Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding

Today’s honoree: The Livestock Conservancy.

A pair of Suffolk Punch draft horses, recognized by the Livestock Conservancy as critically endangered. Amanda Slater/CC

Every Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world. Today, we’re recognizing The Livestock Conservancy for its work in preserving heritage farm breeds.

When we think of the phrase “endangered species,” chances are we picture an exotic animal, like a tiger, panda or elephant. We may not commonly consider something as seemingly mundane as a chicken or a cow to be endangered — but that’s an actual reality today, as the challenges of modern agriculture often require a more homogenized system and many of the unique breeds of livestock once popular throughout history are lost to time.

As stated by The Livestock Conservancy, the organization’s mission is “to protect endangered livestock and poultry breeds from extinction.” The Livestock Conservancy considers the multitude of endangered domestic breeds of livestock and poultry to be an important part of American history and heritage, as well as unique aspects to the world’s biodiversity.

The Livestock Conservancy was founded in the mid-1970s as the American Minor Breeds Conservancy. The organization maintains a Conservation Priority List, which for livestock includes cattle, donkeys, goats, horses, pigs, rabbits and sheep; other defining parameters include a true genetic breed — two animals mated together produce the breed type — and a continued presence in the United States since 1925.

The Livestock Conservancy recognizes 22 horse breeds on the Conservation Priority List, which can be found by clicking here. The organization helps these endangered breeds through research, education, outreach, marketing and promotion, and genetic rescues, as well as maintaining a directory of active breeders working around the nation.

Some of the Livestock Conservancy’s recent equine projects have included the re-discovery, documentation and conservation of the Marsh Tacky breed of the South Carolina lowlands, as well as the rescue of a ranch-based Colonial Spanish Horse strain known as the Wilbur-Cruce.

To learn more about the Livestock Conservancy and the good work done by this organization to preserve heritage breeds, please visit the organization’s website.

Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.

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