana have been evaluated. Given reasonable management they perform fairly well. Reasonable management is defined as: some degree of fencing to control breeding; conservation of standing hay for dry-season feeding and to make weaning possible; provision of clean drinking water ad libitumj mineral supplementation with bone meal and salt (1:1); and disease control. The beef cattle breeds evaluated are the Tswana, the indigenous breed in Botswana making up over two-thirds of the 3 million population, the Tuli developed and improved in Zimbabwe but alleged to have originated in Botswana in the mid-forties, and the Africander imported from South Africa. These were compared on the basis of three traits of economic importance, viz. reproductive performance, growth and calf viability.






Calving percentage

78 67 86

Weight at 18 months (kg)

295.5 276.9 288.7

Mortality to 2 years (%)

7.6 11.7 6.7

Productivity (kg of 18-month old calf per cow per year)




The above table indicates that of the three breeds evaluated the Tuli is the best in productivity mainly because of its high reproductive performance and calf viability} it should be noted that this breed is an improved Tswana type. The Africander is a poor producer. In future, conservation of the Tswana will be important.

There are over one million sheep and goats in Botswana. Based on the above-mentioned traits indigenous sheep and goats have shown better performance than exotic breeds mainly because of higher lamb and kid viability.

It should also be noted that crossing exotic sire breeds (Simmental and Brahmán) with Tswana females has resultad in increased growth of the progeny as well as higher reproductivo performance of the crossbred female thus indicating the importance of the Tswana in commercial crossbreeding programmes in Botswana. Little hybrid vigour resulted when exotic sheep and goats were crossed with indigenous breeds.

10.4 Brazil (A. Teixeira Primo)

CENARGEN (Centro Nacional de Recursos Genéticos) was started five years ago and this year is turning its attention to animáis. In the case of cattle, actions are being taken to save the Crioulo before it is too late as it is rapidly disappearing by crossing with the zebu. Local goats and sheep are being preserved and studied. It has already been shown that local goats in the Northeast compare favourably with imported breeds. There are plans for a survey of local cattle to be followed by surveys of sheep, goats, horses and donkeys. This will lead to a breed catalogue and a computer data bank. A frozen semen bank is also to be set up. In the meantime, the government is in the process of acquiring an 8000 ha ranch in Goaás, to preserve and study the Curraleiro cattle breed.

10.5 Canada (E. Swierstra)

Canada's bovine genetic resources have shown a drastic increase since the mid-1960s. In 1965, Canada established quarantine facilities for importing large domestic animals from outside the North American Continent, and about two dozen breeds of beef cattle have been imported since then. This has brought the combined number of beef and dairy breeds to nearly sixty. All imported breeds have been used mainly for crossbreeding with the Hereford, Angas and Holstein breeds, but purebred herds of each of the imported breeds have also been established. Some breeds have been used much more extensively than others. For example, in 1978, it was estimated that 16 484 cows were bred artificially with Simmental semen, 3 591 with Limousin semen, 166 with Chianina semen, 88 with Tarentaise semen, and 4 with Parthenay semen. Additional cows were bred naturally by imported bulls. Some of the imported breeds are on the decline in the countries of origin, and it may well be that Canada will play a role in preserving bovine genetic resources.

Canada also imported various breeds of sheep, for example the Finnish Landrace, Dorset Horn, Leicester and Cheviot, and is now in the process of acquiring Romanov sheep. Pig importations include Danish Landrace, Swedish Landrace, and British Yorkshire pigs.

Canada has no indigenous poultry stocks. Poultry for middle level and small farm flock production has nearly disappeared. Only nine pure strains of dual purpose chickens remain in Canada. Pure stocks at research and teaching institutions are catalogued at yearly intervals, and there is one major collection at a Canadian University. All commercial or industrial poultry originates from Canadian, American and European primary producers. Two of the primary producers are based in Canada. Poultry hobbyism is flourishing but the stock is derived from a small genetic base.

The Canadian horse, formerly called the Prench-Canadian, was developed in the Province of Quebec and had its beginning nearly 300 years ago. The breeding of the Canadian horse is practically confined-to the Province of Quebec and registrations number about 200 per year.

Canada also has a good example of how fast genetic resources can disappear. Until 20 years ago, the Husky (Eskimo dog) was used extensively as a means of transportation in Northern Canada. The development of the snowmobile resulted in the Huskies being replaced rapidly be this vehicle, and now only a small number of Eskimo dogs remain. This is not surprising if one remembers that dogs have to be fed 7 days a week and snowmobiles only need gasoline when in use.

10.6 Colombia (E. Ceballos Bueno)

Of the 24 million cattle about 86 percent are located in areas of dual production (milk and meat), while 14 percent are primarily dairy animals. of this latter group 9 percent are purebred, 56 percent are crossbred and 33 percent are dairy Criollo (including many crossbreds for beef). The conservation and selection of the six local Criollo breeds is being undertaken by the Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario. These breeds are the Romosinuano and Costeño con Cuernos in the Atlantic coast region, the Blanco Orejinegro and the Chino Santandereano in various mountain regions with a moderate climate, the Sanmartinero in the eastern lowlands and the Hartón in the valley of the river Cauca.

Of the 2.3 million sheep, 95 percent are Criollo or crosses (including both wool and hair types) and the rest are purebred imported breeds.

It is estimated that 97 percent of the 1.9 million pigs carry some Criollo genes and 3 percent are purebred imported breeds. About 70 percent of the total population are intermediates between Criollo and imported. The Criollo types are the Zungo, Sampedreño and Casco de Mula. The Criollo pig is small in size, with black skin, little hair, narrow hooves, long digits and prominent haunches. It is very resistant to poor conditions of environment and management.

Poultry production is based on imported strains. There are some 8 million light birds (prodücing white eggs) and some 13 million semi-heavy (producing brown eggs) plus some 90 million meat birds.

10.7 Egypt (Y. Madkour)

The principal dairy animal is the buffalo, of Indian origin. There is one breed with local types which vary in general characteristics and level of production. It is also used for work and meat. Improvement is by selective breeding based on the Government herd at Mehallet Mousa and using progeny testing and A.I. with frozen semen.

Cattle improvement is based on crossing the local cattle with Friesian and the aim is to replace the indigenous cattle by Priesian crosses.

