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Warning over livestock disease

As the lambing season gets underway, DEFRA has taken the unusual step of issuing a warning about a disease described as being the biggest threat to livestock across our region since the Foot and Mouth outbreak a decade ago.

The disease causes birth defects in sheep, goats and cattle and there' is still no vaccine to combat the outbreak, which has affected scores of farms. David Hirst report.

Psychic sheep

A sheep at an animal sanctuary in Shipley has developed a rare talent of predicting football results.

The Swalesdale ram, called Curly, at the Roleystone Sanctuary has forecast Italy will go out when they face England in the Euro 2012 quarter finals on Sunday. He has already predicted the result of England's games against Sweden and France in the group stages.

Curly makes his decisions when Dianne French, who runs the sanctuary, gives him two feed buckets with the photo of a player from either team.

Baa-rnsley races

Sheep racing in Barnsley Credit: Chris Kiddey

The participants may need a little encouragement to get round the course but sheep racing is the latest big thing at Cawthorne, near Barnsley.

Regular races are now being held at Cannon Hall Farm. In keeping with the Jubilee celebrations the sheep have been given regal names.

No money changes hands though so no-one is in danger of being “fleeced” at the bookies.

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Racing in Baarnsley

A new kind of racing is arriving in South Yorkshire.

To mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee staff at Cannon Hall Farm in Barnsley have organised nine days of Royal Ascot themed racing, involving sheep instead of horses.

It was first introduced last year and was so popular they are doing it again. 20 sheep have been trained to take part in the event.

The sheep are fairly easy to train once they realise there is a food reward at the end of the race. It often surprises people that they are so willing to race and jump the fences so well. They aren't put off by crowds and are keen to race and get their food treat.

– Richard Nicholson, Cannon Hall Farm

Sheep disease in Lincolnshire

It's been confirmed this evening that a disease which can cause sheep and cattle to give birth to their young still-born has now spread into our region for the first time.

The Schmallenberg virus has been confirmed at a farm in Lincolnshire - although animal health experts aren't confirming exactly where until more tests are done. It's thought animals are infected by bites from midges which have been blown across the North Sea.

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