Dancing with Sheep

Valais Black Nose Sheep

This weekend Cambridge was a tug of war between May Balls (students cycling about in black tie and ballgowns en route to parties) and a farm fair. We went to the fair and saw a Kiwi shepherd and his dancing sheep. As his bemused sheepdog Misty looked on, the woolly flock mimicked the shepherd’s dance moves to Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder and a Scottish reel. We learned that their shaggy coats are a human invention (years of special breeding). They originally had a rough short coat (like a goat) and they molted annually. The wild woolly look (good for sweaters, scarves and lanolin for beauty products) means they have to be sheared or else they die from fly-strike (maggots in their fur) or, I guess, heat exhaustion. Elsewhere at the fair we learned  that honey bees are often forced to survive the winter on icing sugar and high fructose corn syrup; a junk food diet invented by greedy beekeepers so they can extract all the honey from the hive. No wonder the bees are dying..

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