THE Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) is encouraging smallholders and farmers to ensure timely registration of their rare breed livestock and equines despite the disruption to shows and sales for a second year, to help safeguard the breeds’ futures.

In normal years the summer’s county shows, agricultural shows and sales often provide key milestones ahead of which rare breeds are registered, but many of these shows have been cancelled or disrupted.

Registered livestock and equines need to be recorded in the relevant flock book, herd book or stud book, and some receive certificates.

RBST chief executive Christopher Price said: “If registrations of rare breeds are overlooked in 2021 as a result of disruption to summer events, crucial information will be lost and the work to support the future of these breeds will suffer.

“Every registration helps RBST and the breed societies to determine an accurate picture for breed numbers and geographic distribution.

“Year by year this analysis informs our conservation priorities and programmes of work, as well as decisions about which breeds to target for the UK Gene Bank and categorisations on the RBST watchlist.

“Some breeds must be registered within a certain timeframe and missing the window this year will have impacts for years to come, because only progeny of registered animals can themselves be registered.”

Many breeds allow online registration through the Grassroots system available via or the Cloudlines platform (

Paper applications can also be sent directly to the relevant breed society.

Ian Roy, secretary of the Clydesdale Horse Society, said: “Registration of 2021-born Clydesdale foals is now in full swing as we work towards our foal registration deadline date of September 30. Each year in recent years around 200 foals have been registered with us, a sum which we feel is currently the minimum necessary to sustain our breed. We would encourage every breeder to register their Clydesdales with us, the breed society so that we, alongside the valuable work we appreciate that RBST undertakes, give our breed the best opportunity to survive and be sustained in the future.’

Marcus Bates, British Pig Association chief executive, added: “In difficult times it’s easy to ask ‘what’s the point in paying for herdbook registrations’ as though it is some sort of luxury, but without herdbooks we don’t have breeds and we certainly don’t have rare breeds. The information in the pedigree represents the joint efforts of so many generations of breeders in the past. No one breeder owns that pedigree it is a collective endeavour held in trust by the breed society for the benefit of the breed and all the breeders, past present and future. Herdbook registration is an investment in the future and an acknowledgement of respect to all the breeders in the past who kept the breed going for us to enjoy today.”