Lonk sheep future is at risk

22 June 2001

Lonk sheep future is at risk

ALMOST the entire UK population of Lonk sheep – which numbers less than 10,000 in total – could be wiped out as foot-and-mouth sweeps through Lancashires Ribble Valley.

The Lonk Sheep Breeders Association says 95% of all Lonk sheep are now at risk as most flocks are owned by producers within a small geographical area of Lancashire which is now in the grip of F&M.

Breeder John Pickard from Blackburn, Lancashire, and chairman of the breeds association, believes the Lonk is now more endangered than the Herdwick.

"The Heritage Gene Bank reacted quickly and has managed to collect samples of germplasm from one of the top flocks. But the threat is still there. As the disease spreads we could face losing the Lonk altogether," says Mr Pickard.

&#8226 The Heritage Gene Bank is a charitable organisation set up by Prof. Diana Bowles at York University to preserve genetics. &#42

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