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Friday, 19 October, 2001, 22:09 GMT 23:09 UK
Prince's gift to rare breeds project
Cumbrian farm
The foot-and-mouth crisis led to the mass slaughter of farm animals
A rare breeds project which aims to boost the farm animal "gene bank" in the wake of foot-and-mouth has received a cash donation from Prince Charles.

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust launched a 2.5m appeal in July to expand a "gene bank" after this year's farm disease crisis threatened to wipe out unique breeds of cattle, sheep, pigs and goats.

The trust also says that other crises in the farming industry, such as BSE and swine fever, have also led to many animals having to be destroyed.

Breeds under threat include
British Lop pigs
Irish Moiled cattle
Castlemilk Moorit sheep
North Ronaldsay sheep
Boreray sheep
The animals at risk include the UK's only surviving herd of Vaynol cattle, a white, semi-wild breed of only 21 breeding cows on a farm run by Leeds City Council.

The trust's chief executive, Rosemary Mansbridge, said: "We are greatly indebted to the prince for his generosity, which will help us to move the project further and will encourage others to provide vital support."

She continued: "We have to make sure that we hold sufficient genetic material to ensure that when the next farming crisis hits, we shall not lose any of the 63 unique breeds that the charity looks after."

Others under threat include British Lop pigs, Irish Moiled cattle, Castlemilk Moorit sheep, North Ronaldsay sheep and Boreray sheep - of which only 60 ewes remain.


We have to make sure that we hold sufficient genetic material to ensure that when the next farming crisis hits, we shall not lose any of the 63 unique breeds that the charity looks after

Rare Breeds Survival Trust
She revealed that 20% of the 500 remaining Whitefaced Woodland breeding ewes had been destroyed in the last six months because of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

At least 12% of the 1,800 Beef Shorthorn breeding cows were also destroyed.

Money raised from the initiative will be put into the National Regeneration Bank.

The trust says a quarter of the funds will be used immediately to increase the collection of genetic material to ensure the future of rare breeds.

The rest will be invested to provide an annual income to maintain and update the bank.

See also:

10 Oct 01 | UK
UK pork exports to resume
17 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Farm disease resurgence warning
19 Oct 01 | Sci/Tech
Inquiries launched into BSE blunder
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