UK’s Rarest Cattle Breed Moves To Pastures New

One of the world’s rarest cattle breeds is moving to a second home for the first time in its 100 year history as part of a plan to conserve the animals for the future.

There are less than 40 Vaynol cattle in existence and currently all of them are found at one location at Home Farm, Temple Newsom in Leeds where they have been since 1989. Now plans are a foot to move three cows to new pastures, 70 miles away in Lincolnshire, creating two separate herds for the first time.

This new satellite herd will be important in conserving the future for Vaynol cattle by widening the future breeding stock. It will also reduce the risk that diseases, such as Foot and Mouth could cause in the future, if all the animals were kept only in one location.

The move will take place on Monday 3rd August 2009, carefully planned by Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) and Temple Newsam, which is run by Leeds City Council. The Vaynol’s new home is on 15 acres of grazing land owned by Lincoln farmer, Mr Nevile which is part of Natural England’s Environmental Stewardship Scheme to conserve wildlife and the biodiversity of wild flowers.

RBST Trustee, Neville Turner from East Torrington in Lincolnshire has been at the heart of the move and will look after the cows in their new location. Said Neville Turner, “This is an historical day for one of our most primitive rare breeds. After a lot of hard work over the years we are now at the stage where two herds of Vaynols can be established, helping to secure the future of this breed.”

The history of the Vaynol stretches back over 100 years with a semi-wild herd originally established in 1872 in Vaynol Park, North Wales. In 1980 the herd moved around a number of locations in England before finding a permanent home at Temple Newsam, Europe’s largest rare breed farm park.

RBST Chairman Tim Brigstocke paid tribute to the Home Farm team including David Bradley, Shelley Rogerson and Angela Naylor saying “When the Vaynols arrived 20 years ago they needed careful handling to ensure their survival and that was expertly provided by Temple Newsam. Now the establishment of this new herd is certainly putting conservation into action.”

A five year conservation programme for the Vaynol was started in 2006 by RBST and Temple Newsam to establish a genetic profile of the breed and to reduce the levels of inbreeding. 2007 saw the birth of the first calf born by artificial insemination using semen collected from a bull 30 years ago and this breeding programme is continuing.

Vaynol cattle can be seen during the summer at Temple Newsam, Leeds which is open to the public and opening times are available on 0113 264 5535 or www.leeds.gov.uk/templenewsam Information on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust can be found at: http://www.rbst.org.uk

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