Heritage Breeds

As issues of cultural and genetic erosion in agricultural practices draw concern from national and international governing bodies, nonprofit organizations, media, and consumers, heritage breeds are attracting increasing attention. This entry discusses definitions and qualifications for heritage breed membership, breed erosion, the perceived values of heritage breeds, and efforts to conserve them.

Terms Involving Heritage Breeds

Heritage breeds are typically defined as breeds that were developed and husbanded before the rise of industrial agriculture. Many organizations devoted to conserving heritage breeds provide definitions and specific qualifications within species. For example, according to the Livestock Conservancy (formerly the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy), American heritage chickens must derive “from parent and grandparent stock of breeds recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) prior to the mid-20th century; whose ...

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