Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

September 14, 2007 11:30 ET

Canada Takes Part in Global Effort to Conserve Animal Genetics

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 14, 2007) - Canada's New Government has adopted the Global Plan of Action for Farm Animal Genetic Resources, an international framework to conserve and use valuable animal genetic resources.

"This global plan will help Canadian breeders and researchers access genetic resources from other countries as well as further support the export of Canadian animal genetics," said the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board. "Canada's New Government is pleased to work with other countries to stop further erosion of farm animal genetic resources and improve their conservation and use."

Canadian breeders, on average, export $88 million worth of animal genetics each year, including horses, bovines and swine, hatching eggs, and bovine semen and embryos.

Canada joined 168 other countries in agreeing to the plan through the Interlaken Declaration, a non-legally binding policy statement, at the world's first International Conference on Animal Genetic Resources, in Interlaken, Switzerland, September 3-7, 2007.

Genetically diverse livestock populations are essential to providing consumers with safe, quality products, and increasingly important in meeting future challenges in animal production such as environmental change, disease threats, human nutritional requirements, fluctuating markets or changing societal needs.

The adoption of the Global Plan of Action is a milestone following several years of discussions among the 168 member countries of the international Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, created in 1983 at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). For more information please visit the Comission's website at


The newly adopted Global Plan of Action refers to animal genetic resources of animals used for food and agriculture. In addition to the five major species (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens) the plan targets other species such as, horses, asses, ducks, buffaloes, yaks, camelids, rabbits, domestic geese and turkeys. Twenty-three strategic priorities identified in the plan cover characterization, inventory and monitoring of trends and risks; sustainable use and development; conservation; and policies, institutions, and capacity building.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    Minister Ritz's Office
    Todd MacKay