Haggis at risk from global warming

From the Now I’ve Heard Everything department. First it was polar bears, now it is sheep guts.

The Telegraph.co.uk

By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent

Haggis is at risk of dying out due to of global warming.

The meat pudding is known to children as a rare tartan creature found only in the Highlands but the rise of the common parasite lung worm, which is thriving due to global warming, is putting it at risk.

Haggis is made from a sheep’s stomach, which is stuffed with oatmeal and minced intestines. But butchers are finding it more and more difficult to get hold of the principle ingredient of sheep’s lung, as so many are infected with lung worm.

Dr Sandy Clark, the vetinary centre manager at the Scottish Agricultural College in Thurso, said the parasite was thriving because it is able to survive in grazing all year round in the warmer climate.

Although lung worm will not necessarily show up in a healthy sheep or affect all the meat, it will make the lungs of the animal unfit for human consumption.

“Lung worm has been at a very low level and did not cause serious problems in sheep but with the changing climate and availability of the parasite it is becoming a problem,” he said.

He also said lung worm has increased because new technologies mean farmers are only medicating animals that are shown to have traces of other diseases, rather than treating all animals on a regular basis.

“The sad fact is that the disease is causing the lungs to be condemned for human consumption because of the lung worm damage,” he added.

Joe Findlay, owner of Findlay’s Butcher in Edinburgh, said it was a struggle to source lung from Scottish farms so butchers are turning to Ireland instead.

The award-winning butcher said that the growing demand for haggis across the world was because of the fashion for societies dedicated to Scottish poet Robert Burns and the fact that the Scottish diaspora was also making it more difficult to source the ingredients.

“It could well get worse, we are just keeping our fingers crossed,” he added.

The Vermont Pub and Brewery has not yet issued a statement indicating how they will deal with the issue during their annual Burns Night celebration, when they serve Haggis alongside a number of excellent single-malts.

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88 thoughts on “Haggis at risk from global warming

  1. Nice mention of a local (for me) drinking establishment. Anthony, if you are ever in these parts I’ll be more than happy to buy you a pint or two.
    REPLY: thanks Jim

  2. I just love the way they explain that the lung worm is prevalent because farmers are now only selectively treating where before it was blanket treated, and yet still manage to blame global warming. I wonder where the study is that showed that Scotland’s climate has warmed so much in the last few years that parasites can suddenly thrive.

  3. Next, they’ll be warning of the looming & dire scrapple and pickled pig’s feet shortage— caused of course, by Glow Bull Worming™.

  4. Well all of us love Haggis and we will sorely miss it along with blood pudding and balut (rotton ckicken fetus in the shell from the Philippines).

  5. Thank God for small favors! Actually, that was already taken care of here, as Wikipedia notes that “Haggis may not be imported into the USA from the UK since the BSE crisis of 1989.”
    The traditional ingredients have a few more mouth watering items, “There are many recipes, most of which have in common the following ingredients: sheep’s ‘pluck’ (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal’s stomach for approximately three hours.”

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  7. There are a number of possible explanations for rising cases of lungworm infestations. Increased resistance to drench or changing genetics of the scottish flock are a couple that spring to mind. To blame climate change without any evidence seems to be a little bit unscientific.

  8. Could it also be that, rather than global warming, demand is outstripping supply? How ever did they manage during the MWP? Perhaps they just viewed it as one of those things that happen in nature that they just had to suffer through.

  9. Don’t th’ worms die when ya cook em? It’s all just protein in the end…. er… well, not right at the very end….
    Anyway…. You oughta see what goes into a bottle of tomato sauce?…. Actually yer better off not knowing…..LOL
    Actually tomato sauce goes well with haggis! 🙂

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  11. So the problem is that the highlands of Scotland are now too mild so they have to turn to Ireland.
    Everywhere in Ireland is milder than the highlands of Scotland. In the mildest parts of Ireland it almost never snows and rarely get more than a mild frost. Even the coldest places in Ireland are mild compared to the scotish highlands.

  12. was a struggle to source lung from Scottish farms so butchers are turning to Ireland instead.
    And Ireland isn’t subject to global warming? Or England or other places way to the south where sheep are farmed?

  13. Louise Gray writes
    “But butchers are finding it more and more difficult to get hold of the principle ingredient of sheep’s lung…”
    and
    “…the growing demand for haggis across the world was because of the fashion for societies dedicated to Scottish poet Robert Burns…”
    in the same article and she does not see the connection: supply-and-demand you economically-ignorant journalist.

