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Have Signet and MLC muscled
in on Breedplan?
(Filed 5 May 2003)
Land-Care previously carried an article by Brian
Sundstrom concerning the Australian based international beef genetic
evolution programme called Breedplan (1, click
to view). Last year Brian made an impressive presentation of
the programme to the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society at a meeting
held in Edinburgh on the 15th August. There were hopes that the
AA Cattle Society would adopt the plan and be one of the first to
do so within the UK (although some years behind a number of other
countries that are now regarded as increasingly significant competitors).
Breedplan has a major advantage over the present
EBV (Estimated Beef Value) system used in the UK under the control
of Signet and the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC). The Breedplan
system is geared to the production of meat according to the varying
tastes of the public, particularly in terms of marbling (intramuscular
fat). If beef from Aberdeen Angus, or indeed any, breed is going
to be marketed for its eating quality then genuine efforts must
be made to breed cattle accordingly. By contrast the EBV system
concentrates on getting the maximum quantity of meat, as well as
the distribution of fat in parts that are not too relevant to eating
quality. That is fine if you are happy with quantities of lean meat
of very variable eating quality. More rewarding markets want consistent
eating quality which is branded. To do that it is essential to apply
the appropriate science, wherever it can be found (2).
We must not delay longer in facilitating breeding
to meet the desires of the end market we are aiming at.
Sadly, delay in decision making is just what has
happened. It would appear that Signet/MLC have muscled in, and it
is soon to be decided whether the Aberdeen Angus breed have lost
their initiative. Land-Care understands that later this month the
decision will be taken as to whether or not Signet/MLC will have
been successful in getting themselves established as a controlling
body between Breedplan in Australia and the Aberdeen Angus Cattle
Society, and everyone else who might want to switch to Breedplan.
So another ray of hope is shaded. What a pity
that we could not have got rid of Signet/MLC in connection with
cattle breeding. We could really do without that extra unnecessary
layer of obstructive bureaucracy between the programme and the breeders.
Is no one, or no Cattle Society, allowed any initiative anymore?
My guess is that cattle breeders will end up paying
for the services of Breedplan and for a layer of middlemen who to
date have done little but obstruct the application of advances in
cattle breeding technology.
1. Sundstrom, Brian (2002). Breedplan
- Australian Based International Beef Cattle Genetic Evolution Programme.
(Filed 2002, www.land-care.org.uk,
click here to
2. Groom, Robert (2003). Letter
from America by Expatriate Scot AA Breeder.
(Filed 9 April 2003, www.land-care.org.uk,
here to view).