Monday, July 27, 2009

Has Anyone Lost Fifteen Sheep?

This is going to be one of my stranger blogposts. Yesterday evening someone came to our door and said: "Did you know 15 sheep have just walked into your field?" And sure enough, there they were. Fifteen woolly beasts. And twenty four hours later we have still been unable to work out where they came from and who they belong to. We've locked them into the field, and given them water. We've reported it to the Police (I don't want to be known as a sheep rustler, or indeed a sheep anything else!) but frankly, what can they do? No one has reported them missing.

So the point of this post is to ask this. Does anyone know of any missing sheep in the Pembury area of Tunbridge Wells? I've asked stranger things before on this blog and got an answer!

The thing is, what if no one claims them? What do we do then? Roast them?

90 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nothing like giving a sheep a good roasting - phnaaar!

Bunny Smedley said...

Isn't your local MP my old friend the excellent Greg Clark? I think you should contact him about these sheep. Not least, the surreal nature of this dilemma ought to appeal to him.

Other than that - woolly jumpers all round?

wonderfulforhisage said...

Welsh asylum seekers?

FonyBlair said...

Vote Conservative or the sheep get it!!?

dearieme said...

We'd sometimes get cattle in our garden when I was a boy. We'd wait and blokes from the slaughterhouse would turn up to reclaim them. At least, they'd say that they were theirs.

Anonymous said...

Give them to Brown next time he's short of cabinet members?

matthew.oliver said...

Does anyone else think they would make a good Labour Cabinet?

Anonymous said...

Surely you can phone your local adjoining farms and find out ?? They must be in the phone book ??

Or maybe ask the postman if he knows anything - he must visit the local farms.

Pam Nash said...

They probably originated in Wales, then were dumped after some Welsh person had his wicked..........sorry, forgot where I was for a moment :)

The local NFU branch would be your best bet of finding their owner.

Donal Blaney said...

What are you bleating on about?

startledcod said...

Iain.

You say that you don't want to be known as a sheep rustler or a sheep anything else and then shortly thereafter suggest roasting them. Make your mind up man!

Anonymous said...

Oops.. I've just realised that maybe someone is setting you up for a bit of a 'Candid Camera' style stunt for the silly season of 'slow news days' which lie ahead..

The editor probably thought up the headline first, and now his journos have to try and construct the story..

e.g. Baa-rking mad Tory..

New West Ham First Team [and subs] announced..

John M Ward said...

If you do end up roasting them, don't spoon the juices over the younger ones, otherwise someone is certain to lamb-baste you for doing so…

forty degrees south said...

Mmmmm

Mint sauce?

DMC said...

Im shocked that You have a field!

Hmmm you could turn this to your advantage, start issuing posters saying- Vote Conservative, or the sheep gets it!

DMC said...

Sorry i know this is a stupid pun but here goes- You could give one to Norman LAMB!

Drum roll please!

Anonymous said...

I'll have one. We haven't been able to afford lamb for the family for over 10 years. We're sick of chicken. Sunday roast lamb, yorkshire puds, roast spuds & some nice veggies from the garden. Mmmm. I'd have to wait till it died of old age, though. I could't kill it myself.
If no one claims them, why not donate them to some of England's pensioners this winter?

Anonymous said...

How about dressing them up as lambs and then selling them to Labour for their election manifesto?

John Henry said...

you should try dipping one or two of them. Its all the rage in Ballymena.

Mark Fulford said...

At risk of taking this all too seriously...

The sheep should be tagged in both ears. The tag will have two numbers, the longest of which (probably in the format UK000000) is the flock number. The shorter is the sheep's number within the flock.

DEFRA and Animal Health will be able to identify the owner from the flock number.

If the sheep are untagged, the very naughty farmer ain't going to have a leg to stand on...

trevorsden said...

You own a field? Oh bugger someone beat me to it. BTW - presumably the fox had got it by now.

Anon 9.26 -- Not quite, they are probably lost Labour backbenchers.

