21st November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Why not isles lamb? (Mary Macgregor)

, by , in Readers' Views

I write this, through your newspaper, as an open letter to the Shetland Islands Council:

Could the relevant person in your body please tell me, publicly in this column for all to see, why you do not buy Shetland lamb for your canteens (hospital, care centres, schools)?

Why do you buy your lamb from the mainland when there are thousands of lambs here on these islands?
Where is your support for the local market?

Mary Macgregor


  1. Johan Adamson

    Money, I would think, Mary

    • John Tulloch

      Money, Johan, I don’t understand?

      Is it not the case that thousands of lambs are shipped out of Shetland, every year? If lamb was so much cheaper on the Mainland that Shetland needs to import it for publicly-funded food provision then, surely, nobody would buy the lambs we ship south?

      The cost of shipping it two ways must, surely, be considerable?

      • Ali Inkster

        It would seem the SIC commitment to buy local only extends so far as ordering stuff fae sooth through a local wholesaler.

      • Robert Duncan

        That’s a bit simplistic, John. Shetland lamb is a premium quality product sold at the top end of the market. People pay more for top quality, but that can hardly be the primary concern when allocating school or hospital meals.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robert D., What factors determine whether a product is a “premium” one or not?

      • Robert Duncan

        I said premium quality, that’s hardly cryptic.

        You can’t really be surprised that Shetland lamb is considered a premium product? It’s rare you see it served in a restaurant where the menu doesn’t specifically state where it has come from, which certainly doesn’t stand for all places of origin.

    • Johan Adamson

      Public bodies have to buy from the cheapest, regardless of anything else. Maybe they have never asked at the marts how cheap it is?

  2. Robin Stevenson

    Hopefully, this may go a way towards an explanation Mary 🙂


  3. Richard Briggs

    The same applies to Shetland Milk. Even if it is not the cheapest option, it is easiest to order a range of products from a food service company. Often better value can be found sourcing from several of local producers.

  4. Michael Grant

    On what grounds do you have proof of this happening Mary?

  5. Haydn Gear

    Without wishing to get into a quality war of words, Welsh lamb is highly regarded and finds its way to many foreign countries especially the middle East. Though pretty good in its own way NZ lamb is cheaper here and it’s a bit galling to see fields and mountain sides full of sheep/lambs when we know we have to pay through the nose to eat our succulent home produce, As has been said already, it’s all down to money.The same holds true for milk where farmers get a raw deal.It can’t go on without there being serious repercussions for our farmers.Giant milk tankers roll in from Europe with CHEAP milk . Where does ours go? Any answers???

    • David Spence

      Haydn, I would suspect the Supermarkets have a big say in what the farmers get? I believe the Supermarkets control around 70% of the food market, and it is the Supermarkets which are, I believe again, giving the farmers a raw deal.

      In fact, I was watching a documentary on N/W Scotland dairy farmers, and for many of them it just was not worth it trying to produce milk. In short, the farmer was getting around 5p or less a pint, whilst the Supermarket was getting around 45p a pint…………..quite a difference.

      As for New Zealand Lamb, excluding the carbon footprint this would leave, I am surprised that such a meat is imported, due to the large demand (allegedly) and why it is that local lamb/mutton is not used more often? (is it a case, like many things in the UK, local producers are too greedy, even if you take into consideration the costs of importing NZ Lamb?)

      • Robert Duncan

        It’s not ‘greed’ to sell your premium product for premium prices. Shetland lamb would barely be economically viable if sold at the bottom end of the market.

  6. ian tinkler

    It is simply the quality of the product, availability, local demand and the costs. A bit like Mareel and Shetland Arts using so often using non local artists (well thats their excuse). Sad but just a matter of fact.

  7. Haydn Gear

    So here we are having a sensible, serious look at issues of real importance (Shetland agriculture) and IT has to sling in a snide reference to Mareel and Shetland Arts !! How pathetic.The one good thing that can be said in his favour is that he is a very well balanced man —–he has chips on both shoulders.

    • John Tulloch

      Then why not let it pass and continue “having a sensible, serious look at issues of real importance (Shetland agriculture)”, Haydn?