10.8 Ethiopia (Beyene Kebede)

With a large population of livestock in the country, there also exists a large number of varieties of indigenous breeds. However, very little work has been done so far on the genetic potential of these breeds.

At the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) the genetic potential of three cattle types, Horro, Boran and Barka, has been studied for three to four lactations but the work is now discontinued and research attention is diverted to crossbreeding. Similar work on Arsi type cattle was carried out by the Arsi Regional Development Project and on Boran by the Ministry of Agriculture. IAR is at present doing some studies on the genetic improvement of three indigenous types of sheep, namely the Adal, Horro and Blackhead Somali.

Future plans include a detailed survey and identification of the various breeds/ types of the different species of livestock in the country together with their inventory and a more elabórate study of the preformance characters of some, if not all, of those identified.

10.9 Germany, Federal Republic (B. Lohse)

Although the threat to wildlife has been made known again and again to the pablic in the Federal Republic of Germany through the press and other public media, no great attention has been given so far to the disappearance of our basic domestic breeds. These livestock breeds provide the economic basis of livelihood of most peasant farms. The conservation of domestic animlas has, therefore, not only a cultural-ecological importance, but also a genetic-economic one. A precise study of the history of livestock breeds is only available for Bavaria. In 1860, there were still 28 different cattle breeds and strains; around the year 1900 they had declined to 10 breeds and now there are only three main breeds. of the three pig breeds which were kept in Bavaria in 188O only a few individuais of the Swabian-Hali breed are still available. Also the three horse breeds originally kept in Bavaria, that is the Feldmochinger, the Pinzgauer draught and the Noriker, have disappeared or are threatened with extinction.

A systematic registration of the domestic animal breeds whose existence is threatened or which have already become extinct in the Federal Republic of Germany is not yet available. The "Association of Friends of Núrnberg Zoological Garden", however, took up this question at private level as early as 1973. At scientific level, in 1979t the Committee on Genetic-Statistical Methods in Animal Breeding of the German Association for Animal Production made detailed comments on animal genetic resources. They stated the reasons for the conservation of endangered breeds as well as the criteria for choosing breeds worthy of conservation. As a practical measure for conservation, the establishment of a permanent commission at Federal level was recommended. To examine the worthiness of conservation, investigations should be carried out of the reproduction of breeds including the number of sires used; existing records should be collected and the possible advantages of the breed under other production conditions should be studied. Various advisory and promotional measures of conservation at the present location are recommended. If necessary, genetic resources can be maintained directly by keeping animals at research institutes through random mating, in zoological gardens and deer parks by special breeding programmes and by the establishment of semen banks and depots of deep-frozen embryos. Deep freezing of embryos is no longer a future method but is being used already with the Murnau-Werden-felser cattle breed at the University of Munich.

Some of the States, which are responsible for the implementation of animal breeding, have already taken various measures for the conservation of livestock breeds. Bavaria, for example, has entered into a semen storage contract with three A.I. stations for some cattle breeds as well as for bulls with special characteristics. For each breed a certain number of deep-frozen semen doses are stored. Moreover, the State maintains a 25-cow suckler herd of the Murnau-Werdenfelser breed as well as a 50-cow dairy herd of German Brown cattle of the old breeding type. The conservation of the remaining Pinzgauer cattle stocks should be effected through international arrangements. Baden-Wurttemberg grants management premia for the conservation of the Black Forest draught horse. For Hinterwalder cattle (3 200 cows and 90 bulls) rearing premia are granted within the framework of a programme on landscape conservation. Rearing premia are also planned for Vorderwalder cattle (30 000 cows). For Simmental breed bulls with special characteristics a semen bank is being established. Also administrative exceptions from the Animal Breeding Act are granted for the remaining invididuals of old sheep breeds (e.g. Coburger Fúchse). Uorth-Rhine Westphalia pays premia for the conservation of draught horses.

It is not possible to conserve endangered livestock breeds within the national framework, because the necessary funds for conservation are extremely high and the groups of breeds to be conserved spread beyond the national border into various European countries. Measures for the conservation of threatened breeds and the establishment of genetic resources should, therefore, be coordinated with similar efforts in neighbouring countries and with international organizations.

10.10 Hungary (I. BodÓ)

The indigenous pig and horse breeds have disappeared but there are some very old cattle, buffalo, sheep, goose and dog breeds and also some strains of horse, sheep, pig, dog and poultry, developed one or two centuries ago which are now in danger of extinction. An official conservation programme was started some years ago and the National Inspectorate of Animal Production is in charge of registering, financing and sometimes keeping the relic herds and genetically unique strains. The herds and flocks are the property of state or cooperative farms.

Horses. The following strains are in danger of extinction because of their non­commercial character: Gidran (founded since 1810 at Mezohegyes), Mezohegyes Halfbred (1850s), Nonius (1810, Mezohegyes), Bábolna variety of Arab (1790s), Hungarian Lippizaner. There are also two studs for conserving the ancient yellow-dun or mouse colour.

Cattle. The Hungarian Grey (which dates either from the 9th century or from the Middle Ages) was reduced to 300 females and 7 males about 15 years ago but it is now maintained in six herds and numbers 85O cows. The Hortobágy herd (45O cows) is regularly controlled for blood groups and other biochemical polymorphisms. It shows marked differences from the Simmental and the Friesian. Homozygosity is relatively high but a system of rotating males and crossing inbred lines has avoided any increase since 1967.

Buffalo. The Transylvanian buffaloes are kept on two farms and number 55 cows plus bulls and followers.

Sheep. The famous screw-horned Hortobágy Racka is kept on six farms and numbers about 1400 ewes. There are also increasing numbers of hobby breeders. There are two colour types - white (with light brown or grey face), and black (greying with age). Study of transferrin types shows that it is much more similar to the other indigenous breeds than to the Merino, which is the dominant breed.

There is only one flock of the Cigája (Tsigai) breed with 350 ewes. The wool is yellowish-white and the face black. There is likewise one flock (200 ewes) of the Cikta breed which derives from the extinct Zaupel of Bavaria. It was brought by German settlers in the 18th century and was later crossed with Merino, Berrichon and East Friesian but sufficient purebreds survived to form the present flock. It is a small, white, coarse-wooled sheep whose closest living relative is the Steinschaf of Austria.

