LONDON - A GROUP of schoolchildren who reared a lamb from birth and named it Marcus have overridden objections by parents and rights activists and voted to send the animal to slaughter.
Marcus the six-month-old lamb has now been culled, the head teacher of the primary school in Kent confirmed yesterday, after the school's council - a 14-member group of children aged six to 11 - voted 13-1 to have him killed.
The decision has provoked fury among animal-loving celebrities, animal and human rights campaigners and the parents of some of the children, and led to threats against Lydd primary school and its teachers, according to a member of staff.
About 250 children at the school take part in a programme designed to teach them about rearing and breeding animals. The educational farm was started this year, with Marcus being hand-fed by the children. The children also look after ducks, chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs.
The intention had been to buy pigs with the money raised from slaughtering Marcus, but those plans have been put on hold following the furor created by the lamb's culling. The school said the programme may now have to be stopped.
'It's all up in the air,' said a member of staff. 'There's been so much pressure on us as a result of all this.'
Despite that, the school said there had been overwhelming support among the children, the staff and most of the parents to have Marcus - a castrated male who could not have been used for breeding - sent to the slaughterhouse.
But opponents branded it heartless and cruel, with animal rights campaigners asking why Marcus could not have been used to teach the children about wool, and human rights campaigners worried about the emotional impact of Marcus's death on the children.
A popular talkshow host offered to buy the lamb and give it sanctuary and Facebook groups sprung up to rally support to keep Marcus alive. But the children had the final say. The school defended the children's decision, calling it educational.
'When we started the farm in spring 2009, the aim was to educate the children in all aspects of farming life and everything that implies,' the school said. 'The children have had a range of opportunities to discuss this issue, both in terms of the food cycle and the ethical aspect. It is important for everyone to move on from this issue, so the children can focus on their education.' -- REUTERS
The children owned the lamb, the children raised the lamb, it's their lamb!! Why should all these people interfere with their decision. The missing link here is why the kids chose to kill it rather than keep it alive? Why is it that they have no emotional attachment to the animal after spending months taking care of it?
Unless these so call animal activists can appreciate these deeper issues, they can go back to their la-la land and hug their trees.
Posted by: KaedeRukawa at Tue Sep 15 17:17:13 SGT 2009
[Animal lovers, vegans, PETA, and Buddhists will have their work cut out for them. Maybe not Buddhists cos not all of them are vegans and even the vegan Buddhists are not rabid about their personal choice. I think the school did ok. Perhaps this was a farming community, and anmals sent to the slaughter is an accepted norm. The kids then are exposed to the reality of farming and raising livestock. PETA and their ilk need ti get off their high horse.]