Marsh Award for Conservation in Genetic Bio-Diversity
This Award is run in partnership with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) and recognises an individual or group who have made a significant technical and scientific or practical contribution to the field of genetic bio-diversity.
Since RBST was founded in 1973 no breed of farm animal has become extinct in the UK, as opposed to one breed becoming extinct every month throughout the world. The Awards with RBST are for those who work to prevent the loss and promote the importance of Rare Breeds in the UK.
The 2016 winner is Andrew Sheppy
Andrew was a founding member of the Rare Poultry Society, the Cobthorn Trust and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. He has served as a member of the RBST Council for almost 20 years, chaired their Poultry Specialist Committee and is now President of the Rare Poultry Society.
Andrew’s work with the Cobthorn Trust in particular is an important factor in his winning of this Award. One of the principal activities of the Trust is the characterisation and maintenance of farm animal genetic resources through direct breeding programmes and advisory work. Andrew was a serving member of the National Steering Committee on Farm Animal Genetic Resources and was a contributor to the National Report published by DEFRA in 2002.
The Cobthorn Trust has been breeding Dexter Cattle since 1976 and has done significant work on the history and genetics of the breed. Having been responsible for solving the genetics of a serious defect in Dexters, Andrew’s main purpose now is to maintain as much of the historic bloodlines as possible; of only six original 100% bloodlines remaining in the country, four can be found at Cobthorn.
Andrew has a long association with the veterinary college at Bristol University, delivering lectures on rare breeds and conservation and welcoming students to his farm for practical experience. He has also published a number of books and articles, including The World of Dexter Cattle.
Pictured: Andrew receiving his Award
The Rare Breeds Survival Trust