Press Release

Date: Thursday 22 October 2020


Boost for Scottish rare breeds with new RBST Vice President Scotland


The work of Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) in Scotland is being significantly strengthened by the appointment of experienced business executive and rare breed farmer Martin Beard to the newly-created voluntary role of RBST Vice President Scotland, and by the creation of a new RBST Scottish Forum, launched today.


RBST has been working across the UK for nearly 50 years to save and secure the futures of the rarest of the UK’s native breeds of livestock and equines. The charity runs vital conservation programmes to increase numbers and geographic dispersal of rare breeds; carries out ground-breaking scientific research; and collects material for its National Gene Bank. It also champions end markets for rare breed products and works to ensure rare breed conservation is supported through farming and environmental policy.


New RBST VP Scotland Martin Beard will ensure clear focus and strategic direction for the charity’s activity in Scotland. Martin has established, directed and grown businesses around the world through board-level leadership roles in industries ranging from telecoms to natural resources. He rears rare breeds including Large Black pigs, Oxford Sandy and Black pigs and Portland sheep in Angus.


RBST VP Scotland Martin Beard says: “This is an exciting time for the conservation of native breeds in Scotland. There is a fantastic and growing network of dedicated and knowledgeable rare breed farmers across the country, showing how supporting the natural environment can go hand in hand with commercial success.


“As town and countryside alike look to next year’s Scottish Parliament elections, we will be looking for commitments to supporting native breeds in future agricultural policy. We will also be seeking action to reverse the decline of local abattoirs, which is having such adverse effects on rural communities and rare breeds across Scotland.”


RBST Chief Executive Christopher Price says: “Martin brings a wealth of commercial experience to this new role, alongside his passion for rare breed conservation. He has played a valued role on RBST Committees for some time and I am looking forward to working together to further the rare breed conservation cause throughout Scotland.”


The new RBST Scottish Forum will supplement existing regional RBST Support Groups by co-ordinating and unifying the voice of rare breed interests across Scotland. It will also strengthen representation of Scottish interests within RBST.


Christopher Price adds: “The new Scottish Forum will help RBST take an important step forward in Scotland, strengthening and co-ordinating our activities across the country. A number of native breeds which have become very rare are irreplaceable in terms of Scottish heritage. These breeds have a crucial role to play in both environmental land management and the vitality of rural communities, and we are working hard to secure their future.”


Breeds native to Scotland which are included on the RBST Watchlist (for breeds that are particularly at risk) include Native Aberdeen Angus cattle, Shetland cattle, Boreray sheep, North Ronaldsay sheep, Soay sheep, the Eriskay pony, the Highland pony and the Clydesdale heavy horse. RBST members in Scotland have also long played a crucial role in the survival of a wide range of rare breeds of livestock and equines native to the UK.



For more information, interviews or images: Isobel Davidson, [email protected] or 07725 470917




  1. Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) is the sole charity dedicated to promoting and preserving the UKs rare and native breeds of farm livestock. Started in 1973, RBST monitors numbers of animals, and threats of inbreeding and geographical concentration. It promotes the breeding and registration of rare and native breeds. Through its 4,500 members, staff and support groups it provides a network of knowledge to support and encourage breeders to reduce these threats. See the website


  1. Native breeds provide a major contribution to our rural economy, both economic and culturally. There are around 30,000 herds and flocks of native breeds in the UK. They contribute over £700 million to UK local economies.