October 15, 2003



British Pig Association Organised Largest Ever Shipment of Rare-Breed Pigs to Bhutan


72 British Saddleback and large black pigs are on their way to Bhutan, the isolated mountain kingdom in the Himalayas. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations are paying for the shipment, which also includes ten Durocs.


It will form the nucleus of a pig-breeding programme to provide improved breeding stock for local small farmers. Coloured pigs are favoured throughout this part of the world.

The British Pig Association organised this shipment for more than 12 months to put together a foundation-breeding herd for export, this is the largest shipment ever. 

Dr Rex Walters, BPA consultant geneticist, has been involved in organising the pigs into unrelated breeding families. With the small sow populations of these breeds it has not been easy to find enough unrelated lines. Both the British Saddleback and Large Black breeds are viewed as rare breeds, each with less than 500 sows.

Marcus Bates, Chief Executive of the British Pig Association, said "this is very good news for these breeds as some of the money from this shipment will be used for breed conservation projects here in the UK such as our Traditional Breeds AI Scheme."