Rare Breeds. - 8th January 2013
The Foxearth and District Local History Society members were transported to the farmyard on Tuesday 8th January with a talk by Tim Lugsdon and daughter Kate about rare breeds. The Rare Breeds Survival Trust was established in 1973 to safeguard and promote the UK’s native livestock and Tim and Kate displayed a keen enthusiasm for the subject as they described – with many illustrations - various endangered animals.
The identification and preservation of native breeds of livestock was begun in the mid 18th century by the agriculturalist, Robert Bakewell (1725 – 1795). Bakewell pioneered systematic breeding by selecting the best quality bulls and rams improving the Lincolnshire Longwool and the Leicester sheep. He was the first to breed cattle primarily for beef. The Trust now monitors the adult breeding females of sheep, cattle, horses, pigs, goats and poultry, including ducks and geese, placing the breeds in categories of risk ranging through critical, endangered, vulnerable, at risk and minority. Two breeds of pig – the Lincolnshire curly coated and the Cumberland - became extinct in the 20th century. It was of some surprise to learn that the number of Suffolk breeding mares was now less than 100; in fact they are rarer than the giant panda!
This was a most interesting talk on a rather different aspect of history than usual and the speakers were warmly thanked, on behalf of 15 members present, by Chairman Alan Fitch.
In presenting the programme for 2013, which includes talks on Bury Gaol, One man’s war, Suffolk ghost stories, a walking tour of Castle Hedingham, an examination of gravestones at Pentlow church, a visit to the Nuclear bunker and a film archive evening Alan mentioned that two other local visits were being considered, the details to be announced as soon as possible.