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EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Network
News article16 December 2022

Protecting farm livestock biodiversity

Farm livestock breeds form part of the EU’s biodiversity and Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) support can help conserve the genetic quality of EU farm animals. An award-winning example of such CAP support can be found in Greece.

Farm livestock breeds form part of the EU’s biodiversity and Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) support can help conserve the genetic quality of EU farm animals. An award-winning example of such CAP support can be found in Greece, where farmers are working together to protect the indigenous Red Kastoria-Kristallopigi breed of cow.

The CAP’s agri-environment and climate funding was used by the beneficiary (Agricultural cooperative for Cereals & Livestock Products of Kastoria) to help establish a pedigree certification that would highlight the quality of Red Kastoria-Kristallopigi cow meat and safeguard the breed against risks of genetic erosion. The success of this animal husbandry initiative led to the work winning first prize in the Resilient Futures category of this year’s Rural Inspiration Awards.

A need for such breed conservation work was identified because farmers in northern Greece had previously cross-bred Red Kastoria-Kristallopigi cattle with imported males of different breeds. This eroded genetic resources and created animals that were vulnerable to disease and injury and that needed significant volumes of feed and antimicrobials to maintain production.

Red cow breed

CAP support was used to help reverse the trend and restore the Greek breed’s long-term potential. Results have been positive and there are now some 85 breeders rearing 5 200 pedigree certified animals. The breed’s gene pool has been strengthened and funding has also helped maintain agricultural jobs in remote rural areas. Pedigree animals born within the framework of the project are better adapted to the local conditions and terrain and are more resilient to injury and disease.

Read more about this good practice approach to using agri-environment and climate funding and see the video explaining how this collective approach to biodiversity protection works in practice.

Details

Publication date
16 December 2022
Focus
CAP Implementation