Blackbelly threat

BAS Livestock  Committee chairman Gerry Thomas (L) and CEO James Paul at this morning's meeting.
BAS Livestock Committee chairman Gerry Thomas (L) and CEO James Paul at this morning’s meeting.

The Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) will launch a breeders’ association and animal registration programme next year to stave off a threat to the quality of the island’s Blackbelly sheep.

Chief Executive Officer of the BAS James Paul today stated that continuous inbreeding was threatening the genetic quality of the strain of sheep that is unique to Barbados.

He told a meeting of livestock owners that identifying the source of each animal was the first step in preserving quality.

“That will help us to deal with the issue that we are facing right now, which is that we have a problem of

Some of the farmers at this morning's meeting.
Some of the farmers at this morning’s meeting.

inbreeding in the industry, and if we are not careful over a period of time we will lose the vigour in the animal – the genetic diversity that we claim to have,” Paul said at the BAS’ Beckles Road headquarters.

“We are going to look at what we need to be doing in order to change that. But one of the critical things that we need to do is to train breeders of Barbados Blackbelly sheep as to what they need to do in terms of best practices in the industry.

“If farmers continue to breed in the absence of information or a database we will have a difficulty as we go in to the future,” the CEO explained.

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