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As inbreeding has produced many of the must- vigorous, prolific and meritorious animals of which we have any record, it, would seem to be quite reasonable to assert that such a practice is not of necessity disastrous or even injurious. It is unquestionable, however, that inbreeding has resulted in the production of many weak, infertile and unprofitable animals. It would therefore seem to follow that the cause or causes for such widely divergent results must bo found in conditions other than mere identical or closely related blood lines.

If it is true that in mating animals "like produces like"—and in the final analysis it is true —then we may expect that the progeny of animals near of kin, possessing the same tendencies for both good and ill, will inherit these tendencies in an intensified degree. And therein lies both the benefit and danger of inbreeding.

The absolutely perfect animal in vigor, prolificacy and merit is very much the exception.

Tht defects are something patent, and in such cases if they are essentially disqualifying, it is easy to avoid their reproduction; but unfortunately there are no infallible criteria for determining latent or undeveloped defects, and in animal breeding there is abundant evidence that heredity reaches several genorations back of the immediate sire and dam. In other words, every animal has in itself the possibility of developing and perpetuating the bad as well as the good characteristics of its ancestry. Inbreeding will as surely intensify the bad as it will the good, and should be practised, if at all, only when there is reasonable assurance that the undesirable qualities are relatively few and unimportant and the desirable qualities more surely obtained in this way than by outcrossing. It. is, of course, impossible to answer our correspondent's specific inquiry as to whether he should breed his heifers to their sire, but. if this sire is in all essential respects superior to any other available bull, and has no disqualifying defects, we should not consider the mere kinship a sufficient reason for discarding him.

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Bibliographic details

THE INBREEDING PROBLEM, Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette, 20 September 1911

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THE INBREEDING PROBLEM Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette, 20 September 1911

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