This chapter uses the case of Soay sheep, one of the United Kingdom’s most ancient and remote breeds of sheep to pose the central question of the book: what is the relationship between place and type in both the practice of and rhetoric surrounding British breeds of sheep and cattle in the nineteenth century? This relationship pivoted on the notion of the “native” breed, a category whose meaning shifted over time but nonetheless structured efforts to selectively breed sheep and cattle in both Britain and its empire during the period of study. Attention to breed as a category, this chapter argues, can revitalize scholarly conversation and inquiry around animals and environmental history, much of which has focused on the level of species, and thereby overlooked some of the most important features of ecological imperialism in the nineteenth century.
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