Portuguese Autochthonous Breeds - Set
Portuguese Autochthonous Breeds - Set for only GBP £3.60
About 10 thousand years ago, humans began to domesticate animals for use in labour and as a source of food, clothing (furs, wool) and fat (biofuel) for daily survival. Since then, necessity led to empirical genetic selection based on animals’ physical capabilities in agricultural settings, their produce and their ability to adapt to local environments. In the context of Portuguese agriculture, di erent breeds of the various livestock species were gradually adapted according to the geographical terrain and the needs and preferences of local populations. This resulted in an extremely rich and diverse mosaic of breeds deeply linked to the identity of each region, its landscape, local geographic and climatic characteristics, and also led to the development of regional traditions and products. The General Directorate of Food and Animal Husbandry in Portugal recognises 47 native breeds of livestock, including 15 breeds of cattle, 15 breeds of sheep, 6 breeds of goat, 4 breeds of horse, 4 breeds of poultry and 3 breeds of swine. Each of these have their own morphological characteristics and geographic distributions, some of which are only found in a limited geographical area. With agricultural modernisation, some of these breeds have been replaced by others from di erent parts of the world with the purpose to increase pro tability. For this reason, several native breeds are currently at risk of extinction, with a few dozen remaining specimens and a very small number of breeders. It is imperative to safeguard this heritage of local identity. Six native breeds are presented here, representing di erent species and regions of Portugal.