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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 April, 2005, 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK
Abattoir refuses to silence lambs
A slaughterman is refusing to kill two lambs born at his abattoir in Lincolnshire - sparking a stand-off with farming and meat officials.

The twin lambs were born to a sheep bought at Newark market and taken to A Wright and Sons in Boston.

Managers are defying Defra regulations that call for animals to be killed 48 hours after entering an abattoir.

Defra and Trading Standards say the laws brought in following the foot-and-mouth crisis must be followed.

We're going to take it as far as we need to
David Wright, slaughterhouse proprietor
Slaughterman David Wright said it is wrong to force him to kill two lambs born accidentally on his premises.

"We're going to take it as far as we need to take it, I feel that strongly.

"These lambs are healthy, they're living, they're happy, why do we need to kill them?"

No-one knew the ewe, which had been kept in a field outside Boston for a time, was pregnant.

"I rang Defra myself to make sure and Defra said yes, sorry, they've got to be slaughtered.

"They said it's down to me to do it, but I'm not willing to do it, my son's not willing to do it and none of my staff are willing to do it."

'Disease risk'

He is demanding a Defra vet attends the slaughterhouse if they insist on the lambs being killed.

Mr Wright wants to move the pair along with their mother to one of his fields in the Boston area, but to do this he needs a licence from Defra and Trading Standards.

Defra in a statement said: "We fully understand the distress of everyone faced with this difficult situation and sympathise with Mr Wright and his staff.

"It is vital however that everyone associated with the livestock industry complies with all animal movement rules to prevent any risk of spreading disease."

Trading Standards have launched an investigation into the decision by the abattoir's proprietor to defy legislation.

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