  14. Poor poor Scotland. First Global Warming kills off the Loch Ness Monster, now it has killed of the rare endangered Haggis beast. Will Global Warming over-inflate bagpipes next, killing those off too?

  15. The UK hasn’t had prolonged cold for years. Sheep farmers have faced few of the problems, and losses, that long cold winters used to cause them. I suspect most have more than enough stock – maybe too many. So, we have lots of sheep and little cold weather to kill the parasite – see this link “Larvae are vulnerable to adverse weather conditions, but in warm, moist, shaded conditions may live for over a year.”
    So, too many sheep and less natural control of the parasites larvae by cold weather. Perfect conditions for infections.
    Thus, I fail to see the problem with the story. I guess it feeds the need, a need so obvious here, to ridicule any and every story that dares, wrongly, on in this case rightly, to report a link between a problem and AGW.
    This site can indeed be ridiculous at times.

  16. “…Joe Findlay, owner of Findlay’s Butcher in Edinburgh, said it was a struggle to source lung from Scottish farms so butchers are turning to Ireland instead…”
    Where, presumably, Global Warming is not happening? Could this be because the Irish are less gullible than the Scots? Or could it be because the Scottish Agricultural College is looking for funds while the Irish are already well funded?
    Enquiring minds want to know…

  17. Peter Hearnden, you completely miss the point.
    The weather has been milder across the whole of the British Isles and if lung worm has been on the increase because of the milder temperatures, it should be a problem everywhere else – indeed one would expect it to be more of a problem in Ireland than Scotland if it is temperature related.
    As the article itself states, this is surely the simple explanation:
    “He also said lung worm has increased because new technologies mean farmers are only medicating animals that are shown to have traces of other diseases, rather than treating all animals on a regular basis”
    No need to invoke the spectre of Global Warming at all.

  18. Jim Arndt (20:57:05) :
    balut (rotton ckicken fetus in the shell from the Philippines).
    Whoever gave you that definition was either fooling you or didn’t know what he was talking about. Balut is boiled fertilized duck’s egg. It’s neither chicken nor rotten.

  19. “I fail to see the problem with the story.”
    That, my friends, is the difference between “reading comprehension” and “critical thinking.”

  20. Jim Arndt,
    I always thought balut was made from duck. Whichever it is, the rule still stands never kiss anyone who has just eaten balut.

  21. Word is, Global Warming has caused housing crisis as well. We are all doomed, Al Gore was right. We need to nuke Iran now and cause global winter to save the planet.

  22. I went to school in northern Scotland, and we were served haggis in the cafeteria at least twice a week, either for lunch or dinner. Loud groans could be heard whenever it appeared. I had a voracious appetite back then, and would eat large amounts of anything, and it never killed me, however I had absolutely no idea haggis was in any way special.
    When I first arrived the local boys offered to take me haggis hunting. They told me there were two types, left-legged and right-legged. The legs of a haggis were longer on one side so they could stand level on steep hills. I was told the trick of hunting them was to get them to turn around on the hillside. This would cause the haggis to fall over, and then you were suppose to clout it on the head with a club. However I was warned they were dangerous.
    The plan was to hand me a club, and leave me on a hillside as the other boys ran around the hill, driving the left-legged haggis around to me. I told them I wasn’t born yesterday. What did they take me for? Some sort of sucker and chump?
    Then I told them the world was going to run out of oil by 1980, and they had better get back to burning peat, and not depend on North Sea oil. I was absolutely serious, for this was what I’d been taught. So perhaps I was a bit of a sucker and chump after all.

  23. Moptop, I guess anonymity makes one more free to be both arrogant and rude…
    Stan, it’s, imo, both. It’s warmer weather, and the increase in larvae that allows and I mentioned, andand it’s changing farming practices.

  24. Global Warming is also responsible for the increased wearing of kilts. Another curse on mankind.

  25. I’m afraid that this article is typical of what we have as climate change “discussion” in the UK. The BBC has long ceased to provide a balanced view, witnessed recently with a studio debate on wind farms discussed with only advocates of wind turbines. Even the Telegraph, with the distinct exception of Mr Christopher Booker, has capitulated to the climate change lobby by cherry picking and printing without any form of questioning, any report that blames climate change for anything. Just yesterday we had a report from the National Trust ( Full article at this link http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/10/08/eawater108.xml ) which warns that we must manage our water supplies more efficiently because of the joint threats of drought and floods caused ” by climate change ” !!
    Covers all eventualities I suppose !

