Farm animals in Britain are the focus of a genetic Noah's Ark strategy led by Defra to preserve different breeds.

The plan is to encourage farmers and stock keepers to maintain the diversity of breeds in the face of falling income and pressure to turn to a handful of commercially successful breeds.

Scientists in an independent steering committee will also draw up a list of those breeds at risk dying out, giving priority to endangered native breeds.

It recommends paying farmers to look after them through the rural development budget, and celebrating successful commercial use of rare animals.