The sheep, named Marcus, reared by pupils of Lydd Primary School in Kent, has been sent to slaughter despite calls for a reprieve. The primary school's council voted to slaughter the sheep and sell his meat to buy other animals as part of a project on the origins of food.
For the last thirty years, Compassion in World Farming has been teaching children the value of farm animal welfare and the reality of animal farming. Compassion believes that children should be clearly taught that farm animals such as lambs are sentient beings that can feel both pain and happiness; if animals are to be reared for meat, then they must be raised in ways which give them a good life.
The Children from Years 2 and above were given the opportunity to choose what happened to the Wether sheep. The children voted by an 'overwhelming majority' for the sheep to be sold for meat. This recent case of a school's farm education involving 'Marcus' the sheep, has caused Compassion in World Farming and our supporters much concern.
Andrea Charman, the school's headteacher, declined offers of a home for the animal from a number of animal sanctuaries, celebrities and newspapers. Ms Charman said the aim was to educate children about the food cycle and she added in a statement: "Since the lamb arrived, it has always been made clear in a tactful and factual way that lambs are meat."
Phil Brooke, Welfare and Education Development Manager for Compassion in World Farming said "I understand the wish of the school to teach children about rearing animals from birth to slaughter, but I question whether the killing of a sheep is an appropriate thing to teach at such a young age. Whilst instilling a sense of the realities of food production in our children, it is equally important to nurture fundamental values of respect and compassion for all life. We devalue this by teaching the doctrine that animals are 'just meat'."