What makes herding important?

Written by By Brianna Webster, CNN

Herd immunity theory is the bold theory — broadly advocated by Western scientists, economists and ethicists — that nature provides immunity to members of a herd by spurring cooperation among them, and those benefits are passed on to outsiders via scavenging behavior.

This theory holds a particular focus on the effects of mountain wild dog culling on sheep populations in the Pyrenees and Chiltern Hills of the U.K. In order to keep sheep herds healthy and grazeable, the Cavendishes estate in Buckinghamshire, England, forces out the horses, cattle and wild dogs that damage sheep’s hides and grazing lands. The Cavendishes are serious about herding, and their farms pride themselves on having one of the highest sheep densities in the world.

This aspect of the herding is largely accepted, but the question of whether the small number of wild dogs that a few owners cull each year are enough to keep the sheep population healthy has sparked controversy.

Mondeo sheep get an inoculum shot from an injection syringe

In March of this year, Loa Lasne, a camel farm owner in New Zealand, began treating her herd of more than 5,000 camels with an immunity-boosting cream made from an extract of animal antibodies. The milk and cream contained in the cream are made from lamb, which, when slaughtered and eaten, is said to repel infection, and are highly sought after by beauty salons.

It was in March that the “mountain dog cull vaccination” was launched by the Camels and Cattle Association of Australia, published a notice in the Department of Agriculture newsletter, and circulated through dairy farms in the U.K.

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