This year marks 50 years of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s work to save and safeguard the future of rare and native livestock and equine breeds. The Watchlist is the annual situation report for these breeds, reflecting robust measures of the genetic diversity within each breed as well as the numbers of breeding females registered and in 2023 the Eriskay Pony remains in the Priority category.
On publication of the 2023 Watchlist, RBST CEO Christopher Price said ”It is also notable how well the keepers of our rare equine breeds have managed to navigate the impacts of the pandemic, when they needed to work within restrictions which put breeding opportunities at risk. For some of our rare equines the number of breeders is increasing, thanks to a strong equine market and growing appreciation of these breeds’ unique characteristics and modern uses. However we will be keeping a close watch on the impacts of the economic downturn, especially the small pony breeds.”
The Eriskay Pony Society was also present when RBST Scotland held a reception within the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood to celebrate RBST’s 50th anniversary but also to mark the formation of the RBST Scotland Support Group. This was hosted by Jim Fairlie, MSP, and invited guests included MSP’s, Scottish Government officials, RBST Scotland members and the Breed Societies for Scottish breeds on the Watchlist.
Addressing the event, RBST Scotland Support group Chair, Steve McMinn, said ”We want to gain widespread recognition that native livestock and equines are a key part of Scotland’s biodiversity and its national heritage.” He went on to say ”Whilst it is easy to see livestock breeds being part of our heritage and agricultural culture, we should not forget native equines” and ”Overall, RBST Scotland will continue to press the case that native breeds are worthy of support because they are a cherished and fundamental part of our heritage”.
More details about the Watchlist can be found by going to http://www.rbst.org.uk