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Genetically Engineered Lambs In Abthorpe

Author: John Riches Published: 31st March 2011 22:54

Some of the genetically engineered lambs in the fields around Abthorpe.Some of the genetically engineered lambs in the fields around Abthorpe.
Lambing  is almost finished for another year and here in the countryside our local sheep farmers have been rewarded for all their hard work.

The usual Friday evening crowd gathered in our village pub The New Inn to talk about the events of the week. Tucked away unobtrusively in one corner were many of our local farmers taking a break from the rigours of the lambing season.

Amongst them sat a tall, blond stranger who on investigation was revealed to be a Dutchman called Bor Schmit who has been working on some of our local farms during the week observing the results of a genetic engineering project pioneered by his organisation the Tessel Schaap Coöperatief Bedrijf.

Bor comes from the island of Texel – the largest of the Friesian Islands that string along the northern coast of the Netherlands. That island is famous for its sheep as, when they are crossed with a native breed, pass on valuable traits to their offspring.

Indeed there is a flock of pure bred Texel sheep very close to our village. Bor explained that sheep with white fleeces are not albinos and although most local lambs are born with white wool, a recessive gene ensures that some are born black. His company has been secretly working with recessive genes to produce sheep that have coloured fleeces and the results of this experiment can now be seen in a few secluded fields around Abthorpe where lambs with yellow, orange and blue wool are gambolling amongst their white mothers and black siblings. A villager jokingly asked Bor that if a yellow ewe and blue ram were mated, would their offspring have a green fleece? Bor gave a serious answer as apparently the technology is still in its infancy and only time will tell.

Before our landlord called time Bor had excused himself from the group of farmers as he wished to drive back to Texel overnight and intended to catch the first ferry of the day from the port of Den Helder back to his beloved island. As he stooped  under the low doorway of the pub out into the cold night air he added with a twinkle in his eye that he would be back next year to make sure that we’ve all looked after his pioneering yellow, blue and orange lambs.
En ja, ik skriuw Frysk; mar t’is net noflik soks te lêzen.

John Riches

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