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12/06/2017

Spanish autochthonous breeds: 100% autochthonous breed, #100x100ours

Wikispanishfood editorial team

Our peninsula’s geographic location and the two notable archipelagos that form part of our country, together with the geographic isolation this entails, as well as the variety of its climates and traditions, have turned Spain into one of the countries with a more significant livestock heritage. In our days, globalization has allowed access, to a vast majority of products with great ease, even to those with a more exotic and remote origin. However, just as the famous Kobe beef has found a niche in our country, we must not forget that, Spain possesses a broad variety of autochthonous livestock breeds within its borders, from which we obtain unique products of an unbeatable quality. Unfortunately, many of these breeds are in danger of extinction.

The meat from our breeds, some of which are already in expansion, while others remain unknown and with fewer animals, has little to envy other great internationally recognized meat. These breeds’ survival until the present has been benefited from their great adaptation to the surrounding environment of which they are part, shaping ecosystems, such as the Spanish meadows (dehesa), which would not exist without the intervention of autochthonous livestock. Indeed, the singularity and quality of their products have become increasingly important for their conservation and development. Many of these breeds have generated wealth and well-being over the years for our ancestors living in rural areas with limited resources; they have been the only sustenance of many families, and the main source of income in areas with important geographical limitations.

All these breeds, populating our countryside for many years, must remain among us, overcoming the endangered /risk status that threatens them. For this purpose, they are supported with a powerful tool, such as the manufacturing and promotion of quality products beyond their natural borders.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment (MAPAMA) has promoted a number of actions within the National Program for Conservation, Improvement and Promotion of Livestock breeds; such as the creation of a National Germplasm Bank, or the creation of the National livestock Breed Information System (ARCA), aimed at improving the conservation of our livestock heritage. But apart from these necessary technical tasks, it is necessary to raise awareness among society and consumers of the valuesautochthonous breeds’ treasure. In order to achieve this, in 2014, the 100% Autochthonous breed logotype was created to guarantee consumers that products labeled with it, come exclusively from autochthonous breeds, with the purpose of creating alternative ways of profitability for breeders raising them, guaranteeing their future and the future of their ecosystems.

These animals directly or indirectly, like in the past, provide us with milk, meat, wool, leather, cheese, sausages, eggs, etc., the survival of these pure lineages, without being crossbred with other breeds, depends of the consumption of these products. Most of them are part of our culture, our traditions, our gastronomy and our rural landscape.

Fortunately, the wide variety of gastronomic products in Spain is not limited to our other flagship products, such as olive oil or our immense variety of wines. There is also a broad variety of meat and cheese in Spain, with a wide range of textures and flavors, and most of the times they are derivated from authocthonous breeds. The logo has been very positively welcomed; and there are currently 38 breeds join in the 100% autochthonous breed logo. The case of meat from bovines is remarkable, involving the highest number of breeds adhered to the logo (17), followed by meat, milk and sheep wool (11), and meat and milk from goats (8). Although Poultry and pigs adhered are still a minority.

The MAPAMA continues promoting the dissemination of these breeds and their products, in a second phase of actions in collaboration with livestock associations.

New actions and means of dissemination are planned to provide the public with the information that will allow them to identify and appreciate the products coming from farmers who watch over our breeds with a great effort. Various planned actions to promote 100% autochthonous breed logo are highlighted: the promotion of breeds adhered to the 100% autochthonous breed logo at fairs and events, its dissemination through Social Networks in order to reach general public, a travelling photo exhibition throughout Spain and even the organization of the first national autochthonous breed products cooking recipe contest, with recipes that must be based on ingredients obtained from these breeds.

Undoubtedly, the promotion of our breeds’ sustainability and the realization/support of dissemination activities is always good news. We understand that this should be everyone’s responsibility. It is important to make our society aware of the difficult situation of these breeds, raised under more extensive conditions, and of the enormous efforts made by breeders to offer products that reach the consumer having something special to offer, something that is #100x100ours.

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