One of last year's wethers, to be exact.
If the sole purpose for which an animal is reared is to prepare it for the block - and this is the case with steers amongst cattle and with wethers amongst sheep - the sooner it is ready for slaughter the less should be the outlay involved.
In the sheep section of the Smithfield show the classes for ewes were finally abolished in 1898, and the classes restricted to wethers and wether lambs, whose function is exclusively the production of meat.
The three-year-old wethers and older oxen that used to be common in the fat stock markets are now rarely seen, excepting perhaps in the case of mountain breeds of sheep and Highland cattle.
Fat wethers for the butcher are drafted from the hills in August and the two succeeding months.