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Melatonin used for intensive lambing

MagazineJuly 1996 (Vol. 7 Issue 4)Melatonin used for intensive lambing

I was particularly interested in your article about melatonin (see WDDTY vol 6 no 11)

I was particularly interested in your article about melatonin (see WDDTY vol 6 no 11). You may or may not know that this hormone is now being given to sheep to enable them to ovulate at any time of the year, and to produce "litters", as the governme

So now we have lambs born in the worst weather this year, in the snow in February. One of our local farms last year expected 15 quadruplets, 380 triplets, 1170 twins as well as 249 singles when sheep are designed to produce one lamb only at a time. This means the babies are taken away from their mother at once and fed artificially. It is estimated that now melatonin is being used to squeeze in three lambings in two years, yet the ewes are bred small to minimize food costs. Mortality is estimated at 10-15 per cent, so millions of lambs (4 million per year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture & Foods) die from starvation or malnutrition and hypothermia. It is the beginning of the intensive farming of sheep.

What will presumably concern you most is the effect on lambs, which people consume, and whether the melatonin is produced from cow's brains, thence to sheep, to lambs and to people. Is this another BSE? Marjorie Pooley, Ropley, Hants.....

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