New book on quest to conserve rare breeds

The preservation of our genetic resources – our biological diversity – is an essential ingredient of sustainable life on Earth, and not something we can afford to lose. A new book written by the President of the White Park Cattle Society, Lawrence Alderson CBE, challenges often repeated ‘facts’ about livestock farming, straight from the horse’s mouth.   Rare breeds expert Lawrence argues for a reasoned and evidence-based approach from political and public circles.  He recounts the creation and development of the rare breed conservation movement, addresses extinctions and genetic safe-guarding measures, and considers where we go from here.

Challenged as we are by climate change, sustainability and feeding the world, perhaps it is these endangered animals that hold the answer.

The Quest to Conserve Rare Breeds is priced at £29.99 and can be ordered from the website of the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International.

Tribute to Bernard Hartshorn, former Chair of the White Park Cattle Society

We heard with great sorrow that Bernard Hartshorn passed away on 27th May in hospital where he had been ill for some time. Many members will recall the excellent Open Days which he hosted at Wimpole Home Farm. The remarkable docility of the White Park cattle and other breeds in a National Trust centre open to the public were a tribute to his understanding and handling of livestock.

Under his sympathetic management the Ash herd of White Park cattle earned an enviable reputation in the breed. He produced a succession of bulls that contributed a powerful improving influence and raised the status of the herd. Lucien, Larry, Michael, Niknak and Poplar are names that appear in the pedigree of many excellent animals.

I spent a great deal of time with Bernard during the years he was active in the Society. It was an immense pleasure to work with him. He was knowledgeable but always ready to listen and discuss; congenial and relaxed company but never forgot the task in hand whether it was a bull inspection or organisation of an Open Day. He exerted a huge influence, and both we and the cattle owe him a great debt.

He was chairman of the Society for six years (1998 – 2004). They included the difficult BSE and FMD crises when his calm authority was invaluable. His White Park work, and his wider farming activities, involved the whole family. His wife, Shirley who predeceased him, was secretary of the Society for seventeen years, and his daughter, Marie, for five years. Our deepest sympathy and condolences are with her and her family.

Lawrence Alderson, CBE
President, White Park Cattle Society 

Semen straws from new White Park bull are now available

Collection of semen from a Pass Plus White Park bull was completed by UK Sires in April 2020.

Chartley Miles (below) is a quiet bull who behaved impeccably during his stay in Devon for the semen collection.

Straws from Chartley Miles have been approved for world-wide export and are available to order from the Society office at a cost of £10 each.  UK Sires will also charge a despatch fee.

To order straws please contact the Society Secretary, Jane Hampson, on [email protected]

The Society also has semen straws available from two other Pass Plus bulls – Crane Majestic and Broadecton Clayton.  Please visit this page for full details.

New Agriculture Bill recognises importance of native breeds

The new Agriculture Bill which is currently passing through Parliament has given a commitment to support our native livestock (such as White Park cattle) and equines.  The Bill recognises that our native breeds have a low environmental footprint, high welfare standards and provide premium produce, as well as being a major part of our national heritage.   The Chief Executive of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust has commented on this new development as below:

https://www.rbst.org.uk/blog/agriculture-bill-briefing-2019

Biography of White Park Cattle Society President

A new book entitled ” Anarchy or Establishment” was published at the end of May 2019.  The biography is the journey of a shy boy from a remote Pennine hill farm to a man who is now a renowned international consultant on conservation genetics with a CBE for services to rare breeds – our very own President, Lawrence Alderson.

Lawrence has dedicated much of his life to saving traditional native breeds and was founder president of Rare Breeds International and the founder, scientific consultant, director and chairman of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.  He is an eternal optimist with a ‘glass half full’ attitude to life, always looking for positive opportunities even when the outlook is bleak. His smiling northern sense of humour has carried him through many farming disasters such as Foot and Mouth Disease.

“Anarchy or Establishment” is 224 pages long and has 145 photos.  It retails at £25 and is available to order from Hayloft Publishing on [email protected] or 079 713 524 73.

Updated and revised book on White Park cattle is now available for sale

Our dramatically distinctive White Park cattle which grace parkland and pasture in many parts of the country is Britain’s most ancient breed of livestock.    “A Breed of Distinction” by the Society President and White Park cattle expert, Lawrence Alderson CBE, deals comprehensively with both the ancient provenance of White Park cattle and their value in the context of modern farming.  Its narrative reveals a fascinating range of interest and knowledge, illustrated in both monochrome and colour images.

An updated and revised copy of “A Breed of Distinction” is now for sale via Amazon using this link.

Volume One of WPCS magazine is published

The first edition of the White Park Cattle Society magazine “A Breed of Distinction” has been published.

Our thanks go to retired Council member John Carrick, who managed the production and printing of the magazine, ably assisted by his editorial team of Amy Cope, Jessica Byrne-Daniel, John Barker and Guy Myddelton.

The 16-page magazine features articles on breeding for the best, a guide to showing White Park cattle, halter training young cattle, members new to the breed, the export of embryos to New Zealand, keeping White Park outdoors all year round and the change of lifestyle from London banker to Rutland farmer.

The magazine also contains herd advertisements from several White Park herds.

Volume One of  “A Breed of Distinction” is available free of charge to anyone who is interested in finding out more about White Park Cattle.  If you would like to receive a copy please contact our Breed Secretary, Jane Hampson, on [email protected] with your address details.

2018 – Centenary of the White Park Cattle Society

2018 is a special year for our Society, as it is our centenary.

The ‘Park Cattle Society’ was formed in January 1918 with the Earl of Tankerville (Chillingham) as Patron, the Duke of Bedford (Woburn) as President, and the Duke of Hamilton (Cadzow) as Vice-President. The first herd book was published in 1919. At that time the herd book included both horned and polled cattle as polled cattle with the White Park colour pattern were incorrectly deemed to be closely related.

By the 1940s the name of the Society had changed to the ‘British White Cattle Society’ which added further confusion with polled British White cattle. The President was the Duke of Hamilton and the Vice-President was Lord Dynevor, and the heritage horned herds (Dynevor, Cadzow and Woburn/Chartley)  provided the senior office holders throughout the life of the herd book.

Following a lapse of thirty years or so registrations resumed in 1974, the first volume of a new herd book was published in 1975, and the White Park Cattle Society was (re)formed in 1983 when the Duchess of Hamilton (Cadzow) was President and the Chairman was G L H Alderson CBE (Dynevor).  Lawrence Alderson became President in 1988.

Three donated White Park females move to Herefordshire

At the end of 2017 we were contacted by a non-member who had owned three White Park cows for several years, using them for conservation grazing only.  The owner was retiring and had decided to re-home his White Parks.   But he wanted them to live out their natural lives, as close as possible to his home, and had specified that they could not be used for breeding.  If we could find a new owner that met these criteria, the White Parks would be transferred free of charge.

Luckily Dr Greenall of Herefordshire was only too willing to give the three females a new home.  Following the necessary movement tests Stoneleigh Ashow, Stoneleigh Grandborough and Pepperbox Alderbury moved to Ledbury and are now living with five other White Parks in the beautiful surroundings Bromesberrow Place.

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