Genetically Modified ‘Self-Knitting’ Sheep Threaten Wool Industry

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EDINBURGH, Scotland – Genetically Modified 'Self-Knitting' Sheep Threaten Wool Industry

In 1996, the world’s first successfully cloned mammal, Dolly, a Finn Dorset sheep, was born.  Dolly died in 2003 at the age of 6. Since then, advancements in genetic engineering, controversial as they may be, have continued with astonishing results.

Scottish scientists again made history with the recent announcement that Dabney, a ‘self-knitting’ sheep, was produced through advanced genetic engineering.  Dabney has been genetically altered to produce wool in patterned alignment.  When sheared, Dabney’s wool pleats itself into shapes that can be easily packaged and shipped straight from the farm to raw wool dispensaries or individual clients.  The wool can be knitted into patterns more quickly than non-genetically altered wool, with unskilled workers able to produce the same volume that more experienced wool gatherers have produced in the past.

As a result, raw wool prices have begun to drop significantly, threatening the Scottish Woolen Trade.

The raw wool movement has come to dominate the industry.  “It was the hipsters that created the demand,” said Trudy Fales, President of the International Wool Council.  “They’ve revolutionized the industry.  All those old sweaters, caps, and bags were more than just a fashion statement – they were a game-changer for the industry.”

“Since there is only one Dabney,” said Fales, “prices are probably going to stay high, until another litter of genetically altered sheep is produced.”

An anonymous source within the Scottish biotechnology firm that created Dabney said, “There’s only one. We’ve tried to produce more, but we’ve given them all we’ve got.”

Time will tell if the global woollen industry will be able to maintain the dominance it has held since the 17th century.

County Fair Sheep Tests Positive For Anthrax

KANKAKEE, Illinois – County Fair Sheep Tests Positive For Anthrax

Below the soft, puffy, huggable exterior of Wooly Bully, the prize winning sheep at this year’s Kankakee, Illinois county fair, lurked a dangerous and life threatening agent of death.

Raised by Ricky Henderson as a 4-H project, the former lamb was a kind and gentle playmate, not only for 11-year-old Ricky, but also for his younger brother, 8-year-old Todd.  If they survive, it is the hospital staff’s sad duty to inform them that they are now orphans.  The youngster’s parents succumbed to the deadly anthrax bacterium days ago.

Both boys now cling to life, placed in a medically induced coma and isolated far away in the Acute Care and Infectious Disease Wing of Riverside Medical Group, located not far from the gently flowing Kankanee River.

“Oh, it’s definitely anthrax poisoning,” said Dr. Harriet Durville, infectious disease specialist.  “Let’s not forget this is essentially a bacterial disease transmitted by animals.  Filthy, disgusting, smelly animals that humans choose to come into contact with.  ‘Dogs are pets, not sheep,’ I tell all my patients.”

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Word travels quickly in this closely-knit, northern Illinois city of roughly 27,000.  “It’s just so sad,” said Milly Jacobsen, bank teller.  “We all watched Ricky raise that sheep from when it was born, and now, … if I had only known, I would have slit its throat during the night a long time ago and no one would have been the wiser!  Such a shame,” she added.

Hundred of fairgoers have streamed into nearby clinics, complaining of symptoms of anthrax infection:  fever, chills, blisters, nausea and vomiting, head and body aches being the most common ailments.  “Most of the cases are just psychosomatic,” said Dr. Durville.  “People are just panicked.  After they hear that a simple antibiotic shot or 3 days of pills can clear up any complications, they relax about it.”

Naturally occurring animal-to-human anthrax disease rarely infects mass numbers of victims, whereas the deliberate malicious release of the bacterium for terroristic purposes can infect many at one time.  “There’s a fear factor involved,” said Durville.  “The bio-terrorists have really put a bad name on anthrax,” she added.

“Remember when people were afraid to open their mail?  That’s going to start all over again, ‘til the next big scare comes along, probably,” Dr. Durville added.

So far, the spread of the disease seems to be held in check. The National Center For Disease Control has reportedly been notified by the hospital, but doctors were informed that until the number of confirmed cases gets above 100, the CDC will not step in.

“When we take those boys out of the medically induced coma we put them in and if they make it through, it’s going to be a sad day around here. I may just take that day off,” said Durville.

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