On Sunday 24th February Countryfile was at RBST Approved Conservation Farm Park Temple Newsam to learn about the embryo transfer work being carried out on the Vaynol cattle there. This breed has significantly fewer than 150 registered breeding females in the UK today, which places it in the Critical category of the RBST Watchlist; embryo transfer is being used as it enables us to increase population numbers of the breed relatively quickly and increase genetic diversity within the breed.
Last week, our Managing Director Rob Havard met with Adam Henson and the Countryfile team at Tullis Matson's Stallion AI Services with the main objective of highlighting theconservation work RBST carries out with Stallion AI Services. This work aims to protect the future survival of some of the UK's rarest breeds of horse and pony. RBST have been collecting semen from breeds of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and horses on our watchlist since 2002. This genetic material is likely to prove essential if a breed is threatened with, or in fact suffers, extinction. We need to collect semen from 25 unrelated males in each breed; this quantity would make it possible to re-establish a breed if it were to become extinct.
The work featured on Countryfile focused on the Hackney Stallion Brookfield Legend, owned by Barbara Stockton. The Hackney Horse and Pony suffered a set-back in 2012 when it moved up a Watchlist category, meaning that they are now classed as critically endangered with under 300 registered breeding females in the United Kingdom.
This feature aired on Sunday the 3rd March 2013 on BBC1.
For more information on these projects, please have a look at the attached documents.