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Old 1st Dec 2016, 13:20   #41 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by onetrack View Post
Does she know that sheep need to be shorn? If they aren't, they can die carrying around the massive weight of their fleece.
Is this because sheep have been selectively bred for their wool?
I read that long-fleeced sheep were brought into Britain by the Romans in 55BC.
When wool was a valuable commodity, most of the nearby town was built through the wealth of benefactors who made their fortunes dealing in wool - now totally extinct within the region.
The county within which I grew up and now live still has more sheep than people, but shearing fleeces is an expense. Wool (once sought for carpets as well as clothing) is now 'valueless'.
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Old 1st Dec 2016, 15:36   #42 (permalink)
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Just had a chat with our local butcher.
They keep a small stock of veal - frozen (by them) as there is insufficient demand to keep 'fresh' veal.
A very small part of their turnover - just kept for occasional customer demand.
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Old 1st Dec 2016, 16:11   #43 (permalink)
 
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My £5 note has a hole in it.

The Bank of England are looking in to it.
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Old 1st Dec 2016, 16:20   #44 (permalink)
 
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VP959,

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This bunch of nutters are trying to redefine the word "organic", from its true meaning of any compound or material that contains the element carbon, in any form, to a very narrow definition that they want to be free to change at whim.
I am a bit dubious about this definition, because strictly applying it means that steel in all its variants is organic. Likewise graphite, carbon fibre, marble and many other materials. A better definition would surely bring in aliphatic and aromatic carbon chains?

I loosely define organic foods as grown in sh*t, and non-organic as grown in a smaller selection of the same chemicals!

G-CPTN, I read that there is a growing demand for wool because it is essentially fireproof and is thus good for building insulation.
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Old 1st Dec 2016, 16:53   #45 (permalink)
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I have 'heard' that male dairy calves are 'surplus to requirement' - maybe they are exported rather than being raised in the UK?
No they are killed.

Re sheep - every farming programme seems to show sheep farmers bemoaning that the wool isn't worth shearing - sale figures of pence per fleece are quoted - less than the cost of shearing them. Either they are bullshitting (should that be ramshitting in this case?) or the so-called demand is the figment of reporters' imaginations to make a good story.

Nice definition Radeng!
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Old 1st Dec 2016, 18:07   #46 (permalink)
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Old 1st Dec 2016, 18:56   #47 (permalink)
 
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Re sheep - every farming programme seems to show sheep farmers bemoaning that the wool isn't worth shearing - sale figures of pence per fleece are quoted - less than the cost of shearing them.
Yup it's true.

There are, however other reasons why the sheep have to be sheared. Even in Scotland we have a season which, astronomically at least, approximates to summer. The fleeces have to be removed to avoid heat stress which would adversely affect the reproduction rate. A loss of a few tens of pence per fleece is actually profitable so long as the ewes go on to breed and raise good lambs. Same goes for the tups of course.

Shearing, BTW, is unbelievably hard work. Those guys can earn good money, but by Golly, they earn it the hard way.
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Old 1st Dec 2016, 20:40   #48 (permalink)
 
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On the plus side, we have progressed somewhat in how we deal with foreign relations. Putting a bit of tallow in the currency certainly beats greasing bullets with pig fat.

As for wool, if it allows sheep to survive on the fells in the depths of winter, it is good enough for me to wear every day.
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Old 2nd Dec 2016, 01:37   #49 (permalink)
 
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(sheep need to be shorn) Is this because sheep have been selectively bred for their wool?
G-CPTN - interesting question. Sheep are bred to improve their wool quality, particularly "staple" thickness and strength, which are crucial features of wool.
I'm not so sure that sheep have been bred to increase their rate of growth of wool - it's quality that matters more than weight when it comes to wool.

Wool characteristics and strength

There is still money to be made out of sheep if you can run enough of them. It's relatively-low-input-cost business, but labour-intensive and burdened by stock losses that often cannot be foreseen.

In many areas of Australia where sheep once ruled, broadacre cropping has taken over because it pays better, it is less labour-intensive, and the labour input is not required on a daily basis, but really only at seeding and harvest times (with an occasional spraying effort, if disease or pests appear).

However, back in the earlier eras - and for me specifically, in the 60's to 80's, when wool was still an important part of the W.A. wheatbelt area I lived and worked in - it was well-noted that woolgrowers were the ones with the fat bank accounts - not the grain-growers.

When canvassing for rural work for my business, if I spotted sheds full of new tractors and cropping machinery, it was pretty well guaranteed that the farmer had no money - he'd blown it all on machinery.

Yet, you'd find a wool-producing farmer who was driving around in an old beat-up vehicle, and no real signs of farm wealth - yet these blokes were the ones who would quite easily and comfortably write out a cheque for $10,000 or $20,000 worth of farm improvements by way of improved water harvesting and water supplies, without batting an eyelid (and that was serious money back in those years).

I'm always reminded of a lovely old farmer - Jimmy O - who only had a modest-size farm. He regularly gave me small/modest amounts of contract work, and never showed any real signs of wealth.
He drove around in a 20-yr-old Chrysler Royal utility (pick-up) that was out of date by anyones standards at the time.

