Tack n' Talk

Online Equestrian Resource

“…when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another Heaven and another Earth must pass before such a one can be again.” -William Beebe

By:  Larissa Cox

Every once in a while we come across an unusual breed of a horse, one such example is the Unmol Horse, a breed that may no longer exist and we wonder what happened and how we could have prevented this tragic loss. 

The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect over 180 breeds of livestock and poultry from extinction. Included in their mandate are asses, cattle, goats, horses, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys.  Founded in 1977,  the ALBC maintains a priority list that divides endangered breeds of horses, asses, sheep, goats, cattle, rabbits, pigs and poultry into five categories based on population numbers and historical interest. These categories are:

Critical:  Fewer than 200 annual registrations in the United States and estimated global population less than 2,000.

Threatened:  Fewer than 1,000 annual registrations in the United States and estimated global population less than 5,000.

Watch:  Fewer than 2,500 annual registrations in the United States and estimated global population less than 10,000.

Recovering:  Breeds that were once listed in another category and have exceeded Watch category numbers but are still in need of monitoring.

Study:  Breeds that are of genetic interest but either lack definition or lack genetic or historical documentation.

As of 2011, there are 33 horse breeds on the Conservancy Priority List, seventeen of which are in the critical category, seven in the threatened, five in the watch including the Clydesdale, three in the recovering and one in study.   One can point to the American Cream Draft horse which was one of the reasons that this organization was formed and that this breed was on the earliest priority lists.  The ALBC has also assisted in extensive genetic studies of rare horse breeds focusing mainly on strains of the Colonial Spanish Horse. And one breed that the ALBC has assisted in saving, was the Carolina Marsh Tacky horse.

In 2009, the ALBC claimed  3,000 members and operates with a nine-person staff and a nineteen-person board of directors funded solely by grants, sales of publications and promotional materials, membership dues and public donations.

Thank you for the wonderful work!  Larissa



  dsolanook wrote @

The ALBC is a great organization.

  tackandtalk wrote @

I totally agree, it is a great organization!

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