- Series: Yale Agrarian Studies Series
- Hardcover: 592 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press; 1st ed. edition (December 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300088809
- ISBN-13: 978-0300088809
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.2 x 11.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,783,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Encyclopedia of Historic and Endangered Livestock and Poultry Breeds 1st ed. Edition
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From Library Journal
Why save the old, endangered breeds of livestock and poultry? Most would agree that maintaining genetic diversity is crucial, but there are other reasons as well. A librarian and researcher who raises rare Dominique and Delaware chickens, Dohner makes her case in this unique new reference. The encyclopedia discusses the merits of breed conservation and profiles nearly 200 individual breeds of livestock (goats, sheep, swine, cattle, horses, and other equines) and poultry (chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese). The specific breeds chosen are based on national priority lists, the historic importance of the breed, or its conservation success. The breed profiles are preceded by detailed sections on the natural history, domestication, and husbandry of that livestock species. The profiles are not arranged alphabetically but in historical and geographical context within the chapters on general animal groups (cows, swine, etc.), so it is necessary to use the index for quick lookups of particular breeds. Dohner has researched her subject thoroughly, drawing from a wide variety of published resources as well as her contacts with breed organizations in the United States, Canada, and Britain. She excels at drawing out relevant and interesting breed histories, physical descriptions, and, if known, a breed's current status (vulnerable, rare, critical, etc.). There are approximately 250 illustrations, including a 32-page section of color plates. While historic breeds like the Texas Longhorn, Clydesdale, and Rhode Island Red are immediately recognizable, many more are not. How many readers have seen or even heard of the Clun Forest sheep, American Cream draft horse, Dutch Belted cow, or Silver Appleyard duck? This encyclopedia may be a little pricey for libraries on modest budgets but should be well worth the money based on likely interest and use. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. William H.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"A valuable contribution to the argument that rare breeds of farm animals are as important to preserve as wild species." -- Lyle G. McNeal, founding director, Navajo Sheep Project
[A]n exhaustively researched resource A comprehensive work, it supplies information not in other sources or in one volume. -- Choice
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Each group of animals is introduced by extensive chapters on natural history, domestication and husbandry. More detailed presentations of the various breeds follow. Some are well known, such as Lipizzan horses or Przewalski horses. Others are down right weird, such as Fainting Goats and four-horned sheep! A few Swedish breeds are also included, but unfortunately the funny-looking Blue and Yellow Ducks aren't illustrated.
The book contains colour photographs of most described breeds. One problem is that most of the photos are very small. There are also photos in black and white. Further, the work contains drawings of unusual farm animals, some of them taken from old books and newspapers. While the encyclopaedia does contain a bibliography, there are no footnotes to the actual articles. Thus, it cannot be considered fully referenced. Still, it does give the impression of being well researched. The author, Janet Vorwald Dohner, is both a librarian and (surprise) a breeder of rare domestic animals!
The purpose of the encyclopaedia is ideological. Dohner believes that humanity should save rare domestic breeds of various animals from extinction. One reason is preserving genetic diversity. Cultural or purely aesthetic reasons are also considered. But at bottom, Dohner believes that humans aren't really the masters of the animal world, but only their stewards. Only a few animal species can be fully domesticated. From an evolutionary viewpoint, these animals "choose" us, as much as we "choose" them. The horse "choose" to become a partner of humanity. The zebra didn't. (Attempts to domesticate zebras have failed.) From a moral viewpoint, we owe something even to domesticated animals. It's an interesting thought, and it's obvious that this is the real reason behind this exceptional book.
Finally, we know what Old MacDonald really had on his farm!
For many, the homestead and the dominickers are gone now, just like the items the Smithsonian that were once part of every day life. But for some, like the author, "dominickers" and other historic livestock are still a part of life on the farm.
Perhaps that is why Jan Dohner has been able to write a very readable book, giving the reader the profiles and histories of over 200 breeds of poultry and other livestock (goats, sheep, swine, cattle, horses, other equines)and even accounts of their original domestication along with their current status. The illustrations only add to the text.
If you are interested in agriculture or farmsteading, if you have been thinking about becoming involved in small farm livestock, poultry raising, or rare breeds conservation, I recommend this book. Or if you are interested in these endeavors and cannot find the book in your local library, ask your librarian "Why not?" Maybe the local library needs a donation!