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November 17, 2015

Green Week 2016: Regional cattle breeds under threat

GEH displays Original Braunvieh, Glan and Black Pied cattle in the Livestock Hall (Hall 25)

Berlin, 17 November 2015 – In 2016 the Society for the Preservation of Old-established and Endangered Breeds of Domesticated Animals (GEH) is focusing on three old-established breeds of cattle. At the International Green Week Berlin 2016 (15 – 24 Jan.), inside the Livestock Hall (Hall 25) the society will be displaying Original Braunvieh (from alpine regions), Glan cattle (from highland regions) and German Black Pied cattle (from coastal areas and low-lying plains). The aim of the GEH is to specifically demonstrate how diversity in the farming sector is under threat.

For many centuries Original Braunvieh cattle have been grazed on steep and rocky alpine slopes. They combine all the characteristics that cattle require in order to thrive in mountainous regions. The current population numbers 581 cows and 37 bulls. Glan cattle derive their name from the small river Glan in Rhineland-Palatinate and, until the 1960s, there were some 400,000 of them, making them the most commonly found breed in the highland regions of the Eifel. Today the population has declined to just 826 cows, mainly sucklers, and 106 bulls. German Black Pied cattle originated in the marshlands bordering the North Sea in Friesland and are the progenitors of the Holstein-Friesians that are now found all over the world. These dual-purpose cattle are very productive, with good milk yields, but today they only number 2,722 cows, mostly for milk production, and eight bulls. At the Green Week, in the Livestock Hall (Hall 25) the GEH will be displaying two animals from each breed, and demonstrating their various uses, including as working animals, for milk production and as suckler cows with calves.

The GEH is committed to preserving the diversity of the various breeds. There are currently 14 breeds of cattle on the endangered list in Germany, and all of them embody the types of cattle that have ensured the survival of mankind over millennia: reliable and untiring, as working animals or for pulling a plough or cart, as a source of milk from feed produced on the farm, with the best possible meat quality as a result of slow growth, and as producers of dung that can be used on the same farm. It is vital to acknowledge the special qualities of these old breeds of cattle and to incorporate them in today`s production cycles. The strengths of these cattle lie in their placid nature and their ability to adapt to special conditions. With these special characteristics these breeds are ideal for farms whose operating cycles have a regional basis and that specialise in high quality products, with a traditional link to natural habitats, such as extensive grazing on green pastures.

For additional information:

Gesellschaft zur Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen

e. V. (GEH), Antje Feldmann, tel.: +49 5542 / 1864,