  8. iantinkler

    Nice of Haydn to notice and make his usual pleasant observations, no surprises there. It appears his talent was worth more outwith Shetland. So we lost him and any contribution he might make here! Seriously though, as I stated earlier, it is so very typical, importing, meat, fish, and talent into Shetland and ignoring the home grown product. Another really good reason to aim for as much autonomy as practicable, Crown Dependency, British Overseas Territory, or Full Independence are all choices Shetland could and should consider. Our own Slaughter Houses, meat and fish distribution centers , with protocols regarding purchase and supply of produce for hospitals, schools , institutions supermarkets and shops. The means is here, the produce is available, sadly the political will is another thing altogether.

    • Brian Smith

      How many signatures did Mr Hill’s latest petition secure?

      • John Tulloch

        Surprisingly few signatures, Brian.

        When you thnk about the number of people who dived into their pockets to raise £60,000 to fight a court battle against Alistair Carmichael for telling a “porky” of zero consequence to anyone – who are now being asked to fork out yet more – it seems amazing that only eighty-odd people can sign Stuart Hill’s petition to help to bring an end to a big lie, with major consequences for Shetlanders and Orcadians, which is being perpetuated by the very courts and system of justice in which Mr Carmichael’s case will be tried.

      • Brian Smith

        I can’t speak for the Carmichael foxhunters; but presumably the people who didn’t sign the petition think that it’s nonsense.

      • John Tuloch

        Presumably, so, Brian. However I’m at a loss as to why they should think it nonsense?

        Stuart Hill’s point that the court should be able to demonstrate its jurisdiction by offering proof of legal sovereignty appears to be completely valid and with the greatest respect for your own fine article, no proof has been offered. Rather the courts have deployed various legal and procedural devices in order to avoid confronting the issue in open court.

        Is it important? Ask the people who found St Ninian’s Isle Treasure and the Shetland Salmon Farmers, they’ll tell you.

        If Mr Hill had tried this same thing in the Western Isles, the court would, simply, have trotted out a copy of the Treaty of Perth, 1266, in which the Western Isles and the Isle of Man were ceded from Norway to Scotland.

        To my knowledge – and presumably, also, the court’s, as they haven’t produced it? – no such document exists for Shetland or Orkney.

        A huge lie is being perpetuated by the very courts and system of justice in which Mr Carmichael’s case, ironically, will be tried. People who think about it may well wish to sign Mr Hill’s petition at:

    • Johan Adamson

      I did not realise there were different categories of lies

  9. Haydn Gear

    What a pleasant relief to read well considered comments from David and Ian. Once again, I’ll set aside any tendency to resort to silly sarcasm. I feel sure that the supermarkets do have a stranglehold and with shareholders to please so “the love of money being at the root of all evil” appears to be a significant part of the ongoing problem. The German supermarkets Lidl and Aldi must be doing something right with their increasing market share, improved quality and happy customers.I’m not sure that they sell superior Shetland or Welsh lamb though !!

  10. ian tinkler

    Brian, how many have you ever secured? signatures or endorsements of any kind whatsoever. That is outside your dying union and obsolete socialist dogma?..


      Ian, Brian’s “endorsements” would be the sales of books which he has edited/written, either on his own or with others, and the numbers of people who have turned up to his talks. Those will both be significant, because folk recognise good scholarship when they see it.

      • ian tinkler

        Get real Robert Sim , I have thousands of people who turn up to see me. I would be an arrogant fool if I felt they were endorsing my views or recognising my good scholarship. Are you really saying everyone whom reads Brian’s books recognises good scholarship and endorses his views. It is utter jibber and idiocy to suggest that. I have read some of bits of Brian’s books and heard him speak, I endorse Brian’s views in no way whatsoever. Admire his scholarship, perhaps, but I am not qualified there , are you ?. As for Mr Hill , I do not agree with all he says, but the Law should at least listen and make a considered judgement, Brian has not done that nor have you Robert, like me, Robert, you are not qualified so to do.

      • ROBERT SIM

        I didn’t know you gave lectures, Ian. But what I am saying, if you read what I wrote carefully, is that everyone who reads Brian’s books must recognise good scholarship therein; but I am not saying that they necessarily agree with his conclusions. To use your colourful phrase, it is utter “jibber and idiocy” to suggest that I am.

