Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Army helps castrate 5,000 Falkland sheep

British soldiers were asked to help two stricken farmers in the Falkland Islands

A team of UK soldiers has helped castrate sheep on the Falkland Islands after tragedy hit two farm workers.

The Highlanders, who are on a tour of duty on the islands, were called in after one man was killed in a motorcycle crash and another was injured in a separate accident.

Corporal Scot Robertson, 33 from Balloch, Dunbartonshire, led a seven-man patrol team who stepped in to help.

After a quick lesson from the farmers, the soldiers rolled up their sleeves and in the space of a week more than 5,500 sheep were castrated, wormed and tagged.

He said: "We were supposed to be patrolling the west island but went to help a local farmer when we heard there was a problem. We put the sheep into the pen and the farmer showed us what to do.

"One castrated them, one put a tag through their ear and one cut their tail off with an iron. We just kept going, round and round.

"I'd never even touched a sheep until then. It was good fun and we were glad to be able to help out. There were plenty sheep jokes flying about when we got back to the base."

Highlander Jamie Lyons, 20, from Thurso, was one of those who helped.

He said: "It was something I didn't expect to be doing out here but I enjoyed the experience. It was hard work lifting the lambs. Some were a bit jumpy and nervous. I suppose because we were a bit nervous too."

Sheep farming for the production of high quality wool has been the main form of agriculture in the Falkland Islands over the last 160 years. With a population of only 3,000, and more than half a million sheep, farming is essential for the economy.

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