We can save an animal breed simply through our everyday diet. If we continue to consume meat and animal products from factory farms, thousands of other existing breeds will no longer have a reason to exist.
You can choose different species and breeds. In Europe, mainly pork and chicken are consumed, in the United States beef and in the Far East fowl. If consumer demand always concentrates on the same types, it can only be met with intensive production. Varying choice means slackening pressure on given types of animals. When you buy meat from your butcher or directly from a farm, ask for information about the breed and, if possible, buy meat from local breeds.
Opt for local products and meat from consortia, associations and farms with strict rules about animal welfare and sold with clear information about traceability.
Read labels carefully. They can supply helpful information about the type of meat you are eating. The Slow Food Presidium narrative labels, for example, provide a lot of information about breed characteristics, where and how an animal was reared, what it ate and how it was butchered. If you haven’t got time to read all that, at least ask your butcher about the animal species you’re buying.
Consume less but higher quality meat. If you avoid meat from intensive livestock farms and choose meat produced according to high standards of animal welfare, you’ll already be doing a lot. And remember to eat more legumes and vegetables.