Lepinlehmät tallustelevat koti laidunta

3MC – Nordic Mountain Cattle

Contact: mervi.honkatukia@nordgen.org


Project active: 1 November 2019 – 30 September 2022

Cattle breeds that have evolved in the harsh conditions of the Northern parts of the Nordic countries bear unique traits that have developed over centuries. Keeping Mountain cattle has a profound connection to our shared cultural history that needs to be documented and made public for future generations.

“3MC – Nordic Mountain Cattle” is a cross-disciplinary project that makes sure that history and stories surrounding Mountain cattle are examined, acquired, preserved, communicated and made public. The knowledge that is acquired will help us understand the cultural history of the cattle breeds, and in that way make sense of the world today. Through understanding the history of the breed as well as the profound human-animal connection, we can raise awareness and establish collaborations to find new ways to utilize the unique traits of the Nordic Mountain Cattle – and thereby save them for the future.

Exhibition at The Museum of Torne Valley April 8 – August 21

Banner with an illustration of nordic mountain cattle and their names snöhvit flellblom and punakorva

The main characters in the exhibition are the three Nordic mountain cattle breeds. The exhibition is produced in cooperation with the 3MC project, led by NordGen, and the Museum of the Torne valley.

The long common journey of man and cattle in the north is examined through historical turning points, the current situation and future prospects. The exhibition highlights, for example, the evacuation of Northern Finncattle to Sweden during the Lapland War. The evacuation was a significant rescue operation for the breed’s survival. The exhibition is held at the Museum of the Torne Valley until the 21st of August 2022.

Read about the exhibition

Joining Forces Across Disciplines

Two images symbolising cross disciplinary work. To the left a par of hands handling a DNA sample. To the right a detil from an old herd book

Combining several academic disciplines in this project will give the project a more nuanced picture of the history, culture and lineage of the mountain cattle.

“In this project, my observations become part of something bigger. By seeing things from several points of view, the information gathered reveals a richer and more detailed picture of our topic.” – Hilja Solala, researcher focusing on animal history at the University of Tampere and one of the participants in the 3MC project

The fields of study include:

    • Historical References​
    • Cultural Heritage Survey and network​
    • Kinships based on archaelogical finds and pedigrees ​
    • Game development​
Read about the collaboration

A Network is Taking Shape

Cattle in the field on a sunny day, resting their heads on another

The most important achievement during the first year of the project are the contacts that have been made with the livestock owners who do practical conservation work, as well as with other friends of the northern cattle breeds, who are actively promoting the tradition.

“People’s willingness to share their stories and participate in the project as volunteers is simply heartwarming”- NordGen Section Leader Mervi Honkatukia in an interview that can read here:

Go to the interview

Our network makes it easier for actors to meet, share information and work towards common goals. We welcome everyone to join our group on Facebook where we post in English and Nordic languages and discuss all matters related to Nordic Mountain Cattle.​

Mountain Cattle – the Game

3D aniomated image of a game application

The information gathered in the project is distributed through a game application. It will illustrate the consequences of mating selections for the coming generations made by the player: to be successful in the game, the genetic diversity of the animals has to be maintained.

The project is funded with a grant from Interreg Nord and Länsstyrelsen Norrbotten 2019-2022 and has 5 Nordic partners. NordGen is the coordinator for the project as well as responsible for investigating pedigree and population kinship, dissemination of results and implementation of applications. NordGen will also be responsible for establishing the network of preservers.

logos of 3MC project partners