29 May 1998

Ulster rare breeds group

parades its animals for all to see

THE Northern Ireland Support Group of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust had its own show within the show with each of the 20 pens of exhibits in the rare breeds pavilion competing for an award from the First Trust Bank.

The Irish Moiled cow (the provinces native breed) took the championship from the Tamworth sow and litter and a pair of South Down lambs, each winners in their section. The cheques went to the respective breed societies and the members got on with the task of educating show-goers about the breeds and the need to conserve them.

This year the group, which is a guest of the RUAS, was given a small demonstration area. Here animals were paraded and group spokesman and founder member Vaughan Byrne – a musician with a life-long passion for pigs – explained the characteristics and the history of the breeds.

The group, which has about 100 members, is one of 29 that support the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and one of its best fund raisers, returning between £2000 and £5000 each year through the sale of trust merchandise at shows and events.

Several of the county shows now stage classes for rare breeds and Tamworths and a Gloucester Old Spot competed at Balmoral in the pork classes this year. The GOS was fifth.

The group also holds its own annual show and sale at Cultra which, it is claimed, is the biggest regional RBST show and sale.

The group has about 100 members. Stalwarts include (l to r) Vaughan Byrne, merchandising officer Sandra Byrne, group secretary Collen Megaw, committee member Myrtle Clarke and chairman, Sarah Creaner.