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