  11. Robin Barclay

    I have no idea what the current situation is, but is there sufficient local slaughter capacity, and if there is who locally might tender to supply local lamb? Maybe nobody can supply or is interested in supply. Come to think of it, I can’t remember ever having lamb in a school dinner in Shetland (all through 13 years of school there) – maybe it isn’t on the menu. Do they actually buy any?

  12. Haydn Gear

    The overall size of the lamb industry in Shetland is unknown to me but I do know that the meat and the fleeces ara much sought after. I noticed that the sheep on Foula were distinct and unique in appearance.I’d always felt that fishing as well as fish farms were of greater importance than lamb. Maybe I’ve got that wrong.Obviously, oil and gas are important commodities too. Wales ( my patch) has lost coal, heavy industry and steel . Only yesterday Tata steel announced many redundancy at their Llanwern works, once the biggest steel strip mill in Europe.The blessed M Thatcher won SO many supporters in Wales !!!!! With about 3 million people and 10/12 million sheep and lambs of top quality it’s not surprising that our economy is so very dependant on foreigners who love mint sauce too !! Oil and gas may be found out in the Celtic Sea too, so I for one understand the problems of the Isles.

    • Martin Tregonning

      Unfortunately the sheep skins aren’t actually that sought after and most still get disposed of alongside the offal and other waste.

  13. David Spence

    ‘ sell your premium product for premium prices. ‘

    I am intrigued Robert, as John T. has already asked, what determines whether or not a product is premium, and thus enters the justification for paying ‘ over the odds ‘ for a product that is no more premium than any other lamb from anywhere else in the UK or the world. If anything, NZ Lamb should be the most expensive given the distance and the amount of transportation, paperwork etc etc which would be involved.

    Personally, like so-called ‘ organic foods ‘, it is just another means to increase the price above the norm, and to fool the customer into thinking they are getting a far superior product, when in reality it is no better than what is commonly sold.

    As said, when it comes to making money, increasing your profits, every dirty trick in the book is used to con, rip-off and deceive the customer to think they are getting something better than anybody else when they are not.

    • Robert Duncan

      See my reply above to Mr Tulloch. I’m perplexed that there is any confusion over this. Shetland lamb is a sought after product and considered by many chefs to be of superior quality. Are you and John truly surprised that the quality of a product can vary depending on where and how it is raised? You cannot really be serious?

      Shetland farmers, perhaps to compensate for relatively smaller stocks, are rearing a very high quality product which deservedly attains a higher price. If they weren’t managing to sell it you might have a point regarding the transit costs of NZ alternatives, but clearly some people are willing to pay the premium.

  14. Michael Grant

    Yet again the certain few have turned a debatable subject into a political arguement.You lot so need to get out more.

    • John Tulloch

      And your point regarding the Shetland lamb is…?

      Here’s one more from me:

      If Shetland was self-governing, there would be no doubt as to whether adequate production facilities existed, nor as to whether public bodies would use local produce.

    • David Spence

      May be so, Michael.

      It is the justification and questioning why it is that certain products are labelled ‘ premium ‘ to the norm, when in reality they are no different. One should question why one should pay a lot more for a so-called premium product to this of ‘ common standards ‘ of the same product. Especially, in the case of lamb, when there is little or no difference.

      As said previously, it is just another business ploy to gain higher profits and nothing else.

      If I sold you a bottle of water for £1.00, and then sold you the same bottle of water, with a different label and marked as premium, for £1.50 without telling you of the deception, would you be contented and satisfied as a customer?

  15. ian tinkler

    Michael Grant, for the benefit of those whom stay in, is not every political argument a debatable subject? and perhaps, every debatable subject may have behave political in nature, it certainly does here. Time you stayed in more, Michael, that way you may have something constructive to say!!

  16. Haydn Gear

    There are a number of issues surrounding lamb production and sales. For starters, some countries are heavily dependant on rearing and selling meat products. Some are not. Wales and New Zealand are major producers.China is the 2nd largest market for NZ beef and the largest for lamb.The USA is the largest market overall. Exchange rates work to NZ’s advantage which explains why it is still profitable to export worldwide and why we are left to struggle.If David Spence is still in doubt about the value of organic sheep rearing I suggest he Google’s “Organically fed sheep and cattle” and then read “Product Directory”. All is made clear. When I was doing A level English, I remember a poem called ” The war song of Dinas Vawr” by T L Peacock (1785-1866 ). It began”The mountain sheep are sweeter but the valley sheep are fatter, we therefore deemed it meeter to carry off the latter” They must have been Premium quality Welsh –and ,no, that’s not a political statement !!!

