Loss of Lamb

Today’s post is a sad one: 500,000 lambs will be killed in Scotland and Wales with none of the animals being used as food. Sending lambs to the slaughter is sad enough when it’s done to feed people. When it’s done for no real reason…

From what I understand, foot and mouth regulations prevent much movement of flocks. Many lambs got stuck in the hills where ewes need to spend the winter. There isn’t enough grass for both the lambs and the ewes, so authorities will protect ewes from starvation by killing lambs. We had to kill lambs to protect future lambs. Sounds like Vietnam War logic, but it makes more sense than ‘destroying a village to protect it.’

photo by vertigogen (via flickr)The really frustrating part is that Scottish and Welsh authorities won’t use the meat of the euthanized lambs. The already low prices of lamb–the UK sheep industry is “on its knees”–would sink further with such a large influx of supply. Farmers aren’t happy, as their only recourse is to take the 15 per head from the government to watch their flock burn.

“The situation is not ideal. It’s such a waste,” said a spokeswoman for the National Farmers’ Union in Scotland.

Animal rights groups are furious at the waste of life and blamed government subsidies that have encouraged overstocking. Still, how about giving away the meat away from the market?

“We considered giving it to pensioners free for Christmas, or canning it, or sending it to Malawi or just freezing it. But all the options were illegal or would have distorted the market,” said Louise Welsh, a spokeswoman for Scottish Quality Meat, an industry-funded body.

A sad tale, indeed.

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