Sunday, November 27, 2022

Cutest sheep in the world on Australian shores

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Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Media Release, 29 October 2021

Valais Blacknose sheep, known to be the cutest sheep in the world, have been born for the first time in Australia following the successful importation of embryos and semen from the United Kingdom (UK).

Valais Blacknose sheep
Photo: Belinda Cardinal

Head of Biosecurity Andrew Tongue said this was not only the first time the breed had been born in Australia but the first time the breed had reached Australian shores. 

“The Valais Blacknose Sheep originated in the Swiss Alps, where for centuries it was used for meat and wool,” Mr Tongue said

“More recently, the animals’ adorable looks and gentle temperaments have made them popular around the globe and many families are keeping them purely as pets.

Valais Blacknose ram
Valais Blacknose ram. Photo: Belinda Cardinal

“The breed has now spread to Europe, the UK, and the US, and this year the first Valais reached Australia.

“Farmers and pet lovers have been interested in getting the Valais Blacknose breed into Australia for many years, but an Australian importer, Caprotek, finally succeeded following a request to the department to import embryos and semen from this breed.

“The department liaised with the importer to ensure the genetic material met all of Australia’s strict biosecurity requirements.

Valais Blacknose sheep. Photo: Michael Hentscke

“Sheep genetic material could potentially pose a risk of serious animal diseases such as scrapie, the ovine equivalent of Mad Cow disease.

“Following a long process over three years, complicated by Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, the frozen embryos and semen were approved by the department and were able to make their way to Australia.

“The importer was able to meet all biosecurity requirements to allow the import, and as you can see from the photos, the result was worth the effort!”

To find out more about more about Australia’s import conditions for animal reproductive material and embryos visit: www.awe.gov.au/biosecurity-trade/import/goods/live-animals/reproductive

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