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Race to save rare breed of pig hinges on eating them

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WASHINGTON, Maine — A push is on to save one of the rarest domestic pig breeds in the country, and a Maine farmer is helping lead the charge by convincing consumers to eat them.

The American mulefoot hog was once the rarest of all U.S. livestock breeds, and they’re still listed as critically rare by the Livestock Conservancy. There are fewer than 500 registered, purebred, breeding mulefoots.

Susan Frank of Washington, Maine, accounts for about a dozen of the pigs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is giving her $50,000 to help increase interest in products made with mulefoot meat.

Frank says it may sound counterintuitive, but the way to save declining breeds of livestock is to get people to eat them, thereby increasing demand for them.

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