International Heritage Breeds Day – May 20, 2023

International Heritage Breeds Day is observed annually at the end of the third week in May. This year, it takes place on May 20. It aims to save farm animals and rare animal breeds like the Iron Age pig, Shetland Duck, and Northern Dairy Shorthorn cattle from harsh treatment and extinction. The holiday also raises awareness about other farm animals — especially those with declining populations.

History of International Heritage Breeds Day

Conservationists have expressed concerns about rare breeds for decades. However, it wasn’t until the mid-1970s that the need for conserving animal species was brought to the forefront, and the American Minor Breeds Conservancy (A.M.B.C.) was established.

The purpose of the A.M.B.C. was to ensure the diversity of livestock and poultry and raise awareness to protect rare breeds. It brought together people from across the industry, including farmers, the public, and enthusiasts, to raise awareness of the dangers facing rare breeds. The organization did this by celebrating the diversity of livestock in a week-long celebration. Its campaigns reached millions, and people started noticing the animals’ dwindling numbers. Eventually, the week-long celebrations led to the creation of International Heritage Breeds Day. On the holiday, farmers and ranchers offer farm tours, workshops, and lectures to people in their communities. A few years later, the conservancy took the event overseas.

When it went overseas, International Heritage Breeds Day was supported by animal conservation groups such as Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Asocriollanos, Save Foundation, the Smithsonian, and SVF Biodiversity Preservation Project, Heritage Livestock Club, Rare Breed Conservation Society, and many more. These organizations gave farmers, breeders, and the common man advice on how they could preserve rare breeds. As a result, International Heritage Breeds Day became a movement and not just a passion, allowing agriculturists and conservationists to focus on maintaining biodiversity so rare breeds had better chances of survival.

International Heritage Breeds Day timeline

Mid-1960s
The Disappearance of Livestock Breeds

Livestock breed enthusiasts become aware of the disappearance of several traditional livestock breeds.

1977
The American Minor Breeds Conservancy

Historians and livestock enthusiasts incorporate the A.M.B.C. in Vermont.

1993
The Organization Changes its Name

The A.M.B.C. changes its name to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (A.L.B.C.).

2013
The Conservancy Shortens its Name

The A.L.B.C. trims its name to the Livestock Conservancy.

International Heritage Breeds Day FAQs

What is heritage breed?

A heritage breed is a farm animal or bird kept to stop the breed from disappearing rather than to produce the maximum number of animals or make the maximum possible profit.

What is a heritage rabbit?

Heritage rabbit breeds are either critical, threatened, watched, recovering, or being studied.

What are heritage ducks?

Heritage duck breeds were raised for food in the past, but their numbers are now dwindling with the rise of animal agriculture and the reduction of species grown for the mass market.

How to Observe International Heritage Breeds Day

  1. Donate to the Livestock Conservancy

    Celebrate International Heritage Breeds Day by donating to the Livestock Conservancy. The money will be used to preserve rare farm animal breeds worldwide.

  2. Attend an event

    International Heritage Breeds Day is celebrated with events like workshops, lectures, and seminars. Attend these events and learn more about the conservation of rare breeds and what you can do to help.

  3. Participate in social media activism

    You can observe International Heritage Breeds Day by sharing information about the holiday with your online network. Urge people to learn more about rare breeds and support farmers.

5 Interesting Facts About Farm Animals

  1. Some chicken breeds can lay colored eggs

    The Ameraucana and Araucana breeds can lay green or blue eggs.

  2. Goats and sheep are missing some teeth

    Sheep and goats don’t have teeth on their upper jaws.

  3. Chickens are polyglots

    Chickens can make over 200 distinct noises to communicate.

  4. Cows have a good memory

    Cows have a memory of about three years.

  5. Pigs are pretty fast

    Pigs can run 11 miles per hour.

Why International Heritage Breeds Day is Important

  1. It preserves rare animals

    We love International Heritage Breeds Day because it’s dedicated to preserving rare animals, especially farm breeds. It also ensures that other farm animals continue to thrive.

  2. It helps farmers

    International Heritage Breeds Day helps farmers conserve rare animal breeds. It also allows them to arrange events to show heritage livestock to people.

  3. It’s good for the environment

    International Heritage Breeds Day protects our environment and ensures a green future. The efforts to preserve biodiversity are the need of the hour, and the organizations involved in the field are committed to the cause.

International Heritage Breeds Day dates

YearDateDay
2022May 21Saturday
2023May 20Saturday
2024May 18Saturday
2025May 17Saturday
2026May 16Saturday

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