Slay the lamb – dammit!

In other news…

School kids in Kent, England, voted overwhelmingly to send Marcus – a lamb raised by the classroom the time it was born as part of an agricultural awareness program or – a “this is where your meat comes from, stupid” program – to the slaughterhouse for some good chops.

Predictably sending parents, PETA, and other freaky folks into a frenzy.

Oh my f***ing gawd, say they…

“How can we expose our poor subunits to the vagaries of modern omnivorism??” ‘Tis shameful.

So who will be the lamb after the next election? Iggy? Stevo? Jackman?

Depends on who makes the wrong call… and who doesn’t win over the kids…

I don’t normally cull a whole story, but this one is worth the exception:

LONDON (Reuters) – A group of schoolchildren who reared a lamb from birth and named it Marcus has overridden objections by parents and rights activists and voted to send the animal to slaughter.

Marcus the six-month-old lamb has now been culled, the head teacher of the primary school in Kent confirmed on Monday, after the school’s council — a 14-member group of children aged 6 to 11 — voted 13-1 to have him killed.

The decision has provoked fury among animal-loving celebrities, animal and human rights campaigners and the parents of some of the children, and led to threats against Lydd primary school and its teachers, according to a member of staff.

Around 250 children at the school take part in a program designed to teach them about rearing and breeding animals.

The educational farm was started this year, with Marcus being hand-fed by the children. The children also look after ducks, chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs.

The intention had been to buy pigs with the money raised from