Farming minister, Jane Kennedy has congratulated the National Sheep Association and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust DEFRA on their initiative in agreeing to take over the National Scrapie Plan sheep semen archive.

The archive was originally established to encourage sheep breeders to take part in the voluntary NSP Ram Genotyping Scheme (RGS) with the understanding that it would eventually transfer to industry. It holds the largest known repository of sheep genetics, holding more than 540,000 straws of semen from over 1400 rams

NSA’s chief executive Peter Morris says by maintaining the archive it will support future research and conservation projects for the best interests of our industry.

“We are looking forward to consulting and working with many breed societies and sheep industry organisations on this project to ensure that the whole industry feels it has a stake in this valuable resource.

“We also anticipate consulting the National Standing Committee on UK Farm Animal Genetic Resources who have highlighted the importance of developing co ordinated conservation strategies and the need for genetic diversity studies for which this archive will be a key resource.”