For 2017, the Paris International Agricultural Show has decided to showcase a rare breed of dairy cow which once nearly disappeared: the Bretonne Pie Noir. A great honour for France's smallest cow.
The Bretonne Pie Noir
Threatened with extinction, in the 1970s, the Bretonne Pie Noir was the focus of France's first nationwide breed conservation plan. This helped save and then boost numbers of this breed – a breed which has come to symbolise Brittany and its heritage. Numbers then increased from 500 to nearly 2000 – which are now reared by around fifty or so professional livestock farmers.
A cow used for its meat as well as the dairy farming, the breed is hardy and well-suited to Brittany's granite-rich soils. The Bretonne Pie Noir consumes relatively little (given how much milk it produces) and calves easily. Well-known for the high-quality milk that it produces which can be readily transformed into cheese, its meat is also highly appreciated.
Easily recognisable with its black and white coat, refined head, black mucous membranes, thin neck and white crescent-shaped horns with dark specks on them, the Bretonne Pie Noir is France's smallest cow, but is also one of the most productive and easiest to rear.
Cédric Briand, together with Fine, will be proud to talk to visitors about his enthusiasm for cattle-rearing in the aisles of the Paris International Agricultural Show between 25 February and 5 March.