The following story, Lambs bring hope for troubled farmer, was reported by Ananova on 23rd December 2001, and also in various other newspapers. [The pictures are not from Ananova.]
The unexpected birth of two new lambs has brought hope after a "nightmare" year for the owner of a flock of Britain's oldest sheep breeds.
Smallholder Moira Linaker has spent 2001 battling the authorities and worrying about foot-and-mouth disease.
It has ravaged the countryside around her Cumbrian farm where she keeps 17 rare Ryland sheep and 23 crossbreeds.
The 60-year-old said the birth of two lambs was "symbolic" of new hope after so many died this year.
Their arrival, however, was a complete surprise to the experienced breeder who fought the government to keep her pets alive as millions of animals were culled in the wake of the virus outbreak.
Mrs Linaker said: "I don't know if it was an immaculate conception or what."
She said the mother and father of the newborns - crossbreed Suffolks - had been kept separately but that the ewe probably leapt a fence to get to the ram.
"It's so unusual because farmers here in Cumbria haven't been able to put their rams with their ewes because of movement restrictions," she explained.
Mrs Linaker has received support from around the world backing her stand to protect her flock from being culled.
She barricaded herself on her farm to prevent ministry officials gaining access, and stayed at home for months, fearing her sheep may be slaughtered in her absence if she left.
|Moira, who was looking for a good home for one of these lambs, has now found homes for both of them.|