    • David Spence

      Lets just say I am skeptical of so-called organic produced foods………despite there being the ‘Soil Association ‘ to, allegedly, verify such products. The manipulation of such foods to be passed off as organic to this of organic (whatever defines what organic is. A more precise description would have to be given. ‘ They were brought up in a field eating grass ‘ does not convince me it is organic).

      I would also have to ask, why were such products not advertised years and years ago………Why have such products only appeared in the last 10 – 15 years? I suspect it is nothing to do with the product, more to do with making more money by duping the customer into believing they are getting something better.

      As well as this Haydn, why do meat products not mention what the animal was fed. Food pellets, steroids, food substitutes and even gm products as part of the fattening process in bringing the animal upto slaughter standard?

      As said before Haydn, when it comes to business, business will use every trick under the sun to produce the product as cheaply as possible (soon it will be the pharmaceutical which will determine how animal food products are produced) but selling it for the maximum of profit……….even if it means fabricating what the product is and what it can do (the vanity industry being a classic of this method).

      • Duncan Simpson

        More anti-capitalist ramblings again David?

        These products were not marketed years and years ago as people were much less environmentally conscious in the past. Common sense dictates that using more labour intensive, traditional methods of farming is more costly than the non-organic heavily industrialised version. Therefore the products are sold at a higher price, if it costs more to produce it costs more to buy.

        You may have a point about meat products not stating what the animal was fed but a condition of getting “organic” status is that the animal can’t be given GM food, hormones or regular antibiotics.

        What exactly is your proposed alternative?

  17. Michael Garriock

    This is a non-debate, if there ever was one.

    The answer to the OP’s question is largely quite simple, and the biggest culprit by far is our climate/weather.

    It is only possible to produce lamb to killing size/condition for a month or two in late summer/early autumn, later in the autumn and during the winter the weather and short daylight is such that lambs stop growing, and in many cases require supplementary feeding just to maintain their condition through to the following spring.

    To continue to grow and fatten lambs throughout the winter in Shetland requires housing and feeding, with all the costs that accompany such things. Compared to lamb from producers on the UK Mainland, who can achieve killing size/condition lambs without housing and on at least significantly reduced feeding, Shetland simply cannot compete.

  18. ian tinkler

    Robert Sim, rather than argue about semantics and what exactly you meant to say regarding endorsement of Brian’s views (actually unstated here as yet, just a cynical jib as yet is all he has offered!). I will ask you directly, do you or do you not believe that Stuart Hill’s legal challenge to the court should be acknowledged and at the very least be open to legal scrutiny? I believe , yourself , Brian and myself are sadly not qualified to hold a truly informed legal view here , however scholastic we believe or purport ourselves to be.


      Ian, you ask me a direct question and then in the very next sentence tell me I am not qualified to answer! You are however quite right, in that Stuart Hill’s arguments about the jurisdiction of the various courts he has challenged are so abstruse that no-one but a lawyer could, as you say, have a clear opinion regarding them.

      However all of that is beside the point. The point is that no politician or political party nationally or locally is interested in pursuing independence for Shetland. Without real political traction, it remains an abstract debating point of little interest to the ordinary citizen. Part of the problem, in my opinion, is in fact Stuart Hill’s legalistic approach, which, to come back to my opening point, could never be followed by the ordinary person. I don’t, as it happens, believe that Stuart Hill has any locus in the Carmichael case; but my view makes absolutely no difference either way.

      As I commented before, authorities are working more closely together; and that makes a “go-it-alone” approach even more unlikely.

      • Duncan Simpson

        Robert I am not sure that is 100% accurate. I regard myself as an ordinary citizen and I am interested in the prospect of Shetland devolution/independence. Incidentally I agree with you regarding Stuart Hills approach, he’s focusing on the legal technicalities rather than the bigger picture of what people actually want.

        I know I am not alone in feeling that Shetland is consistently being given a raw deal over and over again. With the resources in and around Shetland the SIC should not have to be struggling to balance the books and what has been done to the fishing industry is a disgrace.

