World's 'cutest' sheep passes bio test - what about the hug test?
Valais Blacknose sheep, claimed by some to be the cutest sheep in the world, have been born for the first time in Australia after imported embryos and semen from the UK cleared biosecurity.
The federal government's 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.”
“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.
“The breed has now spread to Europe, the UK, and the US, and this year the first Valais reached Australia.
Mr Tongue said Australian farmers and pet lovers have been interested in getting the Valais Blacknose breed into the country 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.
“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!”