Sunday, December 2, 2007

News of the Wooled

The newspaper has been unusually entertaining this week.

From it I learned of the hitherto unsuspected (by me) creature of wonder, the woolly pig. It seems there is a breed of pig called the Mangalitza, now rare but common 100 years ago in Austro-Hungary, that has a sheep-like woolly coat.

Hearing this, my imagination ignited. If we can spin and make sweaters of goats, rabbits, the downy undercoats of dogs and the fur of New Zealand possums, why not the wool of curly-coated pigs? A little investigation, however, dashed such hopes. One article referred to their coats as thick and bristly. Perhaps a better candidate for scrubbing pads than sweaters.

But they're really quite cute to look at. Have a look here or here for pictures. Evidently, the blonde variety is the most sheep-ish in appearance. As for me, I'm tickled just to know that such beasts exist.

In other news, it seems that the rusticating pop star Madonna has caused a wool-related ruckus. Yes, she of the-ever-changing, carefully-orchestrated, controversial image has found a way to create controversy with sheep. Apparently, she and her film director husband were due to have their estate in the English countryside featured in a book. Not content for the resident sheep simply to look like sheep, she ordered them dyed in pastel colors for the photo shoot. The RSPCA fears a fast-spreading craze for pastel-dyed sheep.

No doubt they look cuddly in coats of pink and blue. They might be just what the sleepless would picture, jumping one after another over a fence, for counting. About this incident, though, there does hang a slight, effete whiff of treating the sheep as decorative props for the bored rich rather than as living creatures.

Plain sheep being too ordinary for her taste, perhaps she should look into woolly pigs!

1 comment:

Mary said...

Two very interesting woolly tidbits.

Why doesn't Madonna just dye her kids pink and blue and yellow? Oh wait -- that would be considered cruel....