The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has published "A Conservation Breeding Handbook" that describes livestock and poultry breeds as genetic resources and explains how individual breeders can help in their conservation.
Although the handbook was written primarily for people interested in rare breeds, it addresses subjects of interest to all animal breeders. Among these are developing a philosophy; the concept and practice of selection; a comparison of conservation and improvement breeding; and the uses of breeding systems, such as inbreeding, linebreeding and crossbreeding. The book discusses the considerations necessary in establishing a conservation herd or flock, from choice of species and breed through purchase of stock and participation in breed associations, registries and other networks.
"A Conservation Breeding Handbook" includes detailed breeding programs for the genetic management of herds or flocks as well as rescue protocols for critically rare populations. The programs described are based in the science of genetics but include management considerations which are essential to success.
While some experts claim that individual breeders cannot be trusted with genetic conservation, the handbook's authors, D. P. Sponenberg and C. J. Christman, maintain that individuals have always been stewards of rare breeds, and the involvment of many people is the only sure way to protect this wealth for the future. "A conservation Breeding Handbook" is designed to equip breeders--individually and in groups--for stewardship.