About us Our mission Our Mission Our goals and what we’re doing to achieve them. Goal: A reverse in the decline of all livestock breeds on the Watchlist What: We aim to have all the breeds on the Watchlist stable by 2028 How: We are refocusing our messaging showing the economic, social and environmental relevance of native breeds. We use the latest technology to save our rarest breeds, as with the British Lop Pig Project. What we learn from this project will be applied to the benefit of other breeds. We will continue to equip breeders and potential breeders with the knowledge they need to keep animals through our Grazing Animals Project courses and online resources. We are identifying ‘Priority Breeds’ and creating Conservation Plans for each of them. Goal: A comprehensive up-to-date Gene Bank What: The RBST Gene Bank is the charity’s single biggest investment and a key national asset. We will work towards making this a National Gene Bank, supported by government How: We are implementing a clear strategy which will support the maintenance and acquisition of animals to ensure the future of our native breeds. We need to ensure that the original genetics are preserved and can be drawn on in the future. We are actively promoting the importance of the Gene Bank to potential donors and funders and will ensure that its importance is widely understood. Goal: Livestock genetic diversity recognised by government and wider society as a fundamental element of agricultural and biodiversity policy What: We lobby for genetic diversity to be recognised in government policies such as the Agriculture Act, Rural Development Policy and Biodiversity Policy How: We are joining formal partnerships and networks to highlight the many benefits of our native breeds. Our strategic work will build on our good media profile to ensure that native breeds are recognised in policy as being crucial to bringing greater sustainability to modern farming and land management practices. Our volunteer network represents us at shows and highlights the range of rare breeds that exist and their many and varied uses to the public. Why we do what we do: Economic: increased diversity enables faster development of new traits. 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. Social and cultural: native breeds are part of our national identity and heritage – and they represent a unique piece of the earth’s biodiversity. We have inherited a rich variety of livestock breeds and their loss would impoverish agriculture and diminish the human spirit. We must work together, for the sake of future generations, to safeguard these treasures. Choice: today’s consumer choices are increasingly influenced by environmental and welfare concerns and by tastes for speciality products. We must seize the opportunity this offers. Environment: grazing with native breeds plays an important role in the development and maintenance of natural habitats and increasing biodiversity. Risk reduction: genetic resistance is increasingly important for the control of animal diseases, today and in the future. Saving our native breeds can help us to face as yet unknown challenges in the form of disease resistance and susceptibility, climate adaptation, food security and resilience. Growing global population and improvements in standards of living mean that there is a rapidly increasing demand for animal protein, with intensified animal production. This places increased risks and pressures on our natural resources, not least land and water. It is our task to protect our food and farming systems by maintaining secure alternative livestock genetic resources. Research: there is still much to understand regarding nutrition, reproduction, disease resistance and susceptibility. Breed diversity will help research into these areas for both livestock and humans.