Many breeds of livestock that have survived for hundreds of years are in serious danger of becoming endangered or extinct
A Welsh mountain badger-faced ewe with her full fleece.
These Soay sheep are part way through losing their winter fleeces. The Soay has a natural type of wool growth, which allows the fleece to shed gradually without human intervention. Anyone wishing to use the wool could simply collect it from the land. Wool does not have the value today that it once did in the U.K. because the price of wool rarely covers the expensive and backbreaking task of shearing.
A light Sussex cockerel, a good all-’round bird.
A medley of British breeds: a Welsh mountain mare and foal, pictured alongside a Hill speckled ram. Welsh mountain ponies are amazingly hardy and nimble creatures capable of surviving in harsh conditions. These ponies belong to breeder Gwyn Berry, who takes pride in continuing a long tradition of keeping these ponies in their native Snowdonia.
Nipper the Shetland pony, my neighbor’s pride and joy. The Shetland is Britain’s smallest native breed of pony, hailing from the Shetland Isles in Scotland, where the breed is known to have existed for more than 2,000 years. The Shetland pony is tiny in stature; the islands’ harsh conditions allowed only the smallest, toughest animals to survive. For its size, the Shetland is the strongest of all horse breeds. As well as cultivating land and being an all-’round work pony, the breed is also famous for working in the mines of the U.K. The use of children as mine workers was banned in 1847. At about that time, "pit ponies" became popular, with the Shetland being the favorite breed, due to its small size, brave nature and extraordinary strength.
A pair of young Welsh pigs. According to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, the breed is at risk of extinction.
Welsh Black cattle free ranging in the mountains of Wales. It is unlikely that a modern commercial breed would thrive on the tough, wiry mountain grass of the Snowdonia. These hardy black cattle fatten without lush lowland grass and are nimble enough to manage the difficult terrain. The Welsh Black has been bred in Wales for more than 1,000 years. At one time they were used as currency, which led to the tradition of the Welsh Black being commonly described as "Black Gold."