Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Don't forget

With my post below about hogs---I would like to remind everyone that the
American Livestock Breeds Conservancy works very hard to help "advertise" breeds that are loosing out to modernization of farming. A very limited number of "modern" breeds are displacing many many historically valuable farm animal breeds of all species. We need to help these animal survive if only to preserve genetics that might offer something that we need someday---resistance to a species specific disease, a cure for some disease of mankind, or some other valuable trait that we don't even know about currently.
The ALBC tries to help show people that many of these breeds are still viable alternatives for our small farms. Traditional farms were small---and the animals played various roles on the farm instead of being good for only one thing. In the case of Guinea hogs----they provided meat and larger amounts of lard for both preserving and baking with. Irish Dexter cattle provided meat, milk and oxen for the Irish peasantry---who didn't have hundreds of acres of land. They were still basically surfs and the land plots they owned were small---no room or feed for one of the HUGE cows that are currently raised in dairy and beef operations.
Another good site about eating some of these rare breeds is Slow Food USA.
Their main reason for encouraging the consumption of these rare breeds is to foster interest in them. They are delicious. Way way more so than the meat we purchase in the local stores. Though not "rare" per se our Icelandic sheep are similar to many of the rare breeds listed by these two sites because our sheep are a traditional heritage breed. Long raised exactly the same way as they were 300 and 500 and even 1000 years ago. The meat...well it is to die for it is so good. Nothing I have ever purchased from the grocery store compares to it. And though we have never eaten an Irish Dexter (my rosie cow would gasp at the thought) I have heard that it too---is way way better than store meat.
So consider donating to ALBC, or buy yourself a rare breed animal---even a chicken or duck ---and raise one. Even better, support a local (or maybe not quite local) farmer and EAT one of his rare breed animals. Every little bit helps us save these precious genetics from going extinct. One day---we may be thankful we did and even if it turns out we never needed them well... it will be good eating anyways :-)

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