Witterings From Witney said...

Obviously a mixture of Con/Lab/Libdem voters who have got lost!

John Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

A sheep farmer writes: Have they got their tags in? If so, and you're feeling brave enough to catch one, it should have a "flock number" on it, begins typically beginning UKxxxx. Given sheep traceability rules that would be one way of finding the owner. Also, if they look over a year old - have they been sheared this year? If so someone will want them back! It costs good money to get them sheared. If all else fails at least you now have your passport to membership of the NFU.

[Old joke: what do you call a sheep tied to a Cardiff lamp-post? A Welsh leisure centre....]

Glyn H said...

If you cash half of them before the owner finds out you could be done for whatever those lottery ticket stealing folks got done for!

However as a sheep is worth 4/5ths of sod all but lamb chops come from Waitrose at about £5 for four (if I were still a farmer I would market my own produce) could you send them to the slaughterhouse, retain the original value for the owner (so as not to permanently deprive etc, in the legal terminology) and have a freezer full of useful meat plus 15 fleeces?

RJT said...

Roast lamb party for all your readers, Iain. Scrummy! I'll bring the mint sauce.

Johnny Norfolk said...

You could cros them with a Kangaroo and get some wooly jumpers.

John Henry said...

Apply for an EU agricultural grant

David Anthony said...

Obviously Gordon Brown is holding his latest roaming cabinet meeting in your back field.

Anonymous said...

At least they wandered into your field - I once had 3 sheep wander into my front garden in the middle of a residential area!

I also didn't know what to do, but eventually phoned the police (non emergency number) who came and guided them home on safety grounds - they weren't far from a very busy road (there was a field within easy walking distance, I just didn't know how to move 3 large sheep!).

Salmondnet said...

If unclaimed, make sure they are registered for postal votes.

Bill Quango MP said...

Go into the field and call out..

Harriet
Bob
Alistair
David
Jack
Alan
Hilary
Douglas
Ed
Andy
Shaun
Tessa
Jim
Yvette
Liam

If they come to you they are Gordon's.

Anonymous said...

I will hold you personally liable when the 15 sheep fart 2 tons of methane into the atmosphere and a polar bear and a penguin get warmish but don`t have to use a fan.

Alan Douglas said...

Lucky you drive Audi and not Skoda :

Q. What is the difference between a sheep and a Skoda ?

A. It is less embarrassing being seen getting out of the back of a sheep.

Alan Douglas

Sentient wv : syclos

Thatsnews said...

Check them out for tags and/or marks. Then call the police in the neighbouring area/s.

It's possible they might have been stolen out of your area and dumped.

CryBaby said...

If no-one claims them, they are all yours!

Anonymous said...

one thing comes to mind - SHEEP SHAGGING!

Banksy said...

33 posts and 3 of them Welsh sheepshagger jokes, and every one of them just blimmin' hilarious.

No, really. We've honestly never heard that one about a leisure centre ever before.

You should be writing for the telly, you should.

Why there aren't more Tories in power in Wales is really beyond me when you've got such wits on your side.

Anonymous said...

Here's a sauce recipe for barbecued mutton, it's an old one, just leave out the MSG, if you want:

1 gallon water
1 2/3 cup worcestershire
2 1/2 tablespoons black pepper
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon MSG
1 teaspoon Allspice
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon garlic
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 2/3 cup vinegar

Mix all ingredients. Bring to boil

Recipe from The Moonlight Bar-B-Q
http://www.moonlite.com/index.php?product-mutton

Anonymous said...

You could spray paint 'vote conservative' on them and sent them off to walk around the village in the election!

Anonymous said...

Hooray

can I join in with all these Welsh/sheep jokes.

There was this nigger, poofter, wog, wop, arsebandit and a sheep in a bar and...

No, didn't think it'd get through. Never mind eh, it's only a joke and it's only the Welsh.

Remember when that was said of niggers, poofters etc etc?

Anonymous said...

