Animal Genetic Resources in Greece



Introduction
Greece not only possesses a large diversity of most different landscape structures, but was already famous in the ancient times for its agriculture and variety of products. But Demeter, the Greek goddess for agriculture, today known as label for organic products, seems to have forgotten her country recently. The diversity of breeds in Greece is highly endangered by industrialisation, migration to cities, the use of hybrids and other methods of modern agriculture.


Animal Genetic resources in Greece: Start in 2005
Thanks to the support of the MAVA Foundation for Nature Protection, Montricher, SAVE Monitoring Institute could start a monitoring of Greek livestock breeds in 2005. It became obvious from the start of the first investigations that the need for recording and the need for action are enormous in Greece. In the official Greek lists, only 14 out of 21 sheep breeds mentioned in standard books in the 1960s are still listed. The systematic recording of data available in the RareBase-database of the Monitoring Institute showed the development trend since the 1960s. A workshop was supposed to gather and to motivate the different forces of the non-governmental sector to co-operate, before search tours and inquiries started locally.

Workshop: Rare livestock breeds in Greece, Athens, 30 June-2 July 2005
Together with SAVE Foundation and WWF Greece, Monitoring Institute organised a workshop in Athens with the framework of monitoring activities in Greece on the occurrence and conservation of endangered autochthonous livestock breeds. The organisers succeeded in bringing together 25 participants from nature conservation organisations, dedicated activists and representatives from science, research and government. Particularly the commitment from private circles was very encouraging. A large and previously unknown amount of new material came up during the workshop which needs to be processed.

Workshop "Rare breeds in Greece", Agrinion, 18-20 May 2006
The network of breeders, interested individuals and experts will be reinforced at a further workshop in Agrinion (west Greece, prefcture Etolokarnania) in May 2006, working especially on the non-governmental level. Results from diverse search tours will also be presented. There will be discussion about urgent action and concrete steps to be taken for various (re-) discovered breeds and varieties.




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