The Regional Cattle action assessed 16 local cattle breeds across nine Member States, studied national cryopreservation programmes and explored the use of decision making tools for the identification and selection of strategies and policies for the development and conservation of local cattle breeds. More information regarding the results can be found in the executive summary.
- To assist conservation, development and sustainable use of local/regional cattle breeds in Europe;
- To better understand the factors affecting demographic dynamics of local/regional cattle breeds;
- To assess the status and organisation of cryopreservation programmes related to these cattle breeds;
- To review the available methodologies and software which are useful tools for genetic management ;
- To identify successful options and provide guidelines for breed development and breed conservation;
- To exchange and disseminate state of the art knowledge and ‘good practises’ on conservation and use of local/regional European cattle breeds.
Actions and means involved
EUropean REgional CAttle (EURECA) takes an integrated, qualitative or semi-quantitative approach, realising that many factors (e.g. genetic, socio-economic, etc) affect breed demographics. In the first work package (WP 1), 15 cattle breed cases will be analysed ‘in depth’ in order to identify factors that influence breed dynamics and that determine success or sub-optimal success of conservation and breed development programmes. The WP 2 will specifically assess the status and organisation of cattle cryopreservation programmes in Europe. A minimum set of parameters will be extracted from WPs 1 and 2 in order to carry out a wider survey within Europe (WP 3). Parallel to WPs 1-3 available methodologies and software which are useful supportive tools for genetic management will be reviewed.
The final outcome of the action is an expert system (guidelines) for successful conservation and breed development programmes. The preliminary guidelines will be tested in a number of breed demonstration cases. All results will be published in different forms, electronically and in hard-copies and disseminated to a wide range of stakeholders.
Relevance to the objectives
Cattle genetic resources play an important role in the maintenance of rural areas and the associated production systems. A higher level of self-sustainability of local/regional cattle breeds would reduce the dependency from structural subsidies.
EURECA contributes to the development of guidelines or a common understanding of factors which contribute to successful conservation and development programmes for local/regional cattle breeds. The project will complement and promote work undertaken in the Member states and will lead to increased understanding of breed dynamics and measures how to influence the breed dynamics and will contribute to a higher success rate of breed conservation and development programmes.