A reception in the House of Lords, last week, saw Rare Breeds Survival Trust highlight how important native breeds of livestock are to sustainable farming.
The Reception, hosted by Baroness Hayman of Ullock, RBST president, celebrated 50 years of the charity which promotes the UK’s native breeds of livestock and equines. Ministers, MPs and peers were in attendance, including farming minister Mark Spencer MP, shadow farming minister Daniel Zeichner MP, Defra minister Lord Benyon, former Defra secretary George Eustice MP and former EFRA committee chair Baroness McIntosh.
Farming minister, Mark Spencer told the reception: “RBST’s work conserving and promoting the UK’s native breeds is essential to protecting that genetic diversity. A strong abattoir network is a really important part of farming with native breeds and we want to continue working with RBST to help small abattoirs to flourish. The UK has some of the best products in the world, and our native livestock breeds have an important role in high quality, sustainable food production today and for the future.”
The parliamentarians joined with RBST Trustees and farmers from across the UK to hear about the work the charity is doing to promote native breeds and discuss why their continued survival is so important for the environment and rural communities.
RBST president, Baroness Hayman of Ullock, said: “This is a milestone year for RBST as we mark 50 years of important, pioneering work to conserve and promote the UK’s native livestock and equine breeds. Interest and support for our rare native breeds continue to grow in Parliament, and this reception created a valuable opportunity to bring together Ministers, Peers and MPs with native breed experts to discuss the crucial role for these breeds in future farming where sustainable food production goes hand in hand with environmental land management.”
RBST chief executive, Christopher Price, said: “In RBST’s 50th year, we are proud to recognise the hard-won successes of the past five decades, as RBST and dedicated volunteers from across the UK brought urgently endangered rare breeds back from the brink and set other native breeds on the road from declining to thriving. But our focus this year is also on ‘Native Breeds for Modern Needs’, and this parliamentary reception was full of discussion about the role of native breeds in a sustainable future of farming and environment land management. We continue to seek a policy environment that supports and encourages farming with native breeds and keeping native equine breeds, and we look forward to continuing these discussions with the Ministers, MPs and Peers that joined us at this reception.”