        The OIOF campaign may have some success but I don’t think it will ever go far enough. Whilst we are at the whim of Brussels/Westminster/Hollyrood decision making we will always lose out. Often Shetlands interests simply are not compatible.

        If people have genuine grievances and they are ignored for long enough I believe it is inevitable that they will seek change in some form eventually.

  19. ian tinkler

    “The point is that no politician or political party nationally or locally is interested in pursuing independence for Shetland”. Robert Sim, I admire your utter omniscience. Just wait and see, remember only one political party pursued Scottish independance, they got well stuffed. Just perhaps Shetlander’s may pursue a less divisive and unpleasant course. Just wait and see and do not hold your breath.

  20. John Tulloch


    Stuart Hill’s point is not in the least, “abstruse”. It is, simple:

    A court may be asked to show evidence that it has jurisdiction in the geographical area in question. This means evidence of legal sovereignty, in this case, over Shetland and Orkney, must be shown in court.

    In the case of the Western Isles, the appropriate vessel would produce a copy of the Treaty of Perth, 1266, in which the Western Isles and the Isle of Man were ceded to Scotland by Norway.

    All that Stuart Hill is asking is that the courts provide similar evidence detailing which country has legal sovereignty over the northern isles.

    It seems the authorities are having difficulty locating a similar document pertaining to Shetland and Orkney, otherwise, they would, surely, produce it and rid themselves of this tiresome “gadfly” proletarian, “once and for all”?

    You can sign Mr Hill’s petition at: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Lord_Eassie_Lady_Paton_Restore_faith_in_British_justice/?nAPlHjb


      I didn’t say his point was abstruse, John: I said his arguments were. In any case, I can only repeat what I have already said: that while his point may be of some interest it has no practical application in everyday life. That is because there is no political will to achieve self-governing status for Shetland. Signing the petition is therefore fairly pointless.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robert Sim,

        Signing a petition calling for the court itself to uphold the “rule of law”, is not pointless, even though you and the SNP may wish to portray it as such.

  21. ian tinkler

    “I will ask you directly, do you or do you not believe that Stuart Hill’s legal challenge to the court should be acknowledged and at the very least be open to legal scrutiny?”, NB “BE OPEN TO LEGAL SCRUTINY”, That question Robert, even you, are qualified to answer!! “I believe , yourself , Brian and myself are sadly not qualified to hold a truly informed legal view here ,NB “INFORMED LEGAL VIEW”. That Robert , even you, are not qualified to answer. Simples, so very simples. Just what is so hard or you to understand here.


      As far as I can see, Ian, from looking at Hill’s website, it has been acknowledged and legally scrutinised. There is a long and wearying email trail to prove it.

      • Ali Inkster

        And yet after all that scrutiny all the crown can come up with in the way of proof is a magazine article. Well according to the beano…..

  22. Haydn Gear

    David, I understand where you’re coming from and it is probably due to the fact that so many scams have come to light that the tendency to be hyper sceptical has arisen. However,we all recall the massive BSE cull and the scrapie infected sheep scourge and if greater organic measures had been in place a lot of heartache and livestock destruction could have been avoided. No such problems affected livestock in NZ where organic measures were and are in place. Experts in the field seem to think that many people who unwittingly ate infected meat may be incubating CJD which would lead to devastation in years to come. (It’s slow to reveal itself).It’s not a pleasant prospect.

    • iantinkler

      With regard to Haydn’s comments , for those interested in actual facts, CJD incidence peaked some years back in the UK (2000) and the prophesies of doom from the “Greens and Organic Lefty loonies” were as usual, shown to hopelessly pessimistic in their forecasts. typical scaremongering from the ignorant!! ( Reference http://www.cjd.ed.ac.uk/documents/cjdq72.pdf http://www.cjd.ed.ac.uk/documents/figs.pdf ) .
      With regard to NZ sheep and cattle, the problem of transmission of the CJD “prion” from supplementary feed never arose. Due to the very mild winters in NZ, the grass never stops growing, thus no winter feed supplements ever needed. It has absolutely nothing to do with “Organically produced” product just a matter of climate, allowing year round natural grazing. That is also why NZ lamb is so inexpensive. Scrappie transmission is nearly always from from placental tissue and has little if anything to do with feed (Organic farming making not one iota of difference.) (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3320489/)

    • David Spence

      I think maybe the exception to the rule, Haydn. I believe, and correct me if I am wrong, I was informed that the UK imports about 40% of its meat products (beef from South America) because the lack of arable, agricultural land is very much in short supply within the UK. As a consequence of this, the Supermarkets are having to import much of the beef from further afield due to the demand being greater than what local (UK) farmers can produce?

