save the chillingham wild cattle
Added: (Sat Apr 28 2001)
Pressbox (Press Release) -
Please, please save the Chillingham Wild Cattle. Foot and mouth is creeping all around them - and this herd must be saved, whether it has the disease or not. It is a National Heritage Herd and absolutely unique and must not be lost. Please help to campaign for this herd to be saved.
The Wild White Cattle of Chillingham
From an article by the Dowager Countess of Tankerville
Patron, Chillingham Wild Cattle Association, Ltd.
The Chillingham Wild Cattle are one of the original herds of emparked wild
cattle and still roam in their natural surroundings over about 300 acres
of Chillingham Park in Northumberland. They are not recorded in the White
Park Cattle Herdbook, but the two breeds share a common origin in the wild
cattle that populated Britain in ancient times. Many of the behavioural
traits described here can still be seen in the domesticated herds of White
Park Cattle that are managed extensively.
Though their origin is uncertain, the existing herd is thought to have been
at Chillingham for at least the past 700 years. Before that, it is probable
that they roamed the great forest which extended from the North Sea coast
to the Clyde estuary; and it is presumed that when, some time in the 13th
century, the King of England gave permission for Chillingham Castle to
be "castellated and crenolated" and for a park wall to be built, the herd
was corralled for purposes of food. The successful capture of a number
of wild cattle in those days would not only have eased the local food situation,
but would also have made it impossible for raiders to take such cattle
back with them across the border since, being wild and extremely fierce,
they could not have been driven like their domestic cousins.
As to their ancestors, the shape of the skull and the manner in which the
horns' grow out from it are similar to the Aurochs (bos primogenius) and
quite different from the
skull of the Roman importation (bos longifrons). It is thought by many therefore
that the Chillingham Wild Cattle are the direct descendants of the original
ox which roamed these islands before the dawn of history. How they came
to be white is another interesting matter for speculation. They invariably
breed true to type and have never been known to throw a coloured, or even
partly coloured, calf.
In recent years, it has been possible to obtain live blood samples from
several of the wild cattle just prior to their deaths. Dr. J. G. Hall of
the Edinburgh Animal Breeding Research Organisation has analysed these
samples from the genetic point of view and has found the blood grouping
to be unique amongst western European cattle. Their origin therefore still
remains a mystery.
Thank you so much to everyone out there.