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S0Noma
12-27-2007, 10:07 PM
A shaggy hog story: Boris, the extinct 'sheep-pig', gains a new trotter-hold in UK

By LUCY BALLINGER -

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He is a pig... but not as we know it. From those extravagantly insulated shoulders down, he looks for all the world like a sheep.

Viewed from a less literal perspective, it would seem, he bears a compelling resemblance to one of our more flamboyant politicians.
Which is why keeper Tony York has christened his newest and proudest porcine possession Boris Johnson, after the Tory MP and London mayoral candidate.
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Sheep-pig: Boris is the first Lincolnshire Curly Coat pig in this country for 37 years

The four-legged Boris represents what Mr York hopes will be a renaissance for the Lincolnshire Curly Coat pig, often called the sheep-pig, and a breed which became extinct here 37 years ago.

In his quest to reintroduce the breed, he discovered British farmers had exported many Curly Coats during the early 20th century to Hungary, where their coat helped them survive harsh winters. There they were cross-bred with the Mangalitza, a similar breed, creating the 'Lincolista'.

Mr York found the sub-breed thriving in Austria, and brought 17 of the animals back to his Pigs Paradise farm near Stonehenge, Wiltshire, driving a trailer 2,400 miles across Europe to ensure they had regular food and water stops.

"It was a mammoth task," said Mr York. "It was no good acquiring just one or two. We drove hundreds of miles from farm to farm in an attempt to round up enough unrelated stock to build a good herd."
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The British Pig Association has agreed to register his acquisitions as direct descendantsof the Lincolnshire Curly Coat, securing the link with UK farming heritage.

"It's like a dream come true that the Curly Coat genes live on," said Mr York. "They might be Austro-Hungarian in origin, but they do offer a glimpse of our farming past - and one of our more unusual domestic farm breeds.

"As for Boris, he is very loveable. We called him that because he shares the same hairstyle as Mr Johnson and he's very interested in the ladies."

Mr York remembers the day, in 1971, when the last known pair of Lincolnshire Curly Coats were sent for slaughter.

"It was a tragedy," he said. "The market was for faster maturing breeds and that was that for the Curly Coats."

Hair from the pigs is popular in the U.S. where its ability to retain air bubbles under water makes it ideal for tying fishing flies.

web page (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=504771&in_page_id=1770)