STA, 22 July 2019 - Slovenia boasts thirteen native breeds of domestic animals, with most of them considered endangered or vulnerable, so their preservation is of national importance. A network to support breeders, set up in 2016, features a dozen farms and seven agricultural centres.
There are four native breeds of sheep in Slovenia, with the Jezersko-Solčava coming from northern Slovenia, Belokranjska Pramenka from the south-eastern region of Bela Krajina, the Bovec from the upper valley of the Soča river, and Istrska Pramenka from Kras and Istria.
Other native breeds include the Drežnica goat, the Krško Polje pig, Carniolan honeybee, the Štajerska chicken and the Cika cow.
The three native Slovenian breeds of horses are the Posavje, the Lipica and the Slovenian cold-blooded horse.
Preserving these breeds in their own local environment is in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity, the programme for development of Slovenian agriculture and rural areas, and the long-term programme of protecting biological diversity in Slovenian animal husbandry.
In 2016, the Public Service of Animal Husbandry Gene Bank, which covers the field on the national level, set up the Slovenian network of breeders of endangered native breeds. The same year, the first farms received certificates for breeding endangered native animals.
Currently, 12 farms and seven agricultural centres have the certificates.
"The number of such farms has been increasing very slowly, but our goal is not so much to have more of such farms but to improve the quality of promotion and preservation (of the animals), which is the basic mission of these farms," Danijela Bojkovski and Metka Žan of the Public Service of Animal Husbandry Gene Bank told the STA.
"We would primarily like the wider public to understand how important it is to preserve native breeds and use their products," the pair said.
To get the certificate, a farm must breed at least three native breeds of domestic animals. It can also breed other domestic animals, but at least half of the animals have to be of native breeds.
The agricultural centres breed native domestic animals mainly for educational and tourist purposes.
Both types of farms are encouraged to market the products of the native breeds, follow the guidelines of organic farming and also preserve native plants.
The farms can receive state subsidies for breeding endangered native breeds as part of the programme for development of Slovenian rural areas.
The Karst Shepherd, a breed of dog of the livestock guardian type, is also a native breed whose conservation status is critical.
A breeding program was accepted in 2009 to boost the number of dogs, improve their characteristics and preserve their genetic diversity.