Pig. The Mangalica (Mangalitsa) originates from the Serbian sumadija breed which was first imported at the beginning of the 19th century. A century ago it was the main breed of Hungary, valued because of its high fat production. It is now reduced to 200 sows in seven herds. There are three colour varieties! common (blonde or yellowish-white), swallow-bellied (black with pale belly), and light red. To avoid inbreeding some importations have been made from Romania and Yugoslavia.

Poultry. Ancient breeds of Hungarian hens threatened with extinction are the Speckled, Yellow (Gold), White, Black Naked-Neck, and Speckled Naked-Neck. There is also a Frizzled Feathered goose.

Dog. Native breeds registered in Hungary are as followsx shepherd dogs: Kbmondor, Kuvasz, Mudi, Puli and Pumi; Hungarian Greyhound; Chien courant of Transylvania; Hungarian Retriever with smooth coat (? Griffon), and with rough coat.

10.11 Indonesia (iakito Daryadi)

About 3000 Indonesian islands are inhabited. Most of these support domestic animals, with proportions of the different species on each island varying widely with habitat and cultural group (e.g. pigs most common on Hindu/Buddhist Bali, goats and sheep most common on Muslim Java, horses most common in the dry grasslands of the Lesser Sundas). Relatively inefficient local transportation has promoted the development of local genotypes on each island, developing a natural reservoir of animal breeds adapted to tropical conditions. With further investigation, many of these breeds may be found to be useful to other tropical countries.

Indonesia can make a major contribution to human welfare through conservation of its wild animal genetic resources, many of which have direct importance for mankind.

- the banteng (Bos javanicus) is the only wild bovid with 60 chromosomes, as in domestic cattle; distinct genetic populations are found on Java, Bali, and Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). The species is domesticated on Bali, and the so-called "Bali cattle" are thriving on Sulawesi and many other Indonesian islands.
- Wild pigs, including Sus scrofa (the progenitor of domestic forms), S. barbatus, S. celebensis, and S. verrucosus, are found on all larger islands, with Irian Jaya being particularly heavily populated with both wild and domestic forms. On many islands, domestic forms freely exchange genes with wild forms, providing steady supplies of fresh genetic material. It is not yet known to what degree the various species can interbreed, but the wild forms most closely related to S. scrofa could provide useful genetic material.
- Wild chickens, including Gallus gallus and G. varius, are common in natural habitats on most of the larger islands (except Irian Jaya); these forms gave rise to domestic chickens, so may provide useful genetic material in the future.
- Deer, including the rusa (Cervus timorensis) and the sambar (C. unicolor), are increasingly important for farming in many parts of Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, earning for the farmer a return of twice that from cattle on the same area of land. As the process of deer domestication progresses, new genetic material from wild populations will be vital.
- Primates are used for a wide variety of biomedical research applications. While conservation considerations prevent experimental use of endangered species, particularly if caught from the wild, common species such as the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) are extremely important for science. Efforts are being made in the consuming industrialized countries to breed these monkeys in captivity, which is a promising development; but until breeding becomes more successful, it will still be necessary to take some monkeys from the wild, and even after stable captive breeding populations are established, it will be necessary from time to time to bring in new genetic material.
- The Javan honeybee, Apis cerana, has been found to be tolerant of a mite called Varroa jacobsoni, which is as deadly to the common honeybee, Apis mellifera, as elm disease is to elms. The Javan bee may therefore be of considerable importance in saving the European and American honeybee industry.

Many other wild forms are of indirect importance to the productivity of human ecosystems. Bats, birds, and moths are important pollinators of both timber trees and domestic crops; the various wild insect populations may hold the key to biological controls for insect pests of agricultural crops; elephants, orang-utans, and many other fruit-eaters are important in seed dispersal. These few examples suggest very strongly that a balanced programme of conservation and management of animal genetic resources must include an effective means of promoting conservation of wild genetic resources in natural habitats where they can be subject to the normal processes of natural selection.

One way of doing this is through the establishment of a system of national parks and reserves which protects viable samples of all ecosystems. The Indonesian government, for example, has recently begun the establishment of such a system, which, when completed, will comprise over 5 percent of the total land area of the country; some FAO support has been provided for this effort.

10.12 Italy (G. Rognoni)


The project, 'defence of animal genetic resources", of the National Research Council, was started in 1976 and the first phase will be completed by 1981. The aim of the project is to promote and coordinate research on breed populations mainly in the marginal land areas of Italy in order to obtain a sound basis for programmes of conservation, genetic improvement and commercial crossbreeding of local breeds. Nineteen research units are participating divided among three subprojects.

Demographic and ethnographical situation

Cattle - An Italian law required that only bulls registered in a recognized herdbook could be used for breeding. This law had a damaging effect on small local breeds, many of them lacking herdbooks, and has advantaged the breeds which already have a large population. A new law on this subject was one of the first effects of this project.

Populations surveyed were grouped into the following five categories according to their numbers and the changes in number:

1 - Relic populations. 7 breeds; less than 100 individuals per breed.
2 - Semi-relic populations seriously threatened with extinction: 6 breeds; 100-4 000
individuals per breed.
3 - Small populations expected to reach an equilibrium: 6 breeds; 5 000-15 000
individuals per breed.
4 - Large but declining populations: 7 breeds; 12 000-500 000 individuals per breed.
5 - Populations in equilibrium: 4 breeds; 17 000-110 000 individuals per breed.

This survey did not include the widely distributed cosmopolitan breeds: Priesian, Brown Swiss, Simmental.

Sheep - The survey covered 53 breed populations of limited distribution and/or not registered in a herdbook. It did not cover 13 breeds with larger numbers. Of the 53 breeds, 9 appear to be extinct. For some others the chances of survival are nil because no sires were found; other populations will be difficult to save because of low numbers (eight breeds number less than 100 individuals each and another five have about 100). The majority of sheep populations with a restricted distribution are in northern Italy whereas most of the sheep in central and southern Italy are of a recognized breed with a herdbook.

Goats - The goat situation is quite the opposite. In central and southern Italy there is a heterogeneous population of indefinite breed (apart from the Girgentana, Garganica and Maltese breeds). While the tendency in the north is to breed foreign (chiefly Swiss) breeds or their derivatives.

