The Rendena breed of cattle
protagonist in a parade through the streets of the city of Pinzolo
Saturday August 30th 2008
Three hundred years of history can tell us about the various events involving the expansion and reduction in numbers of a native breed that stood by the Rendenese man (and not only) through the War and post War years, often guaranteeing survival which was otherwise unthinkable.
"The Agricultural Almanac of 1892" states that the Rendena breed was at that time "taken to such a point to be able to compete with many esteemed European breeds", (they were bred in Lombardy and on the territory of the Three Venices and there were about 800 thousand of them) and, at that time, morphologic traits were already established, which meant that the Rendena breed could be considered a milk producer par excellence.
Today, numbers of the Rendena breed are very limited (There are approximately 3000 cows registered for the functional controls for the production of milk), so much so that it is considered a "Breed at risk of extinction" by the European Community, but the real danger, which occurred in the thirties and forties when there were decrees issued for the killing of native races, seems to have been overcome due to the will and commitment of the breeders that continued, despite the ban, to secretly breed the Rendena breed. In this manner, a valuable genetic resource was preserved, able to produce one of the best milks for cheese making and a meat that, proclaimed by the experts, seems to bring with its taste "that rustic character and typical spirit of the cattle of this breed and its breeders".
In order to appreciate this valuable breed of cattle, the Breeders Union of Val Rendena, in collaboration with the Cattle Breeder Company (SAB) from Pinzolo and the National Association of Cattle Breeders of the Rendena Breed (ANARE), has organised for some years now an event when the agriculture and tourism sectors meet in a synergy of shared interests. A week (From Monday August 25th to Saturday August 30th) to draw attention to and publicise a type of farming that has always been strongly committed to safeguarding the environment and promoting the territory. Defending this native breed, therefore, becomes the need to protect the typical nature of a mountain territory, with its specific nature, its beauty and its products: this means appreciating a breed of cattle particularly suited to mountain grazing and to the exploitation of the pastures, even the most difficult ones at the highest altitudes.
Today, almost all the Rendena cattle bred in Trentino, and more than 50% of those of the same breed bred in Veneto, spend the three summer months on the Alpine pastures of the Val Rendena and the Altopiano of Asiago, and it is unthinkable to argue that the cattle of the cosmopolitan breeds that specialise in milk and of which there are many more, can be of the same use in mountain pastures, in particular on the difficult ones that characterise our territories.
The parade on the streets of Pinzolo of the 150 heifers which came down from the pastures to participate in the elections of the "Queen" (absolutely the most desired title that adult cattle of the Rendena breed can wish for), therefore not only becomes a tourist attraction or a reminder of tradition, but a tangible testimony of the fundamental role that farming plays in the necessary choice of a development that is sustainable for man and the environment.