Yattle Could Be New Beef Alternative

US - Spying three intruders inside their grassy Loudoun County, Va., sanctuary, a herd of horned bovines immediately went on the defensive. The animals grouped together and charged full speed across the field to within 10 feet, dropped their front shoulders and dared anyone to take another step.
calendar icon 13 August 2007
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The yaks live on Jim Dumbrell's Purcellville, Va., farm. The yattle are kept on neighboring farms. "We laughingly call it Frankensteer," he said of the cow-yak mix.

"That's the yak in them," farmer Pete Mentzer explained.

The what?

"They're 50-50 yak and beef animal," he said of the creatures, which have long faces, low-set ears, thick coats and tails, and oddly angled horns.

Mentzer, who grew up farming in Loudoun, and his partner, Jim Dumbrell, a retired British oil- and gas-pipeline consultant, are breeding yattle: a cross between cows and yaks. "We laughingly call it Frankensteer," Dumbrell said of the crossbreed.

Right now, yattle are the next big nothing. But Mentzer and Dumbrell hope they become the rage of a health-conscious society looking for a low-fat alternative to traditional beef.

Because yaks, with their horns and long coats, are cold-weather animals native to such places as Tibet, their fat is concentrated on the outside of their bodies, not riddled throughout, resulting in a low-cholesterol but slightly tough meat, Dumbrell said. By breeding the animals with beef cattle, the two hope to meld the best traits of both species.

A far cry from the days when the success or failure of the year's harvest governed family fortunes, ventures such as Dumbrell's are often pursued more out of whimsy than necessity.

Source: Seattle Times

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