Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Addressing the threat to UK rare sheep breeds posed by NSP : An impact assessment designed to inform defra strategy - SE0235

The main objective of this research is to assess the potential impact of current national TSE policy, in the form of the National Scrapie Plan, upon UK rare breed Farm Animal Genetic Resources (FAnGR) in terms of genetic diversity loss. This impact assessment will enable both DEFRA and stakeholders to progress decisions concerning rare breeds as part of the UK`s obligation (1) to design breeding programmes for all sectors of the UK national flock by 1 April 2004. In the absence of this provision, effective progress in design of breeding programmes that do not expose rare breeds to unnecessary threat of extinction cannot be made, due to lack of information available.

DEFRA is committed to ensure this provision, not least under the terms of its current First Objective,to conserve and enhance biodiversity, and to lead integration (of this) with other policies across Government and internationally. In the 2002 DEFRA UK Country Report on FAnGR, a recommendation was also made regarding national co-operation such that programmes for the conservation of FAnGR will be applied most effectively by the joint efforts of Government, private organisations and individuals. Government should be urged to provide pump priming funds to the livestock breeding sector, noting that the issues are environmental and cultural and not solely agricultural.

The results and recommendations from this project will be made available both to DEFRA and to Rare Breed Societies, so that both are informed of the likely consequences on the effective management and future survival of rare breed FAnGR from a range of different approaches to NSP breeding strategy. This will provide the basis for discussion between DEFRA and rare breed stakeholders in 2003/4, necessary to formulate UK legislation and define criteria for a national breeding strategy for TSE resistance.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Addressing the threat to UK rare sheep breeds posed by NSP : An impact assessment designed to inform defra strategy   (557k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2004

Cost: £31,750
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Rare Breeds Survival Trust, University - Wales, Aberystwth
Animal Health              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Animal Health