Sunday, 23 March 2008

Cutting the ears of the sheep

5878. What was the arrangement you spoke about with regard to the sheep pasturing on your crofts in winter. Was that by a special arrangement and included in the rent you paid for the croft?
—No it was no part of the agreement. But when Dr M'Lean would find our sheep in the fank, the owner of any sheep who was not prepared to pay half a crown on the spot for it would have the ears of his sheep cut close to its skull at once.

5923. You spoke about cutting the ears of sheep. I understood you to say that if the crofters kept the sheep and did not pay 2s. 6d., then the ears of the sheep were cut off. Did you ever see the ears of a sheep cut off ?
—Yes, I did see that in Dr M'Lean's fank at Talisker. I never saw it before or since.

5924. Was that a punishment of Dr M'Lean's invention, or is it the custom in this country ?
—I never saw it with anybody but himself.

5925. Had you any name for that mode of marking sheep ?
—No, we had no particular name.

5926. Did you ever hear it called the thief's mark?
—Yes, I heard it called the thief's mark.

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