Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 15:35 UK

Anger over school sheep slaughter

Lydd School
Ms Charman and the children have been feeding Marcus by hand

Parents at a Kent primary school are angry that a sheep hand-reared by pupils is to be slaughtered for meat.

Meat from neutered male Marcus, one of three sheep cared for at a farm set up in the spring at Lydd Primary School, is to be raffled to buy more animals.

Mother Jo Davis said it was a disgrace that the sheep fed by hand by her eight-year-old daughter Megan was to be slaughtered and sold.

Head teacher Andrea Charman said the school council voted for the slaughter.

Ms Charman started the farm, which also has rabbits, guinea pigs, cockerels and ducks, after she joined Lydd Primary in January.

I am trying to prepare children for the adult world in every sense
Head teacher Andrea Charman

The lambs were bottle-fed by the children and taken into assembly.

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 rather than keeping him.

Tickets are being sold in shops in Lydd to raffle the meat. Money raised will go to buy pigs, from which sausages will eventually be made.

"I feel this is the same as my daughter coming home from school to find her pet rabbit bubbling away on the stove in a stew," said Ms Davis.

"My daughter was told it was no different to buying lamb from the supermarket.

"I really don't think this is the same thing."

The school is on Romney Marsh, an area famous for sheep farming.

Ms Charman said she wanted to teach the children about the food chain and the local economy.

"I am trying to prepare children for the adult world in every sense," she said.

"When they are 15, when they are 20 they are not going to remember what they got in their Sats when they were 11 years old.

"But they will remember they had a farm and that they made decisions."

Head teacher Andrea Charman explains the purpose of the school farm and the children's involvement.

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Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard Comedian offers to buy school lamb - 19 mins ago
Waveguide Paul O'Grady Offers To Buy Lamb - 1 hr ago Paul O'Grady: I will save Marcus the sheep from the chop - 2 hrs ago
Your Shepway So, when will the school sheep Marcus die? - 4 hrs ago

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