Call out "Gordon" and if one trots forward, he's Peter's.

Anonymous said...

Glyn H:

We're getting some good prices for lambs and hogs down here in Somerset. Reason being (they say in these parts) is that because the value of the £ vs Euro is so rubbish, they're being picked up by near-Continental buyers (Fr/NL/Be etc) and shipped over.

Iain, if no-one comes forward to claim them, then see if you can get a holding number from DEFRA, log them in, then ship them off to market.

Don't make pets of them though.

Hawkeye said...

I suggest that you take up Extreme Sheep Herding and try and out-do this lot

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDAM5lSPCwk

Brian E. said...

You are not allowed to kill them. Under EU rules this has to be done by an authorised abattoir.
Which is why I can't buy my meat straight from the farm like I used to (along with the occasional bit of venison)!

Bo Peep said...

They're mine!

Anonymous said...

Aside from the racist Welsh jibes, here, has no one thought of asking one or two local farmers? they are bound to know who owns the sheep.

No farmer i know of will want to lose sheep because the losses are expensive.

The Grim Reaper said...

EXCLUSIVE!

Coming soon - Farmer Dale's Diary. The daily blog of a political anorak, general media whore, radio presenter, Conservative Party supporting, sheep farmer and slightly Victor Meldrew-ish character Iain Dale.

Next week, a herd of cows comes along into the field, forcing Farmer Dale to conduct an interview with Jacqui Smith whilst one of his arms is up a cow's arse, leading up to a hilarous caption competition on his blog. Ooh arr!

A. Sheep said...

If it's any consolation Iain, we have absolutely no idea how we got here either! Please don't eat us - there's a pig farm down the road. Eat those instead. ;-)

disillusioned Dale blog reader said...

Apparently Geoffrey Howe can help....

BaaBaaBlacksheep said...

Field Iain?

Time to dig that moat!

Major Plonquer said...

I'd suggest you consult your local MP - who will probably explain that you should wait until AFTER they've laid their eggs before you roast them.

MPs know a lot about country matters.

Alan Douglas said...

Suggest to Cameron that they would make ideal Conservative PPCs. They are all female - brownie points, and they would all mindlessly follow their leader, so make excellent lobby fodder.

Oh, it was Blair who did that Blair Babes thing, sorry. See where that led, one of them became home secretary !

Alan Douglas

strapworld said...

Whats next ? Bacon's show, Sheep....?

mutton for the few said...

advertise you blog on their side!

someday said...

Probably local conservative voters.

Zuagroasta said...

Perhaps they are all Dolly (Draper) clones............

Russell said...

Just leave them be and bring in a couple of tups. In a couple of years you'll have hundreds. Not long and you'll be able to give up work and enjoy being a gentleman farmer. In fact you'll end up nearly as rich as John Selwyn Gummer.

Official ALF spokeperson said...

Comrade, these oppressed sheep were liberated by us - Animal Liberation Force (Tonbridge and Malling Branch)- from a life of exploitation and servitude at the hands of running-dog capitalist farmers; your re-imprisonment of them is an Ovine crime.

As soon as we've taught the freed Beagles to shun mankind and stop raiding tobacconists shops we'll be back to free them again.

Kevin Splargs
Chair
(Tonbridge and Malling)

Russell said...

Off topic: So what do Alan Duncan, Harriet Harman and Nick Harvey get up to in secret?

We call em Bennys said...

Easy Iain.

Its a group of "Falklands War Brides"
having a look around the countryside

Not a sheep said...

Let this be your template...

Anonymous said...

You are not allowed to kill them. Under EU rules this has to be done by an authorised abattoir.
Which is why I can't buy my meat straight from the farm like I used to (along with the occasional bit of venison)!


I think you'll find you can kill 'em, it's just that if you do you can't sell the meat. It's alright to eat it yourself though. As for how, a bullet in the head from a .303 would count as humane as far as the law is concerned... got any mates who go deer shooting Iain?

Anonymous said...

