NFU defends Marcus slaughter

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has defended Lydd Primary School for giving a sheep the chop.

Pupils learnt a hard lesson about the food chain when Marcus, the sheep, was processed into cuts of meat for auction despite protests from some parents.

The pure-bred Romney was cared for by pupils following his arrival in the spring, when the rural Kent school started a farm to educate children about all aspects of farming life.

Last term, the school council, made up of 14 seven- to 11-year-olds, voted 13 to one in favour of sending Marcus to slaughter. It was decided that selling his meat in a raffle would help pay for some piglets that would, in turn, be turned into sausages.

Lee Woodger, head of the NFUs food chain unit, said the decision to slaughter Marcus was acceptable as long as the children had been told what would happen at the outset.

Its incredibly important that youngsters know where their food comes from sometimes that can be unpalatable for some, but it doesnt do to shield them, said Woodger. Naming it isnt that abnormal either after all, some farmers name their cows.

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