15 March 2016 – CABI last week published the two volume Mason’s World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding. The aim of the Encyclopedia was to describe every breed of every type of four-legged mammalian livestock in every country in the world. The task has taken eight years. This unique, comprehensive and fully cross-referenced guide covers cattle, buffalo, horses, pigs, sheep, asses, goats, camelids, yak and other domesticants.

In 1951, CAB (now CABI) published the first edition of A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties by the world-famous animal breeding consultant, Ian L. Mason. Scrupulously researched, this reference book was the forerunner of the new Mason’s World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding published 65 years later.

Livestock expert Valerie Porter describes working with Ian L. Mason on the Encyclopedia in her CABI guest author blog post: “As the century turned when he was in his late 80s, he decided to hand over the reins and asked me to edit the fifth edition on his behalf, published by CABI in 2002 … I hope that Ian would have approved of the results and I hope that we have honoured his very high reputation.”

The new definitive and prestigious reference work has grown in scope and coverage during the development process. The Encyclopedia now has separate sections for sheep, cattle, horses, pigs, goats, donkeys, camelids, water buffalo, yak and also other potential domesticants such as elephants, reindeer and other cervids, bison, antelopes, musk oxen and a look at rabbits, guinea pigs, grasscutters and fur-bearing mammals.

Written by renowned livestock authorities, Valerie Porter, Lawrence Alderson, Stephen J.G. Hall and D. Phillip Sponenberg, this two volume encyclopedia is of great value to agriculturalists, breeders, geneticists, biologists, rural historians, conservationists, ecologists, and all those who are interested in the rich diversity of livestock breeds.

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