Horses - The survey covered only unregistered populations and therefore omitted the English Thoroughbred, Trotters, Hafling, and Italian Light Draught horses. Nineteen populations were surveyed of which one is extinct, five remain only as crossbreds, and seven are reduced to a few individuals. Others are reduced to small numbers but are tending towards equilibrium.

Donkeys - Of the eleven populations surveyed, three are extinct and five are reduced to a few individuals.

Biological researches on indigenous animal populations

Genetic markers: In cattle 10 blood group loci, 5 blood polymorphisms, 6 milk poly­morphisms and 4 allotypes have been studied in 19 breeds. The results indicate: 1. Even in breeds reduced to small numbers where inbreeding appears likely there remains a great deal at genetic variability. 2. The milk of Modenese and Reggiana cattle is different from others in the frecjuency of K casein variants. It also gives a higher cheese yield. 3. Relationships between breeds have been determined. In buffaloes two allotypes have been studied and in sheep two genetic markers have been identified both located on glycoprotein molecules. Eight polymorphisms have been studied in three breeds of horses.

Studies on karyotype: 16 cattle breeds have been studied. Robertsonian translocation 1/29 was found in the Romagnola, Chianina, Marchigiana, Modicana, Podolica Pugliese (Apulian Podolian), and Cubante (variety of Marchigiana). Translocation 25/27 was detected in the Grigia Alpina (Grey Alpine). Translocation 14/24 was detected in one Podolica Pugliese individual. The 1/29 translocation is commonest in the Romagnola breed where it is associated with a reduced fertility in the daughters of affected bulls. Some Rendena and Modenese bulls had an extra-long Y chromosome. No abnormalities were detected in the chromosomes of the Pinzgau, Valdostana Pezzata Rossa (Red Pied Aosta), Piemontese, Reggiana and Ottonese breeds.

Metabolic profiles: Nine parameters were studied in nine breeds of cattle. In general the indigenous Italian breeds differ from the Priesian in their lower content of intra-erythrocytic potassium, in lower levels of ouabine-sensitive adenosine triphosphatase and in a lower reductase activity, especially in mountain breeds. Six sperm enzymes are now being studied in order to compare the local breeds with Priesian and Brown Swiss. A special investigation on the Chianina breed is studying the relationship between fertility, trace elements and hormone profiles.

Genotype-environment interaction: The Rendena and Grey Alpine appear to be better adapted to mountain pastures than the Brown Alpine, and the Priesian very much worse adapted. Three Apulian sheep breeds (Altamurana, Leccese, Gentile di Puglia) are being compared in the climatic chamber. Other investigations on sheep concern water turnover and rate of migration of red blood cells in an electric field.

As for pigs, local breeds from the south (Casertana, Calabrese, Cavallina) are being investigated to deteiroine their adaptability to the feeding conditions on marginal land.

Local cattle breeds and their use in commercial crossing

This research involves the productive characteristics of various indigenous breeds -Podolian, Modicana and Sardinian - and commercial crossing between local breeds (Piemontese, Sardinian, Modicana) and cosmopolitan breeds such as the Priesian, Brown Swiss, Charolais and Limousin.


It is now being realized in Italy that the best way to exploit marginal land is with the local breeds of livestock. This change in attitude is relatively recent. After World War II it was attempted to use "improved" i.e. specialized milk or beef breeds in the poor agricultural areas but most of these attempts were failures. Now there is a tendency to return to more extensive methods of land use in these areas based on the indigenous breeds. For instance the Maremmana and Podolica breeds were threatened with extinction 30 years ago because of the introduction of more productive beef breeds (Chianina, Marchigiana). Because of their adaptation to the more natural prod-uction systems here being favoured, they are at present in a phase of expansion.

In marginal areas where milk production is still primary the recovery of the local breeds is more difficult because of the small numbers which remain. Breeders have been more concerned with immediate production rather than with long-term results. This over­looks the important concept of overall profitability. As a result many such areas are now a zootechnical vacuum. Quality of product must also not be overlooked.

An ecological approach is necessary, that is an agricultural policy which respects the fundamental biological laws governing the exploitation of land and livestock. However, the importance of indigenous breeds in such a programme is not sufficiently appreciated. Thus government action to safeguard them is necessary.

Methods of breed conservation

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has already proposed a general policy for conservation in the form of the following two measures to be implemented by the Regional administrations.

  1. Breeds reduced to very small numbers shall be gathered into special conservation herds located on government farms.
  2. Breeds with larger numbers still playing an economic role shall be maintained by appropriate subsidies to breeders. These subsidies should make up for the lower productivity of the local breeds compared with crosses with specialized breeds.

10.13 Libya

Of the 200 000 cattle about three-quarters are of the native breed and one-quarter imported Friesians. There are also a few hundred Jerseys in the Gebel Akhdar area. Camels number about 80 000. The 4.8 million sheep are mostly of the Barbary breed and the 1 million goats are chiefly of the local type. Poultry kept intensively produce about 150 million eggs and 24 000 tons of broiler meat per annum. There are a few thousand native birds in isolated villages, particularly in the interior.

So far very little has been done to characterize and evaluate the genetic potential of native breeds of livestock. However, the coming five-year plan (1981-85) includes an extensive programme for the evaluation of these breeds as well as for their development and improvement. There will be six research stations for sheep, two for goats, three for cattle, two for camels and two for poultry.

10.14 Morocco (A. Lahlou-Kassi)

Camels number between 800 000 and 1 million. Horses (600 000) are chiefly Barbs or crosses. There are four national studs breeding Arabs, Barbs and English Thoroughbreds. Asses number 2-3 million and there is one ass breeding station.

Cattle. The population of 3 million is basically Brown Atlas and Oulmès Blonde partly crossed with Friesian. There is one selection station and two research stations for the Oulmès.

Sheep number 16 million with five distinct breeds: Timhadit, Beni-Guil, Beni-Hsen, Sardi and D'man. There are 10 state selection centres in the places of origin of the breeds. There are also four sheep research stations, a National Selection Committee and regional shows. Policy favours the formation of associations of breeders for the pure breeds.

Goats number 6 million but they have not been studied and breeds have not been identified. Poultry also remain to be studied.

10.15 Netherlands (L.P. Arendz)

First, concerning domestic animals kept for production purposes, herdbook and other breeding organizations for cattle, horses, sheep, pigs and poultry were contacted and asked : Which animals, according to the present standards, are not used for breeding purposes but, nevertheless, are worth being preserved? The next question will be: How can preservation be carried out? And then how can management be organized?

