Dolly, the first cloned mammal in the world and the UK's most famous sheep, is not insured against foot and mouth disease, it emerged this week – even though the Edinburgh institute, where she lives, has been shut because of the outbreak.
Roslin Institute assistant director Dr Harry Griffin said Dolly, who was born in February 1997, was valuable only in PR terms, and had become less so since being semi-retired recently.
“The fact of her creation is very valuable but, once created, and she's had several lambs since then, she's proved the point,” Griffin said.
However, he said the institute, which has closed its gates to visitors while UK farmers battle the disease, would be dismayed if Dolly and its other livestock caught foot and mouth, although Dolly's relatively luxurious lifestyle means she is fairly safe.
“She's kept inside, which is not a privilege accorded to our other sheep and, since the snow is a couple of inches thick on the ground, I'm sure she's grateful for that,” Griffin said.
It emerged last week that only 10% of farmers have livestock cover for foot and mouth, down from 50% 30 years ago.