The tragedy of breed improvement. (Almero de Lange,1991), - the adverse effects of well-intentioned but ill-advised breed improvement programmes have been with us for a long time. Crossbreeding programmes may become so widespread that the existence of valuable genetic diversity in the indigenous and adapted breeds may be threatened and will merely reduce the hardiness of local adapted animals.
Dr Laurie Hammond (1995) director of the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, stated that 40% of the world's 4000 domestic livestock breeds are in danger of becoming extinct. The worldwide trend for super breeds could be wiping out thousands of indigenous breeds with their unique abilities to perform in harsh environments. Hammond (op.cit.) continued: "Breeds of cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep and goats; once the backbone of farming economics in many countries, were being replaced by a few super breeds which only performed in ideal conditions. Irreplaceable genetic resources are being lost. Many of these native breeds have maintained humans for more than 10 000 years.
''Their loss is not just a matter of heritage. It's very much about our future."
Dr Herbert Atkinson said in the 18th century about man always wanting to "develop" the animals around him