Page last updated at 13:31 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 14:31 UK

Climate change threat to haggis

Haggis
Haggis is the cornerstone of Burns Night suppers

Global warming could pose a threat to a key ingredient used in one of Scotland's most famous dishes.

An increase in lungworm infections in sheep has been identified by the Scottish Agricultural College Veterinary Investigation Centre.

The parasite renders sheep lung - used to make haggis - unfit for consumption.

The centre's Sandy Clark said climate change could be a factor in the rise of cases and said lung could end up being used less in making the food.

Thurso-based Mr Clark said: "There is the possibility that their part of the ingredients maybe less prevalent and may have to change to another mix."

Eating championship

He added: "Part of the reason will be the parasite is able to live a pretty happy life on the ground because of higher temperatures. Maybe it's climate change.

"The other part is in general farmers are monitoring for roundworms, which is another parasite, and if they don't find this in their animals then they don't treat them.

"The treatment kills all sorts of parasites so unfortunately the lungworm is being left because the other ones are not there."

Traditionally eaten on Burns Night, the dish is also a fixture on many chip shop menus and served for breakfast at Scottish hotels and B&Bs.

In August, competitors from across the globe took part in the World Haggis Eating Championship in Perthshire.

The event was won by Willie Robertson, from Dunkeld, who downed 1lb of haggis in two minutes and five seconds.

Mr Robertson, who also won the title four years ago, walked away with a trophy and a bottle of whisky.

The championship was held as part of the 125th Birnam Highland Games, and attracted competitors from Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Climate change, meanwhile, has been blamed for affecting natural habitats in Scotland and across the world.

Most notably, scientists and conservationists say it threatens survival of polar bears.


SEE ALSO
Chieftain crowned in pudding race
22 Sep 08 |  South of Scotland
Scot claims haggis eating crown
30 Aug 08 |  Tayside and Central

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