The Rare Breed Survival Trust has launched it’s Manifesto for Scotland detailing 6 areas where they feel Government could help and support native livestock and equines. They identify that native livestock and equines are a part of Scotland’s biodiversity, in just the same way as wild animals and that is why the UN Biodiversity Convention and the Sustainable Development Goals require Scottish Government, in common with all Governments, to take steps to conserve them.
They say that the breeds were bred to provide particular benefits in particular locations and as a result are the ultimate ecosystem service providers. They also say that native ponies, like the Eriskay, are ideal for conservation grazing. Whilst Governments are expected to support our wildlife and built heritage they call on the Scottish Government to support its livestock heritage too.
They conclude that Rare and Native breeds have the potential to be an important part of the solution to the challenges facing agriculture. Lower inputs, less environmental impact, cultural significance, localised, high welfare production are all traits that are well established and recognised. These traits could have a positive impact on meeting our biodiversity goals, lowering our agri-environmental footprint and enhancing our agritourism offering. However, to date there has been no recognition within government that our native breeds have an important part to play and they ask that the new Scottish Government pro-actively recognise the value of our rare and native breeds and include them in policy development.
The full Manifesto can be read HERE
You can also visit their website; www.rbst.org.uk