Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 16:39 UK

Star's bid to buy school's sheep

Paul O'Grady
Paul O'Grady keeps a number of animals at his home near Ashford

Comedian Paul O'Grady has offered to buy a sheep hand-reared by Kent School pupils that is at the centre of a row about whether it should be slaughtered.

Neutered male Marcus, one of three sheep cared for at a farm set up at Lydd Primary School, is due to be killed on Monday.

The school said the animal had been taken into hiding for "safe-keeping".

Mother Jo Davis said it was a disgrace that the sheep, fed by hand by her daughter Megan, was to be slaughtered.

'Off to abattoir'

O'Grady, who lives near Ashford in Kent, told BBC Radio Kent: "I heard this mother's plea and I thought this is wrong. I'm all for teaching children animal husbandry but what happens is that on a farm it's different. The sheep that go to slaughter are not made pets of.

I will pay the school for him and I'll bring him over here and he can go in with my sheep and have a ball
Paul O'Grady

"But a lamb that you hand-rear, that you personalise, that you give it a name and then announce that is going off to the abattoir is wrong. You can't do that."

He added: "I've got 11 sheep of my own that have all-been hand-reared. I will pay the school for him and I'll bring him over here and he can go in with my sheep and have a ball.

"And I'll keep the kids updated. I'll let them know on the show how he's doing and I'll send photos."

Marcus the sheep

The school said the animal was due to be slaughtered and was with an "agricultural contractor for safe-keeping".

It has not commented on the offer by O'Grady, who hosts a show on Channel 4, to buy the sheep.

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

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

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.



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SEE ALSO
Row over plan to kill school lamb
11 Sep 09 |  Animals
Anger over school sheep slaughter
10 Sep 09 |  Kent

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