  26. The article also states: “…it was a struggle to source lung from Scottish farms so butchers are turning to Ireland instead.” If global warming is causing an increase of the disease in Scotland, then why isn’t it causing an increase in Ireland too? Ireland is further south and should already be warmer.

  27. Well, that’s just offal.
    Seriously, though, modern-day haggis is made quite differently than the traditional. Here in the U.S., sheep’s lungs were banned from use in 1971, as were other ingredients later on. The casing is now artificial, not the sheeps stomach. There is also vegetarian haggis.
    This article is simply more of the same, tired globaloney warming the MSM never seems to tire of serving up, and people still seem to gobble down.

  28. Ewe shouldn’t eat lungs anyway.
    Maybe its the missing feedback mechanism. Animals make too much methane, planet heats up, lungs fill with worms, animals die methane levels drop.
    Put that in the climate models.

  29. Guys Made from both Chicken and Duck. And it is rotten just smell it once, my not “be” but man it smells. My wife is from the Philippines. They also have a dish called Chocolate meat which is made from pork blood and some guts. I have tried that but didn’t like it.

  30. I recommend Haggis as a great delicacy to you all , not to be sniffed at (in case of lung worms).
    Where animal husbandry problems arise, some scam or other caused by the European Union and the Common Agriculture Policy is usually to blame.
    Rule Brittannia!!

  31. My family’s recipe for haggis:
    Take a sheep, pull its head through its ass, stuff it into its stomach and hang it like a piniatta. Whack it ten times with a Lousiville slugger (note: DO NOT USE AN ALUMINUM BAT BECAUSE IT LENDS A METALLIC TASTE).
    Take it down and have a medium sized family of 5, stomp it into the dirt and kick it around like a soccer ball. (American tourists work well here – we just tell them its a hundred years old tradition.) NOTE: Cold sugary beverages should be readily avialable as out of shape Americans, particulary their children will fatigue easily. Clapping hands, encouraging words, and any folk music that happens to be available will increase worker (guest) productivity.
    After the haggis has been tenderized leave it out overnight. If it rains and the dirt gets washed off throw more dirt on it and leave it out for another 24 hours.
    Cure the haggis by hanging it by its own intestines in your barn or from a street light while the anjou is prepared.
    Anjou preparation: Take a week’s worth of garbage and place it in a metal dumpster, place the dumpster on a large grate under which a large fire can be built. Fill the dumpster 3/4 the way full with water, light the fire and bring to a boil, simmer for twelve hours. Remove the garbage, reduce the remaining liquid by 1/2. This is the anjou in which the haggis will be boiled.
    Boil the haggis for 1 hour and simmer it for 3 hours. For extra flavor, take the tires off you car and add it with the haggis at the beginning.
    Serves a medium sized family of 5 (Non American, of course.)
    Enjoy!!

  32. Let me get this straight. A planet fever of about 1F has given sheep a fever? It must be those warm winter nights! Doesn’t the Press ever insanity check these proclamations?

  33. Simon: You don’t understand! Long ago the Irish taught the Scots how to make whiskey and play the bag pipes. Ever since, drunk Scots have terrorized the world with “music” played on their war pipes while the Irish have played fiddle and flute music while drinking.

  34. Oh Guinness, my Haggis! What next will fall victim to AGW, malt for single malt?
    UK papers especially seem to love this sort of gut churning, junk science.
    History challenge —
    It was Robert Burns who indirectly inspired the ethnic disparagement “gringo” to emerge in the century following his death, how and why?

  35. Hey! I’m getting queasy here.
    Lordy.
    I have to squint my eyes every time I drop by.
    How about a nice picture of Al Gore?
    Hmmm . . . . nah . . . .bad idea.
    OK. Stay with the sheep stomach.

  36. But the single malt whisky is still fine, correct? The barley is still fine, correct? GW isn’t messing with my peat, is it? Tell me my good friends at Balvenie, Highland Park, Aberlour, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroig, Bunnahabhain, Dalmore, Dalwhinnie, Old Pulteney, Longmorn, Alberfeldy and Scapa, aren’t going to lower their production! Let the Isle of Jura be contaminated, however. Yech.