      I must confess, I do not know enough in regards to how cattle are reared in South America or other places outwith the UK where this meat is imported?

      If mass produced beef on a factory level, so to speak, is the practice, one would have to question what safe guards are in place in these countries to make sure the meat is fit for human consumption. One would also have to ask, what form of feeding is given to the cattle, what form of medication is given, are steroids, growth hormones, gm products etc etc also used in the production process, but this information is not, unlike other food products, disclosed to the customer.

      Is the driving force of profit degrading the quality of beef and other meat products because using other methods to enhance the product bring greater profits? Is the farming industry controlled by the Super markets and multi-national companies, and it is they who are forcing their ways onto the production of meat and other farm based products?

  23. David Spence

    ‘ What exactly is your proposed alternative? ‘

    Well Duncan, there is no real alternative as long as businesses dealing in this industry use the cheapest methods going.

    There is also a greater demand as a result of increasing populations to produce meat products faster and more efficient than other more humane methods of rearing livestock up.

    I believe, as a consequence of the greater demand for meat products, this has, to a certain degree, forced the farming industry to use other methods of producing a greater yield of meat in a shorter time. This has, I think, brought into the process of using other methods of meat production……this being food pellets, hormone injections, steroids and other artificial methods of bulking the meat. The methods of farming have changed due to business, I think, dictating the production side of this industry, and as such, other methods are being used purely for faster and cheaper production. Call it intensive farming, where the welfare of the animal is a second priority.

    Whether this method of farming is due to human population increase and a greater demand or business finding cheaper methods of producing the meat in a factory based farming environment is questionable. I suspect it is business which is forcing farmers to use cheaper ways in which to produce meat, and it is business (mainly the Supermarket (which controls 70% of the food market)) regretfully which will have the final say in food production in the future.

    • Duncan Simpson

      David you are contradicting yourself. In one post you are complaining about companies charging more for “organic” meat and in the next you are complaining about companies using cheap intensive farming methods.

      You can’t have it both ways, if you do not like industrial non-organic farming then buy organic produce, which is more expensive to buy because it is more expensive to make.

      As far as I am aware organic produce isn’t some big con perpetuated by massive companies like you seem to think. It is similar to MSC Standard in fishing in that it is an industry standard which is independently awarded in recognition of meeting set criteria. This allows the farmer or business to charge a higher price for their produce because it is of a higher quality. It really is not that complicated.

      • David Spence

        I agree with your points Duncan, in organic foods being more expensive to produce, thus the price is higher.

        However, I also believe it is open to manipulation in terms of ‘ making the quick buck ‘ by branding certain meat products as ‘ organic or premium ‘ without the customer knowing otherwise. I would put a safe bet on that 99.9% of people do not question the validity of the information on the label, and are led to believe what is sold to them?

        Yes Duncan, I am highly skeptical of farming methods being changed because other businesses (mainly the Supermarkets) are forcing the farming industry to adopt cheaper methods of production, which nobody questions. Some people may say the quality of meat has gone down instead of improving, and is this attributed to new business models being enforced to cut down costs and improve on profits.

        I certainly belief the farming industry is being put into a position where the quality has been reduced, but the quantity has increased.

    • Ali Inkster

      And yet you still oppose the whale hunt in Faroe. Is there any kind of food that is politically OK to eat in your eyes David?

  24. Michael Grant

    Ok here we go,As a butcher with over 20 years experience in the business and still working in it, this is how it works.I buy Shetland lamb,Scotch lamb,Australian lamb,guess which is the cheapest to buy,I also buy Scotch beef and South American Beef, again which is the cheapest.I supply several local establishments which are supplied with the Shetland/Scotch produce,we then have the offshore sector who want the cheapest produce,hence the Australian,South American products.It all boils down to price.

