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Why Rare or Heritage Breed Farming is Not Conservation

July 2, 2018

Wikimedia Commons

Source Free From Harm
By Robert Grillo

The following is my letter to the editor of The Globe and Mail in response to their May 7th article, This sheep could save our bacon someday: Why farmers are banking on rare breeds. Some of the content here is excerpted from my book, Farm to Fable: The Fictions of Our Animal Consuming Culture.  Letters to the editor can be sent to

Dear Editors,

Overall, the article is based on the false premise that the conservation of so-called “rare breeds” are of the same status as endangered native species, conflating the role of conservation of native species with domesticated, “invasive” species that humans introduced solely for the purpose of commodification, which has resulted in an ongoing degradation of ecosystems and the decimation of wildlife, not its conservation. In addition, the article ignores all of the cruelty and killing of domestic animals in the process of centuries of selective breeding which involves “weeding out” weak or diseased animals and killing them off.

The article suggests that so-called “rare breed” or heritage breed conservation is humankind doing Mother Nature a favor by domesticating certain indigenous species and by introducing invasive species to her ecosystems, as if nothing existed (or at least nothing worth conserving) before our intervention, as if no species were harmed or hunted to extinction in the process of converting and maintaining once pristine ecosystems into farmland. In reality, farmers wreaked havoc on ecosystems and systematically killed off other animals that posed a threat or nuisance to their livestock investments. And the process continues today, particularly on so-called pasture-based or free-range farms, which require more land use and more confrontations with indigenous species.

Please read rest HERE

mother nature makes the rules
when man intervenes
he sometimes plays
the fool.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 2, 2018 8:14 am

    Great share. ‘Free From Harm’ is a wonderful site full of useful information and clarity (for the willing). I’d missed this.

    Even when we intervene to save wild endangered species (not for consumption), we unwittingly create some other problem for the species instead. What we don’t know about natural selection fills volumes.

    Nature really does it best.


    • July 2, 2018 11:48 am

      I agree. Admittedly, I have an extremely unconventional and unpopular view on saving endangered species. Although I can certainly appreciate and applaud legitimate conservationists, I at times believe we should let species go extinct due to human fault, encroachment, and poaching: we don’t deserve them, and as long as they exist, humans will continuously exploit, torture, and murder them.

      I agree about Free From Harm – excellent and compelling site.

      Thanks, Shannon.


  2. karen lyons kalmenson permalink
    July 2, 2018 8:30 am

    mother nature makes the rules
    when man intervenes
    he sometimes plays
    the fool.

    Liked by 1 person

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