Sheep have been domesticated and a part of human life and agriculture for something around 10,000 years.
The annual sheep herd that grazes in the meadow next door to our place arrived over the weekend. They’ll forage here until December, when they get carted off again by a sheep farmer who places sheep in meadows all across our region like shaggy pawns in a large chessgame of milk, meat and wool.
French sheep farmers released a small flock of sheep into the Louvre Museum in Paris last week to protest cuts in subsidies to small farmers which are under discussion in the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
From a Reuters article, “They were objecting to the effects of the industrialisation of agriculture, saying they feared for farmers’ jobs.
“What we can see today is a desire on the part of the agricultural ministry to impose a marginalising policy which will get rid of farmers so we came here to say we don’t belong to a museum and that our place is in the countryside, where we can revitalise the countryside, create jobs and develop quality produce, that’s why we came here today,” said a spokesman.”
The farm next to ours, and many around our place, unequivocally add to the life quality of our area, and not just in terms of food. The small farms here ensure that the area isn’t paved over with suburban and apartment developments, and that the farmers who have been here for generations carry on the knowledge of land and farming they have inherited.
I do feel a bit badly for the sheep that were herded through the Louvre, probably in panic and without any time to enjoy some of the lovely pastoral paintings there. But I do have a deep appreciation for the fact that no arrests were made – all protesting farmers and their sheep were released without charge.