USPS celebrates heritage breeds with new stamps
A colorful assortment of heritage livestock breeds are the latest American symbols to be immortalized on U.S. Postal Service stamps.
The Heritage Breeds Forever stamps, which highlight 10 rare animals, “pay tribute to heritage breeds, pre-industrial farm animals that are enjoying renewed attention for their versatility, adaptability and unique genetic traits.”
The collection includes photographs of the American Cream draft horse, American Mammoth Jackstock donkey, Barbados Blackbelly sheep, Cayuga duck, Cotton Patch goose, Milking Devon cow, Mulefoot hog, Narragansett turkey, San Clemente Island goat and Wyandotte chicken.
A dedication event—coinciding with the stamp set’s release date—was held at Mount Vernon on May 17. George Washington’s famed residence is still home to American Mammoth Jackstocks and Milking Devons, breeds that were raised by the first president.
“Mount Vernon is a place where we invite visitors on a daily basis to come out and learn more about these animals, to learn more about these heritage breeds and how they helped build the nation into what it is today,” said Matt Briney, vice president of media and communications for Mount Vernon.
“It’s great to remember what happened in the past, and I think that is what’s really great about the heritage breed stamps.”
Briney said he hoped the stamps would encourage the public to learn more about heritage livestock breeds and the farmers who are conserving them. According to The Livestock Conservancy, six of the 10 breeds commemorated in the collection are critically endangered species, with U.S. populations of less than 200.
Steve Hart, who raises Milking Devons, Mulefoots, Narragansetts and several other heritage breeds at Hart Burn Farm near Lexington, noted any exposure generated by the stamps would be beneficial for the breeds.
“Publicity is absolutely important for their conservation, so it’s neat to see USPS recognize the value of all these animals,” Hart said.
“The real importance of these breeds is that they have a certain set of genetics, and once those are lost, they’re never coming back. And, as climates and certain environments change on Earth, we may need the genetics that only these animals have.”