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What is The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy?

American Livestock Breeds Conservancy A North Carolina-based nonprofit membership organization founded in 1977, working to protect nearly 100 breeds of domestic livestock and waterfowl. Site includes research and educational resources, publications, posters and events.
American Livestock Breeds
Conservancy - FAQs

What does the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) do? The organization protects genetic diversity in livestock and poultry species through the conservation and promotion of endangered breeds.

What is an endangered breed? The ALBC conducts periodic censuses of breeds of traditional North American livestock (cattle, goats, horses, pigs, asses, and sheep), as well as poultry (chickens, geese, ducks and turkeys) and publishes a Conservation Priority List.

Breeds are placed in one of six categories (critical, rare, watch, study and recovering - depending on the number of registries, global population, and other criteria. The most endangered are placed in the critical category which for livestock means fewer than 200 annual North American registration and estimated fewer than 2000 global population.

For poultry, critical mean fewer than 500 breeding birds in North American and with five or fewer primary breeding flocks. (Because the vast majority of chicken eggs and birds end up on out tables
and never pass their genes on, the ALBC focuses its census efforts breeding populations instead of total chicken population numbers.)

What breeds are on the Conservation Priority List? The list includes uniquely American breeds such as Mammoth Jackstock donkeys, Mulefoot hogs and Delaware and Buckeye chickens. Also included are some surprising familiar names: Guensey cattle, Tennessee Fainting goats, and
Clydesdale horses. One hundred breeds are currently on the list.

Why conserve these breeds? Says the ALBC: "Today industrialized agriculture values only the most productive of breeds and discards the rest." For example, In the 1920’s more than sixty breeds of chickens were raised on farms across the US. Today, one hybrid chicken, the Cornish
Rock cross, supplies nearly all the supermarket chicken, while White Leghorns lay almost all the white eggs.

In the 1930’s, fifteen breeds of pigs were raised for market. Today, six of these breeds are extinct. The Hampshire, Yorkshire and Duroc pigs provide 75% of the genetics for commercial production.

This is of concern because of the ALBC points out, agriculture is constantly changing and our future needs are uncertain. A sustainable agriculture needs what these endangered breeds have to offer,
traits such as thriftiness, hardiness, self-sufficiency, intelligence, easy births, good mothering ability and long lives.

Many breeds that the ALBC promotes, says Don Bixby, DVM, ALBC’s technical progra director, "Were developed in an era when farm animals were expected to be reasonably self-sufficient with minimal input of resources."

These neglected breeds need to be preserved as treasures of our agricultural heritage and as important resources, "genetic reservoirs" for future generations to use.

How do I contact the ALBC? ALBC, PO Box 477, Pittsboro NC 27312, 919-542-5704,

The American Mulefoot Hog Association and Registry  
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