Baa. Humbug. They are voters looking for a leader.

Anonymous said...

Our local vet's office has always been cheerfully helpful in finding sheep owners.

Roger Thornhill said...

"Do you ave a leesance for zees sheep?"

"They're not my sheep..."


Maybe the Sheep are sovereign and not owned by anyone.

Maybe they are a bunch of Militant Lesbian sheep camping out in protest at the leg of lamb you had the other week.

Anonymous said...

Just for the Taffies here's another joke. A variant was printed in the New Statesman so this one is obviously acceptable to the humourless lefties.



An Englishman goes into a Welsh pub, and while he's waiting at the bar gets talking to one of the locals. [You can tell it's a joke, the pub hasn't gone silent as soon as he stepped through the door. He still hasn't been served at the bar though...]

The Welshman says, "Here in Wales, right, we call eachother nicknames by what we do, see? Now, you look out of that window... Do you see that bridge over by there?"
"Yes," The Englishman replies.
"Well I built that," Says the Welshman, "But do they call me Dai The Bridge Builder? No they don't. Now... you see next to the bridge there's a church?"
"I can see it," Says the Englishman.
"Well I did the roof on that church, right, but do they call me Dai The Roofer? No they don't. Now if you'll just come over by here to the window, see, and look over there you can see that field. Now in that field there's a helicopter. I fly the air ambulance round here, right, for when people do get stuck on the mountain. But do they call me Dai The Pilot? No they don't. But you shag ONE sheep..."

Cynic said...

Ah you have fallen for the wiley sheep free grazing scam. After about a week a farmer will turn up to reclaim them

Choir Mistress said...

Right altogether now..

"All We Like Sheep...Have Gone Astray...." etc. etc.

haddock said...

nothing about sheep on "Future Countryside" other than the climate change tosh then ?
but seriously, why not ask Nick Herbert ? as DEFRA Spokesman he would know....wouldn't he ? I mean he's been given responsibility for woolly creatures as well as conservative woolly thinking.

Anonymous said...

Q: How does a farmer find his sheep in long grass?

A: Irresistible!

Ithankyou

Victor, NW Kent said...

They are mine. I was told that if I left them alone they would come home dragging their tails behind them.

Please leave them alone.

Miss Peep

Anonymous said...

baaaaaaaaaaaa leeks!

Turkeybellyboy said...

Perhaps they have been rustled and dropped with you for collection at another time?

Anonymous said...

If you're anywhere near Kent College, Pembury then they might well be from the guy with the big gothic house in Half Moon Lane. We used to live near there and were always getting his sheep in our garden!

Good luck

Jeannette

Stronghold Barricades said...

Telegraph has more on expenses

Are the sheep just extra "flocking"?

Strine said...

As an antidote to the Welsh - Sheep humour which many find offensive, I offer the following.

An Australian and a Welshman were walking along a country lane when they spotted a sheep with it's head caught between two strands of wire fence. Without hesitation, the Australian takes advantage of the situation and subjects the sheep to an unnatural sexual act.

Seeing the look of astonishment on the Welshman's face he asks "D'you want a go, mate?"

The Welshman shrugs, drops his strides and fastens his head between the wires ...

Weygand said...

Are you sure that there are only 15 and that that just wasn't the point you nodded off?

Unsworth said...

You sure they're not Labour back-benchers?

DespairingLiberal said...

Typical Tory - stealing sheep from poor little farmers to save you buying a lawnmower. Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

Round these parts 'tis usual to phone the BBC county radio to report 'found' livestock. Of course you have the problem of checking that whoever claims them is the real owner....

I'm not a lawyer, but IIRC, you are allowed to charge for costs* (providing grazing, fodder etc.) So if they are not legitimately claimed when the cost of looking after them reaches their value you can sell them and use the cash for compensation.

I presume their un-tagged? This is legal as long as they are under nine months and intended for slaughter in the UK. Round here lamb is currently selling at £1.50/kg. (The price has gone up this year due to an increase in exports after the devaluation of the pound).

