Crisis lays bloodlines to waste

By Jeremy Hunt

IRREPLACEABLE bloodlines built up by generations of stock breeders are being wiped out as pedigree flocks and herds fall victim to the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Last week pedigree beef producers from all breeds were stunned to hear of the slaughter of 740 Charolais and Limousin cattle in Jim Goldies world famous herds in Dumfriesshire.

He also lost his Texel flock and now another of the breeds most influential flocks is being slaughtered in the pre-emptive cull.

Nearly 80 pedigree Texel flocks have so far been slaughtered; only 10% of registered Texel flocks remain in Dumfries.

As the disease has spread across Cumbria it has claimed over 200 head in the Hartside Limousin herd of Johnny Thompson at Melmerby, near Penrith.

Several pedigree Holstein breeders from the county have also been hit including Holstein UK and Ireland chairman Mike Armstrongs Wolfa herd.

Some breeds with smaller numbers, such as the Galloway and Beef Shorthorn, cannot afford to lose any bloodlines.

There is a feeling of desolation in the Eden Valley in Cumbria where fields are stripped bare of livestock.

Top Blue-faced Leicester bloodlines from the outstanding Old Parks flock owned by the Raine family are among the losers.

Suffolk flocks have also suffered, with 11 flocks wiped out by mid-week. Now the Suffolk Sheep Society is calling for a derogation from MAFF for pedigree flocks.

“We must rid the UK of foot-and-mouth disease, but we are asking MAFF to recognise the special circumstances relating to pedigree sheep management. We are willing to have blood tests to show flocks are clear of the virus,” said society president Sandy Lee of Aberdeenshire.

Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks

Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage

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