Letter: Goats in peril

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your recent article entitled "Moorland scarred by tracks for shooting" (28 September) concerned the Northumberland National Park, where there is a herd of feral goats. This herd, generally known as the College Valley group, has a history that illustrates only too well the plight of our national native breed of goat - the British native goat.

The herd was put down in the 1860s; reduced to seven by a shotgun massacre in 1951, blamed for eating sheep pasture; culled back from 141 to 23 in 1976, blamed for eating crops; and since then has been culled on a regular basis, the next cull being scheduled for this month.

Goats like these, living feral with no legal protection, are all that we have left of our old native breed of goat, all our domestic milking goats now coming from abroad. They are a national treasure, to be valued as part of our agricultural history and heritage. Few people care, however.

Fortunately, a small group of people have recently formed themselves into the Lynton Feral Goat Preservation Society, which aims to gain recognition and protection for this splendid breed.


London SW4