Farmer facing PRISON for breeding massive mutant sheep by using testicles from wild Asian beast

Farmer facing PRISON for breeding massive mutant sheep by using testicles from wild Asian beast

GB News discussed 'Britain's loneliest sheep' with farmer Gareth Wyn Jones

GB News
James Saunders

By James Saunders

Published: 15/03/2024

- 00:06

Arthur Schubarth sent sheep DNA to a lab where scientists cloned the beasts so he could sell them for thousands, a court heard

A farmer who imported illegal Asian sheep testicles to breed mutant hunting animals for sale could be jailed and fined hundreds of thousands of dollars, a court has heard.

Arthur ‘Jack’ Schubarth, 80, a rancher from Montana, pleaded guilty to criminal charges of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to traffic wildlife at a Great Falls court on Tuesday.

Schubarth imported wild sheep tissue and testicles from Central Asian and American hunters in order to breed – and subsequently sell – hybrid sheep, prosecutors said.

The court heard how Schubarth smuggled body parts from Marco Polo argali sheep – the largest species of the animal in the world – into the US from Kyrgyzstan.

Schubarth and sheep

Schubarth uploaded photos of the Montana Mountain King's offspring to social media


Male Marco Polos are an internationally protected species – and are illegal in Montana in order to prevent both the spread of disease to native sheep and hybrid cross-breeding.

Prosecutors claimed the octogenarian then sent the beast’s DNA to a laboratory, from which scientists created cloned embryos.

Schubarth then impregnated his own ewes with the embryos in order to birth a genetically pure Marco Polo – which he nicknamed the “Montana Mountain King”, the court was told.

According to court documents, the rancher then used the Montana Mountain King’s semen to artificially inseminate various other species of sheep to create hybrid animals – which he then sold for as much as $10,000 (£7,800) – as well as selling the semen itself to other breeders.


Schubarth and sheep

The 80-year-old rancher repeatedly showed off the results of his illegal breeding online


Schubarth’s sales of the animals traversed state lines; in order to circumvent regulations, he and others faked vets’ inspection certificates to pass the sheep off as legal, the court heard.

Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim said: “This was an audacious scheme to create massive hybrid sheep species to be sold and hunted as trophies.

“In pursuit of this scheme, Schubarth violated international law and the Lacey Act, both of which protect the viability and health of native populations of animals.”

The Lacey Act outlaws the sale or purchase of wildlife that has been taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of federal or state law.

Each offence has a maximum penalty of a $250,000 (£196,000) fine and five years in prison; Schubarth will find out his sentence on July 11.

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