Concerning rare domestic breeds, in 1977-78 an investigation was carried out by the Dutch Rare Breed Foundation. The results are shown in the Table.

Table Survey of rare domestic breeds in the Netherlands


Very rare Rare Rather rare
Cattle Lakenvelder Blauwbonte Vaalbonte Baggerbonte Brandrode Witrik

Groninger Blaarkop Friese Roodbonte


Veluws heideschaap Kempisch heideschaap Schoonebeker

Zwartbles schaap Drents heideschaap

Fries Melkschaap Zeeuws Melkschaap


Zwartbonte geit Veluwse geit


Groningse paard

Gelderse paard

Ned. Trekpaard Friese paard


Assendelfts hoen Groninger meeuw

Brabanter Kraaikop Uilebaard Baardkuifhoen

Hollands Hiifhoen Lakenvelder Twentse grijze Brents hoen Noordhollandse Blauwe


Krombekeend Krombek-witborst Spreeuwkopeend Spreeuwkop-witborst

Pigeon Hyacinth-duif

Groninger Slenk

Recent activities undertaken by the Dutch Rare Breeds Foundation are as follows:

- Since 1979 a full-time consultant has been employed (subsidized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries).
- Advice is given to individual breeders and to organizations.
- Propaganda (TV, radio, magazines, schools) on the need for preservation of rare breeds.
- Breed societies have been established for Lakenvelder cattle and for Zwartbles sheep. The foundation's consultant registers and marks the animals.
- The Dutch Association of Goat Breeders has started a separate book for the Piebald goat. A separate organization of breeders of the Gelderland horse has been established within the Dutch Warrablood Horse Studbook.
- Semen from bulls of Lakenvelder breed and stallions of Gelderland horse and Groningen horse (1 stallion left) has been frozen for conservation purposes.
- Research (in collaboration with the Foundation for Blood Group Research in Wageningen and the Institute of Animal Physiology in Cambridge) is done on blood groups in different cattle and sheep breeds.
- Some nature reserve projects and animal parks have been started to keep breeding groups of rare breeds (Lakenvelder, Milk sheep, Zwartbles Sheep, Dutch Fowl breeds).
- In collaboration with the Dutch Fowl and Dwarf Fowl Association a yearly inventory of rare chicken breeds is made and the keeping of these breeds by hobby breeders is stimulated.

10.16 Niger

Le Niger est un pays essentiellement agricole car jusqu'à un passé récent, 1'Agriculture et l'Elevage constituaient la 1ère ressource du pays avec de 60% de P.I.B. L'Elevage avec ses: 4 200 000 bovins, 6 300 000 caprins, 2 850 000 ovins, 570 000 âsins, 345 000 camelins, 200 000 équins représente à lui seul plus de 20% de P.I.B. et 1'unique source de revenu de plus d'un million d'habitants. Depuis la sécheresse qui a sévit dans le sahel ce capital-bétail a payé un lourd tribut. Les pertes se chiffrent à plusieurs dizaines de milliards.

Afin de redonner ce secteur toute son importance un programme de Reconstitution du Cheptel a été mis en place: Programme d'amélioration zootechnique, car malgré l1apparition d'autres secteurs à développement rapide, l'élevage représente encore néanmoins 18% de P.I.B.

Le Programme d1amélioration zootechnique du cheptel, de reconstitution du cheptel s'appuie sur les centres d'élevage de type stations zootechniques et centres de multi­plication des différents espèces et races constituant le cheptel national. C'est ainsi que la station de Toukounous créée depuis 1931 est orientée vers l'élevage et la sélection de la race zébu Azaouak reputée pour sa production laitière, de viande et comme animal de travail.

Le centre de multiplication d'Ibeceten avec ses 5 000 têtes et 42 000 ha constitue un appui à cette station de capacité limitée avec seulement 4 600 ha pour 1 000 têtes. Le centre de multiplication de Dakoro se spécialise en race Bororo représentant plus de 25% de notre effectif bovin. Le centre de multiplication de Belbédji quant à lui est peuplé de sujets métis Azaouak Bororo. Le projet d'Encadrement de Dosso s'occupe de la multiplication et de la diffusion de la race Sokoto-Gudali, race à haute potentialité laitière. Le projet Kouri dans la région du Lac Tchad mène des observations zootechniques sur 1'unique race taurine du pays, le bovin Kouri.

S'agissant des petits ruminants la station caprine de Maradi développe et diffuse la chèvre rousse de Maradi reputée très bonne laitière et possédant une peau de très haute qualité de renommée mondiale. Uhe station ovine annexée au centre de multiplication d'Ibeceten se chargera des questions relatives aux moutons.

Dans le cadre des projets de modernisation de la zone pastorale éuelques etudes sur les dromadaires sont prévues.

Les programmes précédents tendent à développer la production de viande à partir des grandes espèces animales. Mais un espace pastoral et des ressources fourragères malgré tout soumis aux aléas climatiques, donnent au programme aviculture toute sa valeur face à la demande accrue en protéines animales dans le cadre de 1'autosuffisance alimentaire. Ce programme avec ses deux volets poulet de chair et oeufs de consommation, est basé sur 1'amélioration de la race locale par 1'introduction de race étrangère à haut rendement.

10.17 Nigeria

Nigeria is endowed with abundant indigenous animal genetic resources distributed over wide ecological zones.

Cattle; Estimated population is 9-1 million. Important breed populations are: Muturu (West African Shorthorn), Keteku (Borgu), Bunaji, Wadara, Gudali (Sokoto and Adamawa types), Rahaji. The first two are found in the forest and derived savannah zones while the others are mostly in the northern Guinea savannah and Sahel regions.

Sheep: Estimated number is 8 million. Important breed populations are: Yankasa, Udah (northwest), Balami (northeast). All breeds are meat type.

Goats: About 27 million. Important breed populations are: Red Sokoto and Kano Brown (in the north), West African Dwarf (in the forest and derived savannah zones). All breeds are meat type.

Pigs: 500 000 to 600 000 in number. The local breeds adapted to the West African forest zone still exist.

Poultry: Over 40 million birds in the country. Over 90 percent of these are the "indigenous" variety. There is no apparent danger of declining genetic resources in local poultry through they have been neglected in the past because of their low productivity.

