Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Shaggy Sheep Tale

As a Welsh woman I am always very interested in sheep stories even if they come from Australia. According to this Reuters report ugly lambs are usually culled - but now their genes are going to be studied before they are sent to the abbatoir. The ugly sheep will have genes that have gone wrong, and which will be easy to spot when compared to beautiful sheep. In this way the location of genes that are responsible for making beautiful wool will be found on the sheep's chromosomes - or 'flagged' as they say.

So eventually the perfectly-woolled super-sheep will be engineered. Not Dolly then, but something more sophisticated. A Dorinder, perhaps, or a Dorothea, treading carefully over the grasslands in her cat-walk fleece, not a morino fibre out of place.

7 Comments:

Anonymous crimeficreader said...

That's one cool sheep you have there Welshwoman Clare!

I do wonder, however, why we in society at large need to pursue the genetically engineered sheep. I have a scant understanding, I think, of why we may want to, but that's a much bigger argument/debate.

If in doubt or feeling all at sea, cuddling a fake stuffed sheep like this one might help!

I still have one from my "youth". It was bought for my 18th birthday, for which I had a fancy dress party to celebrate. I went as a farmer, dumped the handbag and carried the sheep!

Tue Aug 15, 09:43:00 pm  
Anonymous clare said...

Now I keep wondering what the rest of your fancy dress looked like.

But yes, it is a lovely little sheep, isn't it? I bought it for myself not so long ago. It doesn't have a sheep's eyes, though. Sheep's eyes are evil-looking. Their pupils go the wrong way.

Tue Aug 15, 11:08:00 pm  
Blogger Susan said...

I can't help but feel sorry for the poor ugly little lambs! The older I get the more I regret that humankind rules this planet.

Wed Aug 16, 12:24:00 am  
Blogger Anne S said...

Clare,

I haven't any sheep stories at all even if I am an Aussie.

As children, growing up in Australia in the 1950s we were fed lamb to the point of surfeit.

These days it's hard to find a decent chop and it is expensive to boot.

An old saying about Australia was that we rode on the sheep's back to prosperity.

However, after reading your post I feel very sorry for the ugly lambs. You'd think that lamb dressed as mutton - or vice versa -would be sufficient for their existence/ nonexistence.

Wed Aug 16, 02:52:00 am  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Did you know that in NZ sheep outnumber humans? And Aussies make cruel jokes about us and sheep ... I think Wallace and Gromit have the best sheep!

Wed Aug 16, 12:36:00 pm  
Anonymous clare said...

Anne: It seems incredible to me that lamb should be so expensive and poor - given that wool is so important to the Australian economy. I think if you are going to kill and animal you should use every part.

Susan: It is sad for the poor ugly lamb. I identify with the ugly - and I think a lot of people do - that's why the ugly duckling is so popular. Horrible to think that so many lambs have no chance to develop into sheep just because they are not quite up to scratch.

CB: The Welsh are often the brunt of sheep jokes too. In fact they tell them against themselves. I know one or two from when I taught in High School in Wales.

Wed Aug 16, 01:31:00 pm  
Blogger Anne S said...

Clare,

Yes, wool was once very important to the Australian economy but not so much now.

Lamb meat has always been one of the staples of the Australian diet, but there is a popular suspicion these days that all the best meat is exported.

One can still find good meat if one is prepared to pay the price.

Thu Aug 17, 03:57:00 am  

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