1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Agriculture/Breed Societies

Breed Societies.

A noteworthy feature of the closing decades of the 19th century was the formation of voluntary associations of stockbreeders, with the object of promoting the interests of the respective breeds of live stock. As a typical example of these organizations the Shire Horse Society may be mentioned. It was incorporated in 1878 to improve and promote the breeding of the Shire or old English race of cart-horses, and to effect the distribution of sound and healthy sires throughout the country. The society holds annual shows, publishes annually the Shire Horse Stud Book and offers(gold and silver medals for competition amongst Shire horses at agricultural shows in different parts of the country. The society has carried on a work of high national importance, and has effected a marked improvement in the character and quality of the Shire horse. What has thus voluntarily been done in England would in most other countries be left to the state, or would not be attempted at all. It is hardly necessary to say that the Shire Horse Society has never received a penny of public money, nor has any other of the voluntary breeders’ societies. The Hackney Horse Society and the Hunters’ Improvement Society are conducted on much the same lines as the Shire Horse Society, and, like it, they each hold a show in London in the spring of the year and publish an annual volume. Other horse breeders associations, all doing useful work in the interests of their respective breeds, are the Suffolk Horse Society, the Clydesdale Horse Society, the Yorkshire Coach Horse Society, the Cleveland Bay Horse Society, the Polo Pony Society, the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society, the Welsh Pony and Cob Society and the New Forest Pony Association. Thoroughbred race-horses are registered in the General Stud Book. The Royal Commission on Horse Breeding, which dates from 1887, is, as its name implies, not a voluntary organization. Through the commission the money previously spent upon Queen’s Plates is offered in the form of “King’s Premiums” (to the number of twenty-eight in 1907) of £150 each for thoroughbred stallions, on condition that each stallion winning a premium shall serve not less than fifty half-bred mares, if required. The winning stallions are distributed in districts throughout Great Britain, and the use of these selected sires has resulted in a decided improvement in the quality of half-bred horses. The annual show of the Royal Commission on Horse Breeding is held in London jointly and concurrently with that of the Hunters’ Improvement Society.

Of organizations of cattle-breeders the English Jersey Cattle Society, established in 1878, may be taken as a type. It offers prizes in butter-test competitions and milking trials at various agricultural shows, and publishes the English Herd Book and Register of Pure-bred Jersey Cattle. This volume records the births in the herds of members of the society, and gives the pedigrees of cows and bulls, besides furnishing lists of prize-winners at the principal shows and butter-test awards, and reports of sales by auction of Jersey cattle. Other cattle societies, all well caring for the interest of their respective breeds, are the Shorthorn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Lincolnshire Red Shorthorn Association, the Hereford Herd Book Society, the Devon Cattle Breeders’ Society, the South Devon Herd Book Society, the Sussex Herd Book Society, the Long horned Cattle Society, the Red Polled Society, the English Guernsey Cattle Society, the English Kerry and Dexter Cattle Society, the Welsh Black Cattle Society, the Polled Cattle Society (for the Aberdeen-Angus breed), the English Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Association, the Galloway Cattle Society, the Ayrshire Cattle Herd Book Society, the Highland Cattle Society of Scotland and the Dairy Shorthorn Association.

In the case of sheep the National Sheep Breeders’ Association looks after the interests of flock masters in general, whilst most of the pure breeds are represented also by separate organizations. The Hampshire Down Sheep Breeders’ Association may be taken as a type of the latter, its principal object being to encourage the breeding of Hampshire Down sheep at home and abroad, and to maintain the purity of the breed. It publishes an annual Flock Book, the first volume of which appeared in 1890. In this book are named the recognized and pure-bred sires which have been used, and ewes which have been bred from, whilst there are also registered the pedigrees of such sheep as are proved to be eligible for entry. Prizes are offered by the society at various agricultural shows where Hampshire Down sheep are exhibited. Other sheep societies include the Leicester Sheep Breeders Association, the Cotswold Sheep Society, the Lincoln Longwool Sheep Breeders’ Association, the Oxford Down Sheep Breeders Association, the Shropshire Sheep Breeders’ Association and Flock Book Society, the South down Sheep Society, the Suffolk Sheep Society, the Border Leicester Sheep Breeders’ Society, the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders’ Association and Flock Book Society, the Incorporated Wensleydale Blue-faced Sheep Breeders’ Association and Flock Book Society, the Kent Sheep Breeders’ Association, the Devon Longwool Sheep Breeders Society, the Dorset Horn Sheep Breeders’ Association, the Cheviot Sheep Society and the Ros common Sheep Breeders Association.

The interests of pig-breeders are the care of the National Pig Breeders’ Association, in addition to which there exist the British Berkshire, the Large Black Pig, and the Lincoln Curly-Coated White Pig Societies, and the Incorporated Tamworth Pig Breeders’ Association.

The addresses of the secretaries of the various live-stock societies in the United Kingdom are published annually in the Live Stock Journal Almanac.