INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND (3 SEPTEMBER 2007)With the worlds first global inventory of farm animals showing many breeds of African, Asian, and Latin American livestock at risk of extinction, scientists from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) today called for the rapid establishment of genebanks to conserve the sperm and ovaries of key animals critical for the global populations future survival.
An over-reliance on just a few breeds of a handful of farm animal species, such as high-milk-yielding Holstein-Friesian cows, egg-laying White Leghorn chickens, and fast-growing Large White pigs, is causing the loss of an average of one livestock breed every month according to a recently released report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The black-and-white Holstein-Friesian dairy cow, for example, is now found in 128 countries and in all regions of the world. An astonishing 90 percent of cattle in industrialized countries come from only six very tightly defined breeds.
The report, The State of the Worlds Animal Genetic Resources, compiled by FAO, with contributions by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and other research groups, surveyed farm animals in 169 countries. Nearly 70 percent of the entire worlds remaining unique livestock breeds are found in developing countries, according to the report, which was presented to over 300 policy makers, scientists, breeders, and livestock keepers at the First International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources, held in Interlaken, Switzerland, from 3-7 September 2007.
Valuable breeds are disappearing at an alarming rate, said Carlos Ser, Director General of ILRI. In many cases we will not even know the true value of an existing breed until it?s already gone. This is why we need to act now to conserve whats left by putting them in genebanks.
In a keynote speech at the scientific forum on the opening day of the Inter
|Contact: Jeff Haskins|