Belgian Blue

Belgian Blue cattle are a beef breed from Belgium, known in French as Race de la Moyenne et Haute Belgique. Alternative names include Belgian Blue-White, Belgian White and Blue Pied, Belgian White Blue, Blue and Blue Belgian. [ [http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/cattle/belgianblue/index.htm Oklahoma State University breed profile] ] The sculpted, heavily muscled appearance is known as "doubled muscled", and is a trait shared by the Piedmontese breed. They are named for their typically blue-grey mottled hair colour, although they can be white or even black.

The Belgian Blue has a natural mutation of the gene that codes for myostatin, a protein that counteracts muscle growth. The truncated myostatin is unable to function in this capacity. This mutation also interferes with fat deposition, resulting in very lean meat. They are often unable to give birth naturally, requiring a caesarean section.

The breed originated in central and upper Belgium in the nineteenth century, from crossing local cattle with Shorthorn cattle from Great Britain and probably with Charolais cattle. At first there were milking strains and beef strains of the breed. The modern beef breed was developed in the 1950s by Professor Hanset, working at an AI centre in Liege province.

Critics call Belgian blues "monster cows" and some countries, including Denmark, have advocated eliminating the strain [ [http://www.cphpost.dk/print.jsp?o_id=56993 The Copenhagen Post ] ] .

References

External links

* [http://www.builtreport.com/bovine.html Photos of double muscled Myostatin inhibited Belgian Blue Bulls]
* [http://c1.libsyn.com/media/733/pc86_Meet_the_Super_Cow.mp4 Video - "Meet the Super Cow"]


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