Virus prompts gene bank appeal

3 July 2001

Virus prompts gene bank appeal

By FWi staff

RARE-BREED enthusiasts have launched a 2.5 million appeal to expand a national gene bank and secure the future of breeds threatened by foot-and-mouth.

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust says endangered pigs, sheep and cattle have been lost in significant numbers in the cull to control the disease.

The appeal was launched in London on Tuesday (3 July).

It aims to raise money to preserve 63 varieties of stock including pigs, sheep, cattle, horses, goats and poultry.

The trusts believes the gene bank would help safeguard against any future farming disasters such as BSE, E coli, salmonella, and swine fever.

Some scientists have warned that losing rare breeds of sheep and cattle would mean also losing valuable traits in future generations of farm animals.

They believe that ensuring gene banks are sufficiently stocked with semen and embryos is crucial to the long-term survival of small populations

Some 95% of Herdwick sheep have been slaughtered in some areas of the country because of foot-and-mouth disease.

One in 10 Gloucester Old Spot pigs have also been lost, claims the trust.

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