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Last Updated: Saturday September 12 2009 15:27 GMT

TV star wants to save school lamb

Paul O'Grady with his dog Buster

Comedian Paul O'Grady has offered to buy a lamb that's due to be slaughtered after being hand-reared by pupils at a primary school in Kent.

Marcus has been living on the school's farm since he was tiny, and now the school council's voted 13-1 to kill him to raise money to buy more animals.

Some parents are angry and say pupils will be upset when Marcus dies as they were encouraged to treat him as a pet.

Mr O'Grady told the BBC he thought what was happening to Marcus was wrong.

The TV star, who lives in Kent and has his own show on Channel 4, said breeding animals on a farm to be killed for meat was very different to raising them by hand.

Pupils from Lydd Primary School

Pupils' views on killing school lamb

"I'm all for teaching children animal husbandry," he said. "But what happens is that on a farm it's different. The sheep that go to slaughter are not made pets of.

"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 said he had 11 sheep of his own that had all-been hand-reared and offered to buy Marcus so he could "go in with my sheep and have a ball".

Marcus in hiding

Marcus the lamb
Marcus is now being looked after away from the farm for safe-keeping

Marcus is one of three lambs that live on a farm set up at Lydd Primary School, by head teacher Andrea Charman, to teach pupils about where food comes from and the economy.

The school hasn't commented on Paul O'Grady's offer to buy Marcus, but since the row about his future broke out, it said he had been moved elsewhere for "safe-keeping".

Money raised from the sale of Marcus' meat is due to be used to buy three pigs for the farm, which will later be turned into sausages.