But another farmer confided to me, the year that old Jimmy passed away at a ripe old age - "You know, old Jimmy was a bit of a tax-dodger back in the Wool Boom era of the early 1950's, don't you?"

Now, I knew this bloke was talking about the era when wool prices skyrocketed with the demand from the Korean War, and the Australian Govt introduced a special Wool Tax.
The unpopular Wool Tax involved an additional 20% of a farmers wool earnings (above normal tax rates) being sequestered as a forward payment against any future major gains on high wool prices.

Apparently, old Jimmy was quite dead set against this seemingly unfair and organised Govt robbery - so he indulged in substantial amounts of (unrecorded) cash sales from travelling wool buyers.

However, the Taxation Dept caught up with him - and how. He was presented with the then-staggering bill for that era, for the princely sum of AU£6823! ($13,646).
For relative comparison terms, a new Holden sedan cost AU£900 in 1952!
What hurt even more, was the Tax Dept added a hefty penalty component to the tax bill!

Everyone thought that was the end of Jimmy, he would have to declare bankruptcy. But no, Jimmy wasn't in the least bit fazed - as he quietly paid the tax bill, plus the penalty, without turning a hair!
I'll wager it barely made a dent in his bank account. It's not the first time I've heard of farm bank accounts containing staggering untouched sums in them, being discovered, after an old farmer died.
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Old 2nd Dec 2016, 07:40   #50 (permalink)
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farm bank accounts containing staggering untouched sums
At our local sale yard the accountant once told me that a big part of his job was writing new cheques for old ones. Apparently the "poor" farmers would get a cheque for some beasts that they had sold, and stick it behind the clock on the mantelpiece. Some time later, when they wanted some money, they would take the cheque out, only to find it was past its 6-month validity, and have to take it back to the auction office and get a new one made out.

The owners of the auction business always drove very nice cars...
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Old 2nd Dec 2016, 10:31   #51 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by G-CPTN View Post
Just had a chat with our local butcher.
They keep a small stock of veal - frozen (by them) as there is insufficient demand to keep 'fresh' veal.
A very small part of their turnover - just kept for occasional customer demand.
I can get calves liver from my local farm shop, as well as from a proper butcher (that is not one of the politically correct supermarkets); I can also buy it frozen from Lidl - and very good it is too, it compares well with the butcher's stuff.

Morrisons have recently started selling "Rose Veal" calves liver which comes from animals that have not been bled. This is also very good quality.

Why they don't sell other cuts, such as the veal "T" bone steak, which is truly excellent, I simply don't know.

I guess it's the PC, veggie and vegan lobby that prevents them from trying, and the adverse publicity from the old days of veal crates that has killed the mass market for calves meat.

Very different from continental Europe, where veggies are comparatively rare, and vegans almost unheard of. I think most parts of central Europe a vegan would suffer terminal malnutrition!
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Old 2nd Dec 2016, 11:05   #52 (permalink)
 
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I have a cousin who is a vegetarian, but not by choice. He was born with a severe allergy to Tropomyosins, i.e animal protein.

The poor bastard has never enjoyed a medium rare Rib Eye, Peking duck, Lobster mornay, braised lamb shanks, slow cooked bbq ribs, crispy bacon or even a Spanish omelette.

I've never felt more sorry for anyone in my entire life.
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Old 2nd Dec 2016, 11:57   #53 (permalink)
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I guess it's the adverse publicity from the old days of veal crates that has killed the mass market for calves meat.
Yes, that was what the butcher said.
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Old 2nd Dec 2016, 14:42   #54 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by G-CPTN View Post
Yes, that was what the butcher said.

Plus the English sentimentality about dear little baby animals.
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Old 2nd Dec 2016, 22:27   #55 (permalink)
 
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Oh, yes - I just love dear little baby animals.

They're exceptionally tasty.

In fact I can feel a lovely roast leg of lamb with roast spuds, carrots, sweet potato, roast beetroot, and onion, coming on.
Sorry, PETA adherents - but please enjoy your tasteless tofu, whilst wearing your shiny, slippery, synthetic textiles.
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Old 3rd Dec 2016, 02:58   #56 (permalink)
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Ooooh, Onetrack, you beast, have you no compassion for veg?
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Old 3rd Dec 2016, 03:21   #57 (permalink)
 
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The reality of our animal husbandry to provide you with an egg. Don't look if squeamish.

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Old 3rd Dec 2016, 07:58   #58 (permalink)
 
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Is it only the gay chicks who go to Grindr?

OK, hat, coat, door . . .
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Old 3rd Dec 2016, 08:08   #59 (permalink)
 
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Cambridge Rainbow vegetarian cafe refuses new £5 note - BBC News

Well:

a) Numerous countries including NZ, Australia and Scotland have had polymer banknotes for some time and we haven't heard a cheep (sorry) about their chemical makeup.

b) What is the Rainbow vegetarian cafe going to do when ALL our notes are polymer? Another one bites, Another one bites etc.

Last edited by Basil; 3rd Dec 2016 at 08:33.
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Old 3rd Dec 2016, 08:13   #60 (permalink)
 
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I'm still wondering what they all do for footwear, wallets, purses and belts?
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