Sunday, November 19, 2006

Why do Fairy Cows Have Red Ears? Follow the link in the Link Box to the Right for Jessica Hemmings' Unbiased Research


Be sure and take a look at the Hemmings' article! . . . . look for it in the link box to the right. I have a particular interest in one day seeing clarity and consistency and most of all accuracy in the presentation of the history of the British White breed. For much too long, too many people have looked the other way out of perhaps deference, or fear or distaste of confrontation. Upsetting the status quo in Britain that the Park Cattle Society attempts to preserve in regards to ancient horned White Park cattle -- a status quo maintained through rhetoric long disproved as false, seems a real no-no. Most anyone can do a good Google search and find out just how far back in history the polled bovines of the world are found via archeological records. And most anyone can look at a Chillingham White Park photo and realize those ugly horned beasts are the product of years of inbreeding.

Inbreeding begins to intensify recessive genes, whether in animals or man. The red points in British White cattle are a recessive gene, you can breed for it, or you can breed around it. Myself, I keep hoping to have a red pointed calf born on my ranch, I find them fascinating. Note in the old image above the presence of both a red point cow and a black point. Keep that in mind when you read the Hemmings article.

It's my opinion that the British White breed is 'British' only in the sense that it roamed the British Isles well before the character of Britain was changed through invasions of a motley assortment of cultures. It is thanks to the ancient Celtic culture of Britain (Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) that we find our much beloved cows magified and revered in old myths and laws.

As a British White breeder, know that you are caring for the single most immortalized breed of cattle in the world. And should the time ever come when there is a movement to simply call them White Cattle.....OBJECT, and do so mightily. If we are forced to grace them with yet another name to satisfy those Chillingham Park Cattle Society folk and other breeder associations who can't get happy, then let's think of a name that truly fits their heritage......

How about......Celtic White Park, or Celtic Whites, or British Parks, or .....Fairy Whites! I can't say I comprehend why their breed name of old was ever changed. Many breeds have both polled and horned varieties. I wonder at times what it is we simply aren't told about the decision back so long ago in the 40's that resulted in the breed name British White. To presume it's because other carefully selected breeds were brought in to assist in breeding up and thus preserving the polled White Park, is to realize a level of competitive strife existing in the 40's that was succumbed to by the polled White Park breeders of that generation. To presume that the horned White Park wasn't subjected to/assisted by the same machinations to preserve and increase their numbers is pure stupidity, and I wouldn't at all be surprised to learn that both polled and horned White Park cattle were in mixed herds in the early 20th century as well as in the thousands of years prior. Certainly, there was no distinction made of the small herd shipped to the USA prior to the onset of WWII that became the forebears of British White cattle today in the USA.

Further, despite that "wild" claim, one only has to look at the photos of horned White Park cattle in Britain today and see their gentle contentment.....so what gives? Why the BS from the Park Cattle folks that their is no genetic connection between the horned White Park and the British White? We have Jessica Hemmings to thank for laying their cited genetic testing to bed, permanently.

Is it only the Americans who delve into and analyze the rhetoric of the Park Cattle Society? Are we just terribly gauche? Won't let things just lye (or lie)? Or is there some critical bit of non-public information that is kept in the UK fold? I just don't know.

Regardless, we British White breeders in the USA and Australia are proud of our cattle, work hard to promote our cattle, and are sick and tired of seeing them referred to as those 'Whites' in misguided articles. In America we constantly have to correct and attempt to educate interested folks about our cattle. Countless times we have to say "No, they aren't Charolais?sp" crosses!" In my part of the USA, and in most others, Charolais cattle are considered white, and they are a very popular and dominant breed. To my eye they are quite a dirty white color, but that doesn't matter much. We have to think about the general public opinion, attitude, and education level.

Despite, or perhaps because of, this background and confusion, our cattle also provide to us and to the consumer, an excellent beef product. It is not without reason that the 'Sirloin' is said to have been deemed thus whilst a King dined on a loin of British White beef. I forget where I ran across that bit of information, and it could well be trivia, perhaps someone reading this can comment on that.

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