The Importance of Genetic Improvement and Selection
Without animal selection perhaps France would no longer be the “country of 300 cheeses”. Diversity in livestock and improvement in its performance are essential to maintain product diversity. What would happen to Salers cheese if the Salers (cows) were to disappear?
Improvement and selection in herds is also of great importance in the practices of farmers. The expertise, conceptions and practices of farmers are often rooted in the land and family history and cannot be as varied and as rich if the qualities, performance and cattle breeds were to be totally identical.
Selection, and its accompanying technologies, has also become very important for our environment itself and even for the maintenance of our mainland biotope. Thus by selecting cattle that produce less methane and by improving their natural disease resistance the environment is conserved.
As for nature and our country’s landscapes, the selection tool makes it possible to preserve 15 breeds with low or very low numbers.Conservation of semen and thus the particular characteristics of these animals ensure that they will still be here tomorrow in the natural areas which are not very propitious for production ... but where they are quite at home.
The eight breeds which are the subject of an official breeding scheme also increase in diversity, particularly due to the expansion of their genetic bases and the growing control over the preservation of their characteristics.