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News Article

Reference centre set up for endangered farm animal breeds

Centre to advise on conservation, preservation of genetic diversity within these breeds

The Standing Zootechnical Committee of EU DG SANTE has approved the European Commission's proposal to establish an EU Reference Centre for Endangered Animal Breeds (EURC-EAB). From 1 January 2023, this new EU Reference Centre will see experts from Wageningen University & Research (WUR)  working alongside those from IDELE (Institut de l’Élevage, France) and BLE (Federal Office for Agriculture and Food, Germany). Sipke-Joost Hiemstra from Wageningen Livestock Research/Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands has been appointed Director.

The EURC-EAB will collaborate closely with the European Regional Focal Point for Animal Genetic Resources (ERFP). ERFP is the European network of National Coordinators, who are responsible for the coordination of the conservation and sustainable use of animal genetic resources at national level.

EURC-EAB will provide scientific and technical advice to the European Commission with the aim of establishing and harmonising methods for the conservation of endangered breeds, as well as the preservation of genetic diversity within these breeds. This includes the breeding of cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and horses. The EURC-EAB will also support governments and breed organisations in the implementation and further development of European breeding regulations (EU 2016/1012).

According to Hiemstra, not only are effective breeding programmes very important for maintaining the variety of rare farm animal breeds in Europe, they also enable genetic diversity to be maintained within the breeds and thus ensure that these breeds remain usable in the future.

National Competent Authorities (the responsible government organisations at the national level), breeding organisations and other stakeholders can contact the EURC-EAB with queries or issues regarding the implementation of the EU animal breeding legislation (EU 2016/1012) for endangered breeds. Questions from the European Commission and EU Member States in the Standing Zootechnical Committee related to genetic resources will also be addressed by the EURC-EAB.

The EURC-EAB aims to share guidelines to assess the risk status of breeds, as well as best practices for the conservation and sustainable use of endangered farm animal breeds; it will also set up specific communication tools for its target audience.

Article details

  • Date
  • 26 October 2022
  • Source
  • Wageningen University & Research
  • Subject(s)
  • Animal breeding and genetics