Heirloom animals get their day in the sun with the May 17 release of Heritage Breeds, the Postal Service’s latest Forever stamps.
These preindustrial farm animals were common before the onset of factory farming, which hybridized livestock for maximum productivity.
This hybridization limited genetic diversity. The survival of heritage breeds — many of which need help raising or reinforcing their numbers — is crucial to maintaining biodiversity.
The 10 breeds depicted on the 20-stamp pane are the Mulefoot hog, the Wyandotte chicken, the Milking Devon cow, the Narragansett turkey, the American Mammoth Jackstock donkey, the Cotton Patch goose, the San Clemente Island goat, the American Cream draft horse, the Cayuga duck and the Barbados Blackbelly sheep.
Zack Bryant designed the stamps based on portraits by acclaimed farm photographer Aliza Eliazarov. Greg Breeding served as art director.
The stamps are available at Post Offices and usps.com.