19 Jun 2003

Samoa considers importing sheep to give horses more time for racing

4:30 pm on 19 June 2003

Samoa's prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele, has told parliament that sheep should be imported into the country to give the nation's horses more time to prepare for racing.

The prime minister told MPs that the country's horses were lawnmowers or pack animals five days a week but on Saturdays became part of the sport of racing.

Tuilaepa's comments came during debate on the government's plans to bring in a trial shipment of Tropical sheep - a breed that according to the minister of agriculture, Tuisugaletaua Sofara, has been a success in Fiji.

The breed he said, ate weeds but left alone low level and useful vegetation like taro.

Former prime minister, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese, then inquired if sheep farming was being developed, why not import goats.

Speaking on behalf of Tuisugaletaua, the prime minister said sheep could become an extra item to hand over at gift-giving occasions.

They would save money by replacing expensive weedkillers like paraquat and besides Samoans liked to eat mutton not goats.

Goats were also not popular with the agriculture department because of their habit of jumping fences.