Agriculture and rural development

AGRI GEN RES 066: European Livestock Breeds Ark and Rescue Net

AGRI GEN RES 066: European Livestock Breeds Ark and Rescue Net

Genetic resources
AGRI GEN RES 066: European Livestock Breeds Ark and Rescue Net

Final results

The Livestock Breeds action developed further a European-wide network of over 400 “Ark Farms” in 43 European countries for the survival of endangered European farm animal breeds and provided a policy framework within which a professional service is delivered for conservation of the breeds through breed management and a concept for marketing their products and services. More information regarding the results can be found in the executive summary.


The objectives of the action are:

  • To establish a European Livestock Breeds Ark and Rescue Net (ELBARN) to secure the continued existence of endangered Livestock Breeds.
  • To achieve diversity in farming and landscape, which promotes sustainable agriculture and provides income and opportunity in rural communities.
  • To create an inventory, as an online, publicly accessible database, to document the existing Rescue Centres and Ark
    Farms, as well as any subsequent developments.
  • To motivate and network to improve possibilities of rescue, in-situ conservation and use of under-utilised agricultural genetic resources in Europe.
  • To prepare clear guidelines regarding how and when rescue and quarantine is appropriate.
  • To prepare guidelines for the requirements an Ark and Rescue Centre must be fulfilled.
  • To prepare breeding guidelines for the in-situ conservation of endangered breeds.
  • To work on a concept for marketing the products and services of rare livestock breeds.

Actions and means involved


  • A network: bringing together and documenting that which already exists.
  • A catalyst: lobbying, encouraging and providing structure to successfully achieve conservation and use of endangered livestock breeds.

To create an ELBARN, active networking is needed. The action will be launched with a Central Workshop. Work Groups will then work on guidelines for the different aspects of Ark and Rescue Centres (these guidelines will be further adapted to ensure that they are regionally specific): Identification of suitable Centres, Rescue procedures, a concept for epidemics, guidelines for breeders and also marketing. Rescue of animals and a strategy for epidemics is very important as it is essential for the survival of rare breeds to be able to move animal groups into safety should their conservation be endangered.

A questionnaire will be used to establish what already exists and what is needed. This information, plus other information that will be added later, will be stored in a database. This database will be available online for both experts and members of the public. Additionally, guidelines will be drawn up that will help in the establishment of more Ark and Rescue Centres. These Centres will be used to address urgent displacement issues, offer quarantine (according to EU/national regulations) to protect endangered breeds from epidemics and keep core collections for breeding purposes. Marketing and publicity are essential to the long-term survival of both the breeds and the Ark and Rescue Centres and this subject will be given an important place within ELBARN. There will be promotion of Ark and Rescue Centres as “show farms”, labels to sell products of Ark and Rescue Centres, promotion of sustainable tourism and of traditional landscape management.

The project will end with a final report, to show progress and work that still needs to be completed. This final report will be used to publicise the online database, to motivate and to encourage national governments, institutions and individuals to be involved in ELBARN and to carry on the work that has been started through this action.

The transnational cooperation between the Partners and the Workshop Participants is central in the transfer of knowledge and method and, thus, the success of the action.

Relevance to the objectives

  • Ensures and improves conservation through Rescue and Quarantine places.
  • Easily accessible documentation, aimed at experts and public alike, of in-situ conservation of animal genetic resources.
  • Direct and positive impact on local economies through the development of marketable potential of rare breeds, through products or tourism.
  • Creates an efficient instrument for the in situ/on farm conservation of European agricultural genetic diversity.
  • Structure in which breeding programmes can be developed and regulated.
  • Aims to co-ordinate, harmonise and extend existing actions in Member States, with the aim of aiding agro-environmental schemes.

This concerted action is a pan-European, specialist activity for establishing a European-wide network of “Ark Farms”, rescue-stations and farm animal parks for endangered European farm animal breeds.


Organisations implementing the co-funded action


Coordinator's website