Work on improvement through breeding is going on at various institutes, government livestock centres and universities. Baseline data are being collected and some analysed for future work plan. There is a national plan on breeding policy to be embarked upon in the next plan period. However, there is a need for technical assistance from other scientific communities and organizations in the efforts towards evaluation, improvement and conservation of animal genetic material in Nigeria.

Particular attention is required for more work on the Muturu cattle, the West African indigenous pigs and the local poultry types which are threatened with neglect and possible extinction.

10.18 Pakistan (A.S. Akhtar)

Buffaloes are the major dairy animal. At one time they produced 46 percent of the country's milk; since 1965 this proportion has increased to 76 percent. The two breeds are the Nili-Ravi and the Kundhi.

Cattle are divided into a number of distinct breeds but they are endangered by the loss of elite animals to slaughter and by indiscriminate crossbreeding. Research on government farms is cataloguing and evaluating the breeds of cattle (and of buffaloes).

Goats are of great importance. At one time an attempt was made to exterminate them. Now numbers are increasing at the rate of 9-10 percent per annum (compared with 3.5 percent for the human population).

The general problems are what to conserve, how to conserve, where to obtain the funds for conservation and how to justify conservation in the face of increasing demands for meat, milk and eggs.

10.19 Rwanda (C. Nzabagerageza)

Selon les statistiques de 1979» notre cheptel, composé de plus de 98 pourcent de races locales, est de 631 351 bovins dont 300 000 femelles, 824 052 chèvres, 278 622 moutons, 113 518 pores, 1 045 904 volailles, 144 904 lapxns. Toutes les espèces sont en nette progression (7 pourcent par an) sauf les bovins à cause de la raréfication des pâturages. Des efforts de sélection sont partagés entre toutes les races mais les bovins jonissent d'une place privilegiée. Nous disposons de cinq centres de sélection bovine dont deux pour la race locale. Nous sommes d'abord orientés vers la sélection laitiére par croisement de la race avec les races exotiques entre elles.

Depuis 1976, 1'accent a été mis sur la sélection laitière à l'intérieur de la race locale. L'objectif est de doter le pays d'une bonne laitière locale qui devrait produire deux ou trois fois plus que la production de milieu rural. II est éVident que ce choix Šest porté sur l'Ankolé qui représente 98 pourcent de l'effectif bovin. Elle est très rustique, moins sensible aux maladies que les races exotiques et elle est bien connue des èleveurs.

En comparant les chiffres du milieu rural à ceux obtenus en station, on peut croire à un avenir meilleur pour l'Ankole, par exemple:

Milieu rural


Poids à la naissance (kg)

15-20 26

Age au 1ère vêlage (ans)

5 3.5

Fertilité (%)

50 80

Production laitière en 300 jours (litres)

400-600 900

Intervalle entre vêlages (mois)

20-24 13-14

Pour diffuser les taureaux issus des stations, nous avons mis en place un réseau national de centres de saillie. Les éleveurs y viennent pour fair saillir leurs vaches gratuitement. Un fichier national des vaches ayant fréquenté ces centres de saillie est mis sur pied pour nous fournir les données qui faciliteront les activités d1administration, de recherche et de vulgarisation.

Etant donné le nombre très limité de ces taureaux, nous avons créé un projet d'IA qui constituera un complément indispensable aux centres de saillie. Ce projet existe depuis 1978. Sa mission sera: la centralisation des commandes des semences et du matériel, la production de l1azote liquide, la coordination des centres régionaux, le conditionnement de la semence provenant des taureaux améliorés de nos stations ou des taureaux que l'on pourrait importer, la mise en place d'un programme de formation des inséminateurs.

Conjointement à 1'amélioration génétique, nous essayons d'améliorer 1'alimentation animale en organisant les pâturages existant sous forme d* exploitation collective (élevages communautaires encadrés par le service de l'élevage).

Dans ce même domaine, nous avons créé des champs de multiplication de nouvelles souches de cultures fourragères pour les diffuser dans le milieu rural.

En matière de santé animale, pour mieux soutenir les services cliniques et améliorer leur efficacité, le gouvemement construira bientÔt un Laboratoire National Vétérinaire de diagnostics et de fabrication des vaccins. Le même laboratoire abritera le Centre national d'IA et sera capable de dépister les maladies vénériennes (brucellose, vibriose, trichomonas).

Pour évaluer 1'importance de notre action en milieu rural et encourager 1'émulation des éleveurs, nous organisons annuellement le conoours-bétail où les races exotiques ou leurs croisées sont exclues. Une ébauche de fichier national est aussi constitué pour les gagnants.

10.20 Scandinavia (Kalle Maijala, in collaboration with Carin Ehrenberg and N. Kblstad)

This report describes the situation in the five Scandinavian countries separately and the efforts in coordination made up to now.

Finland; Attention was first paid to conservation in the 1960s after the introduction of hybrid breeding and random sample egg-laying tests on poultry. The concern was extended to the native breeds of cattle, horse, goats, and sheep in a paper given in the Study Meeting of the European Association of Animal Production at Helsinki in 1969 and published in 1970 in Annaleide Génétique et Sélection Animale. The arguments for and against conservation and alternative conservation policies were discussed.

Following the recommendations of the US Environment Conference held in Stockholm in 1972, a Working Group was set up in 1973 by the Finnish Academy for mapping the threatened genetic resources in farm animals. The group made suggestions about the prevention of loss of genetic material, the elimination of factors causing special threat, and the appropriate organization of conservation activities. Special attention was paid to cheap methods of conservation, e.g. freezing semen of bulls, rams, he-goats and stallions. It was also recommended that limited populations of females be conserved of these species and of the native hen.

In 1975, the Agricultural Research Centre and the Finnish Animal Breeders' Association made an agreement with five state agricultural schools on maintaining their Finncattle herds up to the time when results of a breed comparison trial planned would be available. The total number of cows on these school farms is about 120, which was considered sufficient for maintaining the genes of the breed, provided that frozen semen from 100-200 bulls would be available for inseminating each cow each year with a different bull.

Denmark: Semen banks were established in 1971 for the three most important Danish cattle breeds, Red Danish, Friesian and Jersey. In 1978 there was a total of 23 000 doses conserved from 4& bulls. The bank serves as a control for the results of breeding work. The alternative of freezing a larger number of doses of a small number of bulls has been chosen, the bulls being selected on the basis of their extreme deviation from the population means for the relevant traits. The breeding value of each bull conserved will thus be accurately known.