    I would love to be able to buy all my meat locally but my throughput is to great for the local slaughterhouse to provide(no blame apportioned here as i think it is a fantastic facility and run very professionally).

    I hope this answers a few questions

    • David Spence

      Michael, thank you for your comments. It certainly brings into the debate a more accurate assessment of the situation in regards to locally produced meat products.

      I am curious to know however, in your opinion, if it can be answered, do you think the demand for Shetland lamb outstrips the number of lambs which are on the islands? If this is the case, are local butchers and other businesses put into a position where they are having to get their meat products (lamb) from the Scottish mainland to meet this demand or do you think it is economics which is the determinant factor?

  25. Haydn Gear

    Organic or inorganic, given the opportunity and choice,which would the ping pong players prefer? Let’s assume that money is no object since organic tends to cost more. I’m including ALL food not just meat. One must be inclusive and cater for the choices of veggies too.

  26. Haydn Gear

    In a letter from Ian Tinkler on August 31st it was stated in typically scathing terms that “Greens and Organic Leftie Loonies” were hopelessly scaremongering about the incubation period of CJD. It’s possible that his crystal ball had either misted up or had become exhausted from overuse. In 2011 , a quotation from the Lancet (2006 issue) stated that the incubation period could be between 10 and 50 years meaning that new cases would not emerge until between 2016 and 2056. Maybe Lancet should be informed that IT disagrees so that their data may be amended.

  27. ian tinkler

    Sorry Haydn, your unreferenced quotation is utterly stupid.. Now the incidence of the disease peaked in 2000. Absolutely nothing would indicate a second peak is going to happen. I have no idea whom you quote from in the Lancet, but I think you may find, if you use your brain, a secondary peak is highly unlikely. In any case, by 2056, a peak would hardly be very much of a problem to those infected with the prion by eating beef in the 1980s!!. This was a horrible disease which ran its course years ago. Anyone with an ounce of scientific knowledge can review the epidemiology and would understand that. I would advise you to read the references I posted. If they are beyond your understanding, perhaps, you are making the very my very point about e scientific ignorance which abounds from those trained in the arts. You sadly Sir, appear to be just be a example of that. ! ( Reference http://www.cjd.ed.ac.uk/documents/cjdq72.pdf http://www.cjd.ed.ac.uk/documents/figs.pdf ) .

    • Kay Wheatcroft

      The Lancet 2006; 367: 2068-74

      • ian tinkler

        September 4th, 2015 9:21
        The Lancet 2006; 367: 2068-74, Kay Wheatcroft , this article was modelled on Kuru, not vCJD, it is also well out of date!!!. In the worst case scenario the projection was 400 cases over 50 years. Now does that not rather confirm my previous “the prophesies of doom from the “Greens and Organic Lefty loonies” were as usual, shown to hopelessly pessimistic in their forecasts, typical scaremongering from the ignorant!!”. Sad as 400 new cases may be, it would hardly be Haydn’s doom laden and ignorant prediction “infected meat may be incubating CJD which would lead to devastation in years to come”. (infected meat was in the 1980s). Now take into account this modelling was speculative at best and history has already shown to be inaccurate in every way. (no recent cases at all of vCJD). References; http://www.cjd.ed.ac.uk/documents/cjdq72.pdf http://www.cjd.ed.ac.uk/documents/figs.pdf ) . Lancet 2006; 367: 2068–74. 2 Gajduzek DC, Zigas V. Degenerative disease of the central nervous system in New guinea: the endemic occurrence of “kuru” in …

  28. Haydn Gear

    I am, I realise that I should be used to your arrogant and pseudo superior missives and clearly, you like to think you are ALWAYS right. Perhaps it is a personality flaw.In regard to your references. in your recent email (Sept 3rd)I noted that N J Andrews, a Senior Statistician, stated that ” although a peak in cases (CJD) has passed it is possible that there will be future peaks”. Your ludicrous suggestion that”scientific ignorance abounds from those trained in the arts” is laughable.Despite being one of “those” I have had a lifelong interest in science particularly biology and chemistry. Prompted by my wife’s death at the age of 38 from a neurological disorder,I embarked on a BSc science course and then an MSc. You should know that it is unwise to make wild judgements without evidence and I am glad to say that your references were well within my scope of understanding. Keep writing but think a lot more carefully before doing so. Who knows, your reputation may even be enhanced.

