Monday, January 11, 2010

The London Zoological Gardens - A White Park Cattle Breeding Experiment in the late 19th Century

The 1891 clipped article below mentions the wild and crazy white heifer captured and taken to the London Zoological Gardens in the third paragraph, the way the heifer was handled makes one wish PETA could go back in time and prosecute!  If I were to abuse one my heifers, you can bet the whole of the herd would gather up to see what the distress was about -- and you can bet I'd be watching my back. 
The next article is a very interesting read, and in conflict with the first one.  It indicates the first wild heifer was captured from the Chillingham herd, rather than the Assheton -Smith's herd;  obviously one of the writers is in error.  Odds are the correct story is the first one, and neither the referenced heifer or bull came from Chillingham.

Source: Grey River Argus, Volume XXX, Issue 7057, 29 April 1891, Page 4
Click the source link above for the original.  In this article from 1891, the first heifer captured and taken to the London Zoological  originated from the Chillingham herd, rather than the Vaynol herd mentioned in the article above.  Of great interest here is the stated plan of obtaining animals from all the various polled and horned herds, and allowing them to breed together in an attempt to have the result of that breeding be animals more closely resembling the original type. 

It is very clear that all the herds were considered ancient and closely related.  The Somerford, Blickling, and Cadzow herds were polled and horned in this period of time. Of course, nowadays, political and monied interest seek to claim that the polled variety is not in the least related to the horned variety -- which is utter nonsense. 

"All these survivals of wild life are profoundly interesting to zoologists, who are looking with great curiosity to the attempt now being made to perpetuate the wild white cattle of Britain at the Zoological Gardens.  A wild bull was presented from Lord Ferrers's herd at Chartley, near Uttoxeter, was presented to the gardens last summer, and a wild heifer from Lord Tankerville's herd at Chillingham has now been added."

"The Zoological Society will try to procure specimens from the other herds— Mr. Assheton-Smith's at Vaynol, the Duke of Hamilton's at Cadzow, Lady Lothian's at Blickling, and Sir Charles Shakerley's at Somerford, near Congleton. All these breeds have much in common, with small differentiating peculiarities, such as the colour of their "points"and the shape of their horns.'  Zoologists hope by crossing the various strains to arrive at the original type, which is older than English civilisation and from which all these species are derived."