In Danish Landrace pigs, two control lines of 20 boars and 20 sows were established in 1973. Only 200 sows of the Danish Black Spotted Landrace pig were left in 1978» but no special action has yet been made to save the breed. Two Danish horse breeds are seriously threatened, and only a few individuals are left of a native sheep breed.

Iceland is an interesting case, since its animal populations have been isolated for a thousand years. A variety of colours has been conserved; these have been investigated by Dr. Adalsteinsson. The genetic distances of Icelandic populations from those of the nearest countries have also been studied. Financial support is given for preservation of the local goat breed, which has gone down to 200 animals. The old population of coloured hens was estimated to comprise about 10 males and 100 females in 1977, when the Agricultural Research Institute made a salvage operation by gathering eggs and hens from various parts of the country. The Institute now has about 10 coloured cockerels and 60 hens, but the preservation causes problems, since no special money is given for this purpose.

Norway: Semen banks are established for the most important cattle breeds bred some years ago (Telemarkfe, Sidet Tronderfe and Sór-og Vestlandsfe). For the NRF breed, which is by far the most common cattle breed today, a control population has been established, which will serve as a gene bank for this breed. In three of the Scandinavian countries, namely Finland, Denmark and Norway, poultry production is mainly based on national breeding programmes in which many breeds, strains and lines are included. However, as the breeding work is becoming more and more intensive, there is a tendency for only the most productive lines to be utilized commercially - leading to the problem that many of the original lines are in danger of being discarded. In Norway steps are being taken to prevent genetic stocks from being discarded before a detailed test has been performed. A national gene bank has been established as an integral part of the poultry breeding programme,

Sweden; A Committee has investigated the genetic resources of domestic animals. There are a few native strains left in the country: one horse (Gotlandsruss), two breeds of cattle, three of sheep and one of goat, one duck strain and two geese strains. Reindeer and native bees are classified as domestic animals; there is one native strain of each.

A gene bank of poultry was established in 1969» taking care of some commercial hybrids.

The Committee recommends the following measures: a gene bank should be established and organized as a unit included in the Swedish Board of Agriculture. It should have the scientific and financial resources to support the maintenance of genetic variation of the domestic animals, not only the endangered strains but also breeds utilized today as an insurance for the future.

Cooperative efforts in Scandinavia were started in 1973, when the Nordic Contact Organ for Environment Management suggested that a joint Nordic conference be arranged for considering the establishment of Scandinavian gene banks. For preparing the conference the Nordic Council of Ministers ordered a study from Dr. Carlberg for mapping the situation and investigating possibilities of collaboration. Then the Minister Council decided to finance a gene bank symposium, which was held in Finland in March 1978. (Proceedings of this are available.)

The working group on farm animals suggested that the agricultural ministries in each country should have the direct responsibility for conserving the national breeds. Collaboration between countries should take place via the board of the Gene Bank for Cultured Plants, having the board of the Animal Breeding Subsection of the Scandinavian Association of Agricultural Scientists as an expert group. This expert group should be responsible to see that information of semen banks and of threatened animal breeds will be collected into a register, which could be utilized by researchers, officials, etc. The working group did not see reason to create a Nordic gene bank for animals.

In December 1979» the Nordic Minister's Council decided to give money for the activity of the expert group in 1980, and decided to meet again in Rome in connection with the present meeting, where experiences and experts from other countries could be available. It is hoped that the group can prepare a plan during this year for the organization and coordination of conservation activities in Scandinavia.

10.21 Spain (F. Orozco and J.L. Carapo)

Poultry. A programme for the conservation of Spanish breeds of fowl was started in 1975 by the Department of Animal Genetics of the Instituto Wacional de Investigaciones Agrarias. The birds are kept on the Institute's experiment station "El Encín" at Alcala de Henares (Madrid). The breeds included in the programme fall into three groups: 1. Three breeds which were not exploited commercially in Spain but which are well known to European fanciers - Spanish White Face, Minorca and Blue Andalusian. 2. Three breeds used commercially in Spain before the introduction of foreign hybrids - Castellana Negra, Catalana del Prat, Andaluzas or Utreranas (White, Black, Franciscan and Partridge). 3. Local types, not defined as breeds e.g. birds from the Cantabrian region, especially from the Basque Country, birds from the mountains of Le6n - Asturias similar to those known as "Indio de León".

The White Face and Minorca were not found in Spain but were imported from fanciers in England, the Netherlands and France and now there are flocks of 15-25 individuals each. The Blue Andalusian was found among a few local fanciers and other examples were imported; the farm now has 5O-6O. The Castellana Negra which was once the most popular breed in Spain was found in a few localities in C6rdoba and Badajoz and the flock now numbers 150-200. The saving of the Catalana del Prat had already been started by the local government in El Prat de Llobregat; a flock of 250-300 is now maintained by the Institute. The Andaluzas had disappeared, at least the type called "Utrerana". However the Franciscan, Black and Partridge varieties were segregating among the heterogeneous population and flocks of 40-50, 30-40 and 10-12 more or less pure individuals are maintained. From the Cantabrian region a mixed lot was obtained out of which a Basque breed (now called Eusko-Olloa) has been defined and purified; the flock numbers 250-300 of each of the two varieties - barred and non-barred. Other local types are being defined and purified.

The aim is to keep 200-400 females and 4O-8O males of each commercial breed and 50 females and 10 males of each ornamental breed. Types being studied will be represented by 30-50 females. Inbreeding is avoided by not mating close relatives and, in the productive breeds, by producing one female per dam and one male per sire. Hew material will be introduced if available, when signs of deterioration become apparent. Genetic studies will be carried out, both of colour genes and of quantitative characters.

Means must be found to finance this programme, possibly with the help of commercial breeders or of the Ministry of Agriculture.

10.22 Sri Lanka (N. Tilakaratne)

The present livestock population in Sri Lanka is estimated to be as follows; cattle 1.3 million, buffaloes 0.75 million, goats 50 million, sheep 25 000, pigs 100 000, poultry 2.5 million.

