The Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) Support Group Northern Ireland will hold its 30th annual show and sale on Saturday, September 3rd.
The venue will be Gosford Forest Park, on the outskirts of Co Armagh.
“This will be our biggest and best event yet,” confirmed RBST chairman Brian Hunter
“We are expecting 5,000 visitors on the day. The sale, in particular, will feature a selection of elite bloodlines across the various cattle, sheep, poultry and pony breed types.
“A case in point will be the first offering in Northern Ireland of two Balwen ram lambs from local breeder Colin Henry. This Welsh hill breed is exceptionally rare. We are also expecting a large turnout of Kerryhill and Jacob sheep for the respective breed classes and the subsequent sale.”
New to this year’s event are the challenge classes for both ram and ewe lambs. Sponsored by Bank of Ireland, they have been designed to encourage the showing of young sheep at Gosford.
Hunter continued: “This is the only RBST accredited show and sale to be held in Northern Ireland this year.
“The event will include classes for rare, minority and native breeds of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, horses and poultry.
“Also featured will be trade and craft displays, spinning and felting displays, crook making and donkey displays. A fleece competition featuring the wool produced by a selection of rare sheep breeds will be another key attraction on the day.”
He added: “A large number and variety of stock are already catalogued for the event.”
Hunter explained that RBST is doing invaluable work in preventing many indigenous breeds of livestock and poultry from being relegated to the history books.
“The diversity represented by these breeds is truly amazing. And this must be maintained as a source of the genetic bloodlines that will be required to drive future breeding programmes,” he added.
“There are approximately 140 RBST members in Northern Ireland,” said Hunter.
“And this figure is growing all the time.”
Right across the United Kingdom, RBST is working to secure the future of our rare and native breeds of farm livestock. It does this by monitoring the number of rare and native breeds on farms. Every year relevant data is collected from breed societies. The number of animals registered in a year is used to estimate the total number of breeding females. From this RBST produces its annual Watchlist.
The organisation also monitors threats to breeds. A range of factors can threaten the future viability of breeds. These include in-breeding and geographical concentration. RBST monitor will act to reduce these factors from coming into play.
Threatened genetics and bloodlines are saved in the RBST gene bank. The organisation collects genetics from animals, usually semen from males but also embryos. This acts as an insurance policy. If a breed were to become extinct, RBST can use this store to revive it.
In emergencies, the organisation will buy genetically important stock and place it in approved breeding centres.
“And it’s a strategy that’s working,” stressed Hunter
“An excellent example of an RBST success story is the work put in to save Irish Moiled cattle from extinction.”
Full details of the upcoming show and sale can be downloaded now from the RBST support group website: www.rbstini.co.uk.
For further information, contact Brian Hunter on 07809 499520 or firstname.lastname@example.org