Friday, April 15, 2011

One sheep, two sheep, red sheep, blue sheep

Always trying to go a step beyond, Quigley brings you sheep in colors other than the orange ones you may have seen in the weird news:

ORANGE: After losing 200 sheep to thieves, John Heard, owner of Hughslade Farm near Okehampton, Devon, England, dyed his 250 blackface ewes orange this month to deter any further rustling. "Sheep rustling has become a big problem with ewes worth around £140 each. My flock roams Dartmoor and I was getting mighty fed up with losing so many. My son James suggested the orange dye and although it produces some strange-looking sheep it has done the trick and I haven't lost one this year....Other farmers as well as a fair few ramblers have been shocked, but others have said they are now willing to try the idea if it works. At the moment it is doing exactly what I hoped it would and stopping the rustlers in their tracks."

RED: Scottish farmer Andrew Jack dyed his flock of 54 sheep red in 2011.* Because the animals could be seen from the M8 near Livingstone, West Lothian, the colors were meant to be "a bit of fun to brighten things up” and cause people to smile on their way to and from work.

BLUE: Scottish farmer Andrew Jack spray-painted his sheep bright blue with animal-friendly paint to celebrate St. Andrew's Day in 2007 and 2008. "It's a very patriotic gesture. But it also reminds people how important sheep are to our agriculture," said Bob Carruth of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland.

PINK: American performer Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie outraged animal activists in 2007 when they dyed the sheep on their Wiltshire, England, farm pink, blue, yellow, and green for a photo shoot for Vogue Living in which the pop star was profiled. The RSPCA asked, "Why is it necessary and what are they trying to prove? It is an irresponsible publicity stunt. It sends out the wrong message about how to use animals."

YELLOW: British department store Selfridges dyed 15 sheep a “Selfridges yellow” using nontoxic vegetable dyes. The idea was to promote their brand and raise awareness for the shearing industry during London’s Wool Week 2010.

The editor of Sheep! magazine Nathan Griffith states that it is not harmful to dye sheep with the right products, and that many sheep farmers count and identify their herds by marking their fleeces.

*Note that either Andrew Jack dyes or paints his sheep regularly (see BLUE below) or the Orange regularly trots out the story when they need copy or a picture for the Quirky Photo Gallery.

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