Breeding & biotech notes

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1996:

The United Nations Food and Agricultural
Organization warns that about 30% of the world’s 3,882 known
breeds of domesticated animal species are in effect endangered
or threatened species, as factory farming with standardized
breeds takes over husbandry. The greatest loss of diversity
looms in Asia, where 68 domesticated mammals and 37 domesticated
birds are at imminent risk of extinction, while 865 mammals
and 131 birds are represented by fewer than 1,000 females
or fewer than 20 breeding males. “In Europe,” FAO geneticist
Keith Hammond says, “half of the breeds that existed at the turn
of the century have become extinct; 41% of the remaining 1,500
breeds are in danger of disappearing over the next 20 years. In
North America, over a third of the livestock and poultry breeds
are rare or in decline.”

The market research firm Frost & Sullivan predicts
that the combination of biotechnology and corporate ownership
will double the amount the farm industry spends on “food animal
health products” by the turn of the century.
“Pharmaceuticals will rise as a share of overall market revenues,”
Frost & Sullivan says, “from 36% in 1994 to 50% in
2001, while feed additives dip in share from 53% to 42% and
that of biologicals also declines, from 11% to 8% in the same
The Michigan State University Board of Trustees
has approved the expenditure of $3.5 million for a new swine
teaching and research center; $557,000 for a facility in which
to do nutritional research on turkeys; $422,000 for a facility in
which to do metabolic research on cattle; and $686,500 for renovation
of a beef cattle research center.

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