Pedigree Cotswold Sheep: deemed an ‘at risk’ breed

Producers of rare-breed Cotswold sheep are urging butchers and restaurants to start using the Pedigree Cotswold lamb logo in shops and on menus to help safeguard the future of the breed.

Pedigree Cotswold Lamb is a protected trademark that can only be used on meat from Cotswold breed sheep. However, consumers were not always aware of the breed, and the term Cotswold Lamb was sometimes used generically for any lamb from the Cotswolds, said Angela Reid, chairwoman of the Cotswold Sheep Society.

The CSS said it hoped to stop this by encouraging flock keepers, retailers and foodservice operators selling pedigree Cotswold lamb to display the Cotswold Lamb logo.

“We believe raising our profile through the use of our trademark will allow us to charge a realistic or even premium price for our lamb, reflecting the greater inputs involved in managing a slower-growing animal,” Reid said. “This, in turn, will encourage more people to consider taking on flocks of Cotswolds, thus ensuring the breed’s long-term survival.”

The CSS had also tentatively explored applying for EU protected food status, but had decided not to pursue this for the time being, she added. “This is a route that may well be worth pursuing, but at the moment the complexities of doing so have put an application on the backburner.”

There are 110 active Cotswold flocks left in the UK, and about 1,500 registered breeding ewes. The Rare Breeds Survival Trust deems Cotswolds a breed that is “at risk”.

Cotswold Sheep are slower-growing than many other breeds, and their meat is hung for longer and has a more delicate flavour than conventional breeds of lamb.