  37. As a Scotsman i can categorically state that the haggis is not is danger, in fact we have just had one of the most successful Haggis shooting seasons in living memory.
    In addition to which, 2007/8 had the best skiing and winter climbing conditions since the 1970s.
    So come to Scotland, bring a raincoat,,,,, and the long-johns!

  38. Caleb, you need to come to Missouri and go Snipe hunting with me. Snipe are a small bird that runs around on the ground very quickly. All you need to catch them is a bag/sack and a flashlight/torch because it’s done at night. You get to hold the bag while I run around with the light and chase them to you.
    I think this is where the expression ” to get caught holding the bag” comes from.
    Great intellects are skeptical.
    – Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900),
    German philosopher.

  39. “Haggis is at risk of dying out due to of global warming.”
    You can tell that Louise Grey is not only a poor writer/editor, but she is also outdated. All modern, up-to-date environmental alarmists now speak in terms of “climate change”, not “global warming”. As Mike points out, this new mantra more safely embraces all possibilities for environmental disaster, regardless of what causes it or how it turns out.

  40. 98% of the sheep raising areas of the world are warmer than Scotland – much warmer.
    How come there is still sheep left in the rest of the world. Shouldn’t they have been killed off by the warm loving lungworm long ago. What about in the middle east where sheep were domesticated. How did that happen where it is at least 10C warmer.

  41. Sheep’s stomach stuffed with oatmeal and minced intestines – what a disgusting concoction!
    You Britons are culinary barbarians! I think I’m going to get ill.

  42. Pierre, mon cher, you overlook foie gras.
    Actually, it is only Scots who relish haggis. The English prefer something called faggots (No, not that), which disgusts even the Scots.

  43. David Walton – “It was Robert Burns who indirectly inspired the ethnic disparagement “gringo” to emerge in the century following his death, how and why?”
    Burn’s ballad “Green Grows the Rashes” was a popular sang in the United States, particular amongst the explorers/cowboys of the American Southwest. Mexican settlers in the area often heard the Americans singing or quoting the poem, and the phrase “green grows” morphed into “gringos” as a generic reference term for the Americans.
    Do I get an A on the research paper? Actually, I knew this thanks to a book I read many years ago.

  44. “Dan McCune (11:12:49) :
    First it was polar bear, then haggis and now the penguins. OMG!
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/10/09/2386597.htm?section=justin
    I thought the ice problem was just on the north pole and that Antartic ice was on the mend. I guess I have just not been paying enough attention.
    Skeptics are never deceived.
    – French Proverb”
    I guess ABC forgot to check the penguin’s natural habits. As is shown here, penguins feed in ice free water. So, if there feeding grounds are being threatened, it is because the Antarctic ice is expanding, not melting.

  45. On the subject of sheep, here’s a little reminder of how harsh winters sometimes were, before the late 20th century warming. This is from the book I’m reading at the moment, Frozen in Time, which describes the cold winter of 1947:
    “Over a thousand sheep were ‘dead or dying’ on the moors around Ribblehead, North Yorkshire, and three farmers each lost over half their flocks. A farmer from Mallerstang in Westmorland’s upper Eden Valley, only moved onto his farm in the autumn of 1946, purchasing the stock of 500 ewes, all of which would have been carrying at least one lamb by the time the snow came. By the end of lambing time the following Spring, there were only 170 ewes and twelve lambs still alive. Some sheep in Lincolnshire had to endure a further hardship, for ‘flocks of hungry crows are attacking sheep and some have been killed.’ In the Lake District too, shepherds were ‘now armed with guns to combat flights of carrion crows which are the latest menace to mountain sheep. Deprived by snow of their natural food, dozens at a time are swooping down on helpless sheep trapped in drifts, first tearing off their ears and plucking their eyes, then devouring the whole carcass.’ Farmers in Merionethshire also reported large numbers of foxes ‘driven by hunger from their mountain lairs to the lowlands, making daylight raids on sheep.’ Around two million sheep were to die during the winter, 500,000 acres of wheat was lost and the frosts also destroyed much of the late potato crop, promising yet more hunger and misery for British farmers.”
    Restores a sense of perspective, doesn’t it.

  46. Hippies have lung worms do to global warming and are dying? There must have been something in the Kool Aid back in the 60’s.
    Sorry, my mistake. I though you were talking about hippies, not haggis.