A major proportion of all species, except poultry, comprises the native breeds. However, the genetic improvement programmes currently in operation rely heavily on cross­breeding these local breeds with exotic breeds. Different forms of crossbreeding such as production of F1, grading up to the exotic breed and rotational crossbreeding are being used. This method of improvement has been resorted to following the observation that the local strains are poor producers in terms of their individual yields of milk, meat or eggs. This situation, however, has led to the gradual depletion of the local strains, and also complete neglect of the improvement. An increasing concern is, therefore, being aroused both amongst livestock breeders as well as government officials of the possible harmful consequences of such a breed displacement.

The native strains of livestock in Sri Lanka, although they appear to be poor producers, possess certain attributes which are extremely useful for livestock production under local conditions. Their ability to survive and reproduce under the harsh conditions prevailing in certain parts of the country is the most outstanding of these. Furthermore, even with the low levels of production, these animals often prove to be economic under the conditions of husbandry and management within the capacity of the rural farmer. For example, the Lanka (also known as Sinhala) breed of cattle average about 500 litres milk per lactation of about 220 days duration. This, however, is produced in most instances with practically no expenditure to the farmer. This breed is also noted for its regularity of calving and the viability of the young. The indigenous pig, although a small breed (average mature weight 35 kg) is reputed for its prolificacy (average litter size 10-12) and the very thin back fat. Thus, the local breeds form a valuable genetic resource for livestock production under local conditions, and the prevention of the erosion of this resource is amongst the priorities of the Department of Animal Production and Health of Sri Lanka.

As an initial step towards the arrest of the declining numbers, a total ban has been imposed on the slaughter of all buffaloes and breedable female cattle. The immediate actions contemplated towards conservation of genetic resources are:

  1. Exercise of a greater degree of control over the choice of breeds to be used in the field (e.g. breed of semen for A.I. in cattle).
  2. Establishment of Government farms which would maintain herds of local breeds of livestock.

The latter would serve as a means of ensuring the purity of the breeds and their improvement as well as enable the complete evaluation on an overall economic efficiency basis and comparison with other available breeds. Information from such studies would be useful in decision making with regard to future breeding programmes for the country.

10.23 Thailand (Suntraporn Ratanadilok Ha Phuket)

The indigenous breeds or populations of domesticated animals are of major economic importance and provide most of the country's livestock production. The description of their characteristics, number, management and uses was reported in the proceedings of the SABRAO Workshop on. Animal Genetic Resources in Asia and Oceania. These indigenous animals remain important in livestock production because of their ability to survive under very poor feeding and management conditions in most villages. In spite of this, knowledge about them is rather limited. There is great need for study of these breeds in detail. Even though these indigenous stocks can thrive well under existing conditions, their survival needs attention in order to prevent losses of good genetic material.

Cattle. While importations of exotic stocks and semen for crossing and upgrading of cattle production for meat and milk is practised, the natural selection can automatically keep the upgrading process down to the level where animals can be raised and produced economically under poor feeding and hot and humid conditions. Furthermore, cattle are kept by small farmers scattered throughout the country where the crossbreeding programme cannot always reach. So the loss of indigenous genetic material is not foreseen except the loss of good genes controlling growth of these cattle. Often the fast—growing bulls are castrated earlier than the slow-growing animals. This negative selection must be prevented.

Buffaloes. Buffaloes in Thailand are essentially all of the indigenous swamp type. Buffaloes are used mainly for draught purposes and are essential to the livelihood of Thai farmers. The major portion of beef consumed in the country is from old retired animals. Buffaloes also comprise the major part of livestock.

In spite of the great importance of the buffaloes to the Thai farmers and to the country as a whole, information about the animal is rather limited. The Department of Livestock Development in cooperation with agriculture and veterinary faculties of various universities initiated the National Buffalo Cooperative Research and Development Programme in 1972 but the development of this programme is rather slow. Only a limited number of research and development programmes are conducted. The assistance of the international organizations and the cooperation among countries where this type of buffalo is of importance are badly needed.

Since buffaloes are and will remain even more in the future of such social and economic importance to Thailand, their conservation is naturally practised. However, there is great Sanger of losing good genetic material for growth and size due to the practice of "negative selection". The fast-growing and early-maturing males are castrated earlier than the slow growing animals. This situation must be overcome as soon as possible. A selection programme is needed where the weaned bull calves are taken from villages and performance tested for post-weaning gain and draught power in the same environment. The superior bulls should then be used for semen collection and/or distribution back to villages for improvement of village herds.

Poultry. Chicken, geese and muscovy ducks are commonly raised in villages. They are of indigenous origin. Under village conditions where these birds have to scavenge around houses and village areas with very little supply of rice bran and/or garbage, the exotic breeds do not survive. In cases where the exotic breeds can survive, they cannot reproduce, especially the males. The exotic birds are not fast enough! The dilution of indigenous genetic resources is not expected under such conditions. However, the loss of genetic material may happen in some villages in case of abnormal and severe drought, floods or disease outbreaks. The other dangers of losing genetic material, especially of good ones, are inbreeding and in the case of chickens where there are few breeds raised in the same population, the continuous "down grading" by smaller and fast-mating breeds. The assistance of public sectors is required in rotating genetic material from village to village to prevent loss due to these causes. Selective mating should be encouraged as much as possible to allow larger and fast-growing males to reproduce. Only simple and practical techniques should be introduced.

Pigs. The situation of indigenous pigs is similar to that of chickens. In addition, some of the inferior characters such as slow growth and small mature size of indigenous pigs has special value due to preference for special dishes. Wild boar meet has also special value due to specific preference. This preference for special meat helps in the conservation of genetic material.

10.24 Turkey (0. Dûzgûnes)

All the native sheep breeds have so far been conserved well by the farmers and by the state. As far as cattle are concerned, we can no longer speak of the native breeds of cattle of Turkey; we must speak of the native cattle "population", because cows and bulls of all the farmers in the village, no matter what breed they are, go together to the common pasture. The crossbreds of the imported breeds do not exceed as yet 10 percent of the total. Furthermore the authorities are now in agreement with us in giving up the grading-up method of improvement. More importance is being attached to water buffalo than it was before. We have been trying to import improved stock from Bulgaria.

The agreement, though not official, between the National Research Council, the Association for Conserving Nature, the Universities and the Government is becoming more efficient every year in conserving the animal genetic resources of the country.

Previous PageTop of PageNext Page