The British Landrace and British Lop pig breeds are at risk of extinction, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) has warned.
RBST, which is dedicated to monitoring, preserving and promoting rare breed farm animals and horses, has released the 2018 Rare Breeds Danger List report, setting out the current state of the country’s rarest breeds at risk of extinction.
UK rare breed animal numbers are at crisis point, with animals that have been around since Viking times, in danger of being lost from the British landscape forever, the report warns.
British Landrace and British Lop pigs, with just 138 and 161 remaining breeding females respectively, Suffolk and Cleveland Bay horses and Vaynol cattle are all in the danger zone.
Tom Beeston, RBST CEO said; “These rare breed animals are going to end up as dead as a Dodo unless their numbers increase dramatically. With the publication of the Danger Watchlist, we are calling on Government bodies and consumers to support our work.
“We need more than £10m in the next decade to pay for our Gene Bank, where genetic material is stored so that we can recreate a breed, a bit like the film Jurassic Park. And although it might sound odd we want more people to eat rare breed meat to drive demand for the animals.
“These animals are beautiful to look at, uniquely British and deserve to be protected for future generations.”
The UKs appetite for bacon continues to rise with 87 million breakfasts last year (Kantar Worldpanel data) including rashers. Roast pork for Sunday lunch and ham for sandwiches, mean pork is a popular consumer choice.
However, the demand for pork over the past few decades has led to intensive production of pigs for lean meat with little waste, RBST said. Rare breed pigs like the Gloucestershire Old Spots and Tamworth do now feature on gastro-pub menus, and the Rare Breed Survival Trust believe it’s very important for consumers to ask for these rare breed animals when they go out to eat.
The British Lop and British Landrace (pictured) pigs are in extreme danger. Pigs produce large litters of up to 12 piglets, but the problem is that celebrity chefs and restaurant owners haven’t heard of these rare breeds so there is no market for them. RBST is working to change this.