  47. The article reaches it’s “points” by assuming that Scotland has had a series of less cold winters solely because of (man made) global warming.
    It does not consider the effects of EEC directives at all, when they may have been great.
    AND, that the less cold winters could be due to something other than AGW,
    natural climate variation for instance.
    On the brighter side though for haggis lovers, nature appears to be about to redress the balance if overal world (apparent) temperature trends are anything to go by.
    A cold winter or two will do the trick – soon. 😉

  48. Caleb: You left off explaining why there are two types, left-legged and right-legged, of Haggi. The right-footers are the males, and the southpaws the females.
    They’ve evolved this way so that they run into each other when they meet on steep slopes. The species would have died out years ago otherwise, because they’d never meet for mating.

  49. Re: Haggis hunting
    I would like to inquire — How does one obtain a license to hunt haggis and is the licensing limited? When is haggis season, and can good guides be had at a reasonable fee?
    Re : Keiths’ answer to the History Challenge.
    Good enough! I heard the story a little differently but it is likely that both are true. Irish immigrants escaping famine in large numbers were unable to find work (“Irish Need Not Apply”) and some hired on as mercenaries for the Mexican Army.
    Lonely and longing for their homeland they sang songs familiar to them and “Green Grow The Rashes” was a favorite. Now imagine, night after night the Irish singing it around a campfire whilst in the midst of the regular army encampment.
    Robert Burns may not have actually written “Green Grow The Rashes”. Some of what he did was the result of putting to paper the vocal traditions he researched. Nevertheless, the song is largely attributed to him and from what I have read the style (for those who know) is characteristic of Burns.

  50. I wonder if variations in haggis populations can be tied to the chart Alan Cheetham has linked to.

  51. My understanding is that domestic haggis is generally lighter in flavor and texture and less oily than the gamier and tougher wild haggis. But that is only from what I have read on the subject. I have not yet had the pleasure of devouring either beast, domestic or wild.

  52. Re Peter Hearnden comments, specifically —
    “Thus, I fail to see the problem with the story. I guess it feeds the need, a need so obvious here, to ridicule any and every story that dares, wrongly, on in this case rightly, to report a link between a problem and AGW.
    This site can indeed be ridiculous at times.”
    Evidently what you fail to see is that increases in the parasite populations could be due to a myriad of other factors, including how the treatment of the disease has changed (as the article mentions). Nevertheless, the story focuses on a single, popular, all encompassing cause celebre’– global warming.
    Dr Sandy Clark states, “with the changing climate and availability of the parasite it is becoming a problem.” You and the general reader take this to mean that it is a problem. But that is the whole point.
    You emphasize the statement, “Larvae are vulnerable to adverse weather conditions, but in warm, moist, shaded conditions may live for over a year.”
    Read it closely. In warm, moist, shaded conditions (larvae) MAY live for over a year. This begs some questions. What, precisely. are the are warm and moist conditions, are such conditions actually present in Scotland and why use the word MAY except as cover in the event that actual rigorous field research shows that they may not?
    Moreover, if global warming is the real culprit here (which the article intentionally leads you to believe) why is Ireland not having exactly the same problem?
    So, as you may guess, some of us find such stories to be ridiculous. We also find it frustrating that they are so effective in convincing less critical and skeptical readers like yourself of suppositions (which are often disguised as fact) that could be misleading, inaccurate, or partially or entirely false

  53. Who gives a rat’s ass about haggis! I want to know why my little bull calves didn’t have enough nuts hanging in the cold spring air to cut off! I want my rocky mountain oysters (fried in butter with four and cornmeal and with a brew and dipping sauce please)! They are like chicken gizzards (kind of chewy with a slight grittiness to the meat) only BETTER! But alas, when we snipped, the nuts were tucked up too far to get much more than fuzz! Damnable global warming.

  54. err….uh…..for those of you east of the rockies, rocky mountain oysters don’t have shells.

  55. Pamela Gray (18:45:33) :
    “err….uh…..for those of you east of the rockies, rocky mountain oysters don’t have shells.”
    In Greece there is a special dish one can sometmes order in taverns:
    “ameletita”. It means “not to be thought about”

  56. We sure are lucky that global warming was not around when AIDS and the world wide scare appeared. Sure could have given a great boost to it.

  57. OT
    ThedAirs animation from 2003 to 2008 is lovely.
    Maximum CO2 happens in spring. Maybe it is a positive feedback after all, the more CO2, the more plants thrive, the moreCO2 will come out. plants do breath out CO2 at night, No?
    Otherwise it is strange. April is not a very hot month for getting extra CO2 from the oceans, and anyway the extra comes over the land masses.
    http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003562/

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