For livestock breeds, their use in sustainable agriculture is the best form of conservation. For endangered livestock breeds, additional measures for their conservation are necessary.
In the conservation of the diversity of livestock breeds, a distinction is made between two areas of Action:
1. conservation in agriculture, including landscape management (on-farm conservation or in situ conservation)
2. conservation outside agricultural use, for example in gene banks or zoos (ex situ conservation)
For the conservation of highly endangered livestock breeds, ideally both areas of action should be linked. For example, cryo-preserved semen or breeding animals kept in zoos (ex-situ conservation) can also be used in a conservation breeding programme (in-situ conservation).
The best way to conserve the diversity of native livestock breeds is their use in sustainable agriculture.
Grassland with high biodiversity is often the result of grazing with native livestock breeds. The best way to protect this biodiversity is to continue traditional grazing.
The ex situ-conservation of endangered native livestock breeds focus’ on the cryo-preservation of semen. For this, the „Deutsche Genbank landwirtschaftlicher Nutztiere“ has been founded.
In addition to the conservation of wild species many zoos engage for the conservation of endangered livestock breeds, too.
The conservation and the utilization of native poultry breeds require additional efforts. This was discussed during a workshop on 2nd December 2017 in Leipzig.