Also, this is the time of year for 'strike', when flies lay eggs in the wool of sheep which hatch into maggots and begin to eat the sheep.
Lambs are very prone to it. So I would look at them quietly from a distance everyday to see if (1) any are wagging their tails alot when not going to the toilet (2) bitting their sides. If one is I'd catch it straight away for a close look. Strike gets it's name from the quick way it kills.

If it looks like your going to be hanging onto them for a while it might be wise to notify your local trading standards of your situation. Their the people who check-up that sheep keepers have the right paperwork so, in theory at least, could get cross if they find your keeping sheep without any. I hear they are understanding in situations like yours, but it's better to go to them rather than have them 'catch' you.

* For short stays most folks are neighborly enough not to bother.

Anonymous said...

Bloody Welsh squatters.........

Anonymous said...

Hi. I understand that the sheep come from a field at the bottom of Romford Road and Foxhole Lane they have been in most of the gardens in Romford Road this week. If I can find out more informsation I will let you know.

Hamish said...

Bill Quango, LOL.

Major Plonquer, Likewise.

I suspect that country gentleman Iain is going to try to milk them.

If he can claim possession, he is entirely entitled to slaughter them himself for his own consumption.
Somehow, I don't see him doing that.

DespairingLiberal said...

Anon 12:39. Crikey. There sure is a lot involved in keeping livestock these days. It's enough to make a Tory blogger develop a tic.

Will Iain need to register as an abbatoir, assuming he needs to slaughter?

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of a quotation (although can't remember who said it!)

"Whenever I'm in a restaurant I always order the Welsh lamb, in the hope that one day I'll get to the woolly bastard who keeps knocking my bin over!"

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Little Bo Peep will turn up on your doorstep very soon. She looked somewhat concerned when she asked me the directions.

Neopeitha said...

Remember that the The Welfare of Animals (Transport)Order (2006) requires an Animal Transport Certificate to accompany animals being transported...

And once moved, you'll also need to complete an Animal Movement Licence under the Sheep and Goats
(Records, Identification and Movement) Order 2007...

Anonymous said...

@DespairingLiberal

"Will Iain need to register as an abbatoir, assuming he needs to slaughter?"

If Iain wants to slaughter sheep for his own consumption only he wouldn't need to register as an abattoir. He would still need to dispatch them humanely. Strictly speaking he would also needed to dispose of any by-products (e.g. head and intestines) via an approved animal by-product company.*

In theory he would need to keep a record of where and when they came (in this case 'found' with police ref no) plus date and place of slaughter.

If the sheep were treated with any medicine while in his care he would need to record; date, dosage, batch no., date and place of purchase plus receipts. Along with any unused medicine (or a disposal receipt from an suitable animal pharmacy). This record would need to be kept for five years. Even if he didn't treat them he would be expected to demonstrate an appropriate log in which to record such information.

He would need to keep the first record for at least three years, the second for five and have both available to inspection by trading standards at 24 hours notice.

I assume he already has a CPH number from DEFRA for his other farming activities. Technically he should also register (and de-register) as a sheep keeper and submit a self-declaration of sheep numbers**.

* a.k.a. knackers yard
**Trading standards usually advise you not to bother if your just minding found ones for a few days. If you started eating them they might change their tune though.

@Neopeitha

"Remember that the The Welfare of Animals (Transport)Order (2006) requires an Animal Transport Certificate to accompany animals being transported"

Not for journies less than 65km, as long as the trailer conforms to the relevant regs.

"Animal Movement Licence under the Sheep and Goats(Records, Identification and Movement) Order 2007"

True, but if Iain was to kill 'n' eat them himself then no movement would have taken place. ;)

(I am not a lawyer.)

BTW, Iain, I'm glad they've been claimed.

DespairingLiberal said...

Anon 6:33. Classic. The government bureacracy just grows and grows. Amazed that anyone stays farming at all.

Did you try making some ewes milk cheese Iain?