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Environment Last Updated: 3, Jun 2017 - 12:55

Inaugural Rare Breeds Conference 2017
By Maeve Foran
30, May 2017 - 09:52

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The Old Irish Goat Society wish to announce the upcoming

Inaugural Rare Breeds Conference 2017 on Thursday evening 15th and Friday 16th June at Hotel Westport, Co. Mayo hosted by the Old Irish Goat Society in association with the Irish Rare Breeds Society Ireland's rare breeds are a fundamental part of our farming and food production sector, they are living heritage and an important facet of our biodiversity.

Rare Breeds have an important role in sustaining rural communities, through food production, artisan foods, tourism and conservation grazing. Gene variation offers enhanced resistance and adaptation traits in a time of farming intensification and climate and social change. A number of Irish Breeds have slipped into extinction in recent decades, essentially unnoticed and undocumented, such as the Cladoir Sheep and the Tory Cow. It is the aim of this event to promote the conservation and utilisation of our remaining rare breeds and to address challenges such as lack of protection, resources and recognition.

Thursday evening will consist of talks on select Irish rare breeds and the role and importance of creative collaboration, which will be followed by the launch of the Old Irish Goat Art Exhibit. Friday will consist of talks on international best practice, advances and opportunities presented by genetics and global collaboration. Lunch time includes visits to Lisnolan Rare Breeds Mobile Farm and the pioneering Old Irish Goat Captive Breeding Program, which will be followed by facilitated afternoon workshops, where delegates can contribute to a 2017/2018 action plan for Irish Rare Breeds.

The conference will be of interest to farmers, livestock breeders, smallholders, organic farmers, heritage and history enthusiasts as well as landscape managers, environmentalists, artisan food purveyors and rural development agencies.

"Animal genetic resources are among the most valuable and strategically important assets a country possesses, they are the animal breeder's raw material and among the farmer's most essential inputs" (Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, 2009) "The Irish goat, we maintain, is the best we have for the purpose, and it should be kept pure in type." Walter Paget September, 1918 We invite all with an interest to attend this event. This initiative is funded by the Heritage Council and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. For more information and booking, please visit Attendance for Thursday evening is free and a charge of €29.83 applies to Friday.

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