Sheep. They’re fascinating animals. There are 23 million sheep in the UK. That’s a lot of sheep. Sheep are frequently described as ‘native to Britain’ or ‘UK native species’ by organisations which should know better, like national parks or by the BBC on Countryfile. Sheep are not native to Britain, they are natives of Mesopotamia.
There’s no, “They’ve been here since the 12th C”, or “…have been resident of the UK since Roman times”, which can disguise that they are an invasive species which have, and are still, destroying the UK’s natural world.
Sheep are kept in areas which have had their natural species destroyed and are generally farmed at a loss. As a taxpayer I pay the Government which pays wealthy landowners to keep their valuable land and pays them or their tenants to produce meat from subsidised sheep. It’s exactly the same as a feudal system of peasants (that’s me) paying landowners, with the only difference being the UK Government is the middleman, pimping me out to work to subsidise rich landowners.
Discussing my ideas about the destruction by sheep of many of our upland areas, a friend said, “I suppose it’s just land that wouldn’t be used for anything else.” That’s the perfect illustration of the problem. If land isn’t being ‘used’, it’s seen as useless. It’s just that it would actually be used by the rest of the natural world if we hadn’t destroyed it.
Wilderness is a necessary future.