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Native Turkey Project

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust, in conjunction with Prof Philippe Wilson and Prof Emily Burton, of Nottingham Trent University’s poultry research unit, is conducting a research project to compare the meat quality and leg health of rare breeds of turkey, starting with Norfolk black, against commercial white turkeys.

The aim is to encourage more farmers to stock rare breeds, and not just because they are delicious, although the team will be investigating the flavour with tastings and protein studies next year. Making these breeds commercially viable means they will be more widely farmed, protecting the dwindling stocks.

This is important for the gene pool and the future of farming, says Prof Wilson, who sits on the farm animal genetic resources committee at Defra. “The genetic makeup of these native breeds is unique, and allows them to adapt.”

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