  29. Haydn Gear

    Ian ,how very remiss of me to not check that my keyboard had automatically changed Ian to I am !! These scientists haven’t cracked it yet have they? !!!

  30. Haydn Gear

    Kay Wheatcroft–thanks for your short and snappy reference. Most interesting. HG

  31. iantinkler

    I have had a lifelong interest in science particularly biology and chemistry. I embarked on a BSc science course and then an MSc. Truly one so qualified whom cannot reference his statements is an enigma. Just whom Haydn are you quoting from in the Lancet. Were you quoting from a paper, a letter or a discussion document? I note you embarked on a BSc science course, usually it is a Bachelor of science is in a subject, for example, BSc (toxicology), not a BSc (science), such a thing does not exist!! Did you ever complete your BSc science? and whatever was your MSc treatise on? Please let us know a which university issued it and in what subject you studied, I would love to read it.

  32. Haydn Gear

    Ian, since you are obviously an individual (hopefully not truly representative of what might be called normal, reasonable folk) who seems to be happy to prattle on for ever and a day, I think I’ll waste no more of your incredibly valuable time and disengage from your tedious word contests. Life’s too short to be squandered, so maybe somebody else would like to watch you rattle your cage. lol. !!!!!!!!!!

  33. Kay Wheatcroft

    Just trying to help, Mr T, as you asked for a reference. I am overwhelmed by your gratitude, a simple thank you would have sufficed….

  34. iantinkler

    Well Haydn, it will forever remain a mystery, a BSc ( Porky pie or the Mickey Mouse?) MSc in ego perhaps? Now with regard to Kay Wheatcroft’s referral to perceived 400 deaths over 50 years How about a touch of reality , to put that figure into perspective, over 50 years approximately 7500 people may die by coconuts falling on their heads!!. Haydn’s ““infected meat may be incubating CJD which would lead to devastation in years to come, what a fine example of “the prophesies of doom from the “Greens and Organic Lefty loonies” were as usual, shown to hopelessly pessimistic in their forecasts, typical scaremongering from the ignorant!!” (reference; Coconut deaths,Falling Coconuts Kill More People Than Shark Attacks ww.unisci.com/stories/20022/0523024.htm) Not rattling your cage Haydn, just the self evident actual facts.

  35. Haydn Gear

    REALITY—-Some people believe that black magic, white magic, supernatural forces, sorcery,witchcraft, mysterious powers, illusions, astrology and never being wrong are actual examples of reality. If only the buck stopped at Cullivoe!! One can dream but are dreams real? Are ideas of the mind real? Only one person on this planet will know. I can only say Dyn ormesol y difflas.Gwn am rywun sy’n is yn fwy anffaeledig na thepope!!

  36. Haydn Gear

    REALITY? Some people and cultures believe in black magic, white magic, supernatural forces, spells,sorcery,witchcraft, illusions,inexplicable powers, astrology and that infallible goblins live on Cullivoe. Mmm, maybe they’ve got a point. If only the buck stopped there!! Dyn ormesol y difflas Gwn am rywun sy’n is yn fwy anffaeledig na thepope.

  37. Haydn Gear

    So while facts and figures are being bandied about, according to the National Safety Council of the USA, in 2002 more than 33,000 deaths occurred in the home and 8,000,000 disabling injuries happened. That’s one death every 16 minutes and one disabling injury every 4 seconds. It makes sharks and coconuts seem almost benign. Avoiding them is easy but the bathroom and the kitchen?—–not so easy.Avoiding CJD should be no problem either.Just become a green loony veggie !! Problem solved.

  38. iantinkler

    I reference Haydn Gear’s somewhat lunatic ramblings “–.Avoiding CJD should be no problem either. Just become a green loony veggie !! “. I realise we must make allowances for his lack of scientific understanding but his point of reference was research about Kuru. A prion disease of the natives of New Guinea. Now to get Kuru you have to eat human tissue, (Cannibalism no less). The said natives, actually eat their dead relatives. Now vCJD, you acquire, from eating prion infected meat, fortunately a thing of the past (20 years back). Strange one so highly qualified, or claims to be, BSc MSc, Haydn Gear, was unaware of that!! Must be his arty side, or does he fear for non veggie cannibals??