You may not think much about it, but there are endangered breeds of livestock. More than 1,400 of them worldwide. And it’s time to start protecting them.
That’s what International Heritage Breeds Week is all about. After all, agriculture has dramatically changed over the past century in many parts of the world and is still rapidly evolving in favor of speed and efficiency.
Livestock domestication began around 12,000 years ago in southwestern Asia. For most of recorded history agriculture took place small-scale, and at the local level, but over the past century, the same efficiencies used in many other industries have been applied in farming to produce more food, in less time, at lower prices. This consolidation has led to the abandonment and extinction of at least 7% of the currently documented 8,774 breeds worldwide, with an additional 17% now at risk of extinction. The current extinction rate is higher than it has ever been, with at least 99 breeds having become extinct since the year 2000. That results in less genetically diverse livestock, which can lead to vulnerabilities in agriculture.
Our project, Piggy Bank is focusing on creating an open access agriculture with heritage pigs.
I was working for another organization and decided to become independent and start UAC. I had funding lined up and in order to keep the work going without delays, and to make the funders feel confident in continuing to fund us, I needed a fiscal sponsor. A brand new organization might have been seen as somewhat risky to funders. A colleague recommended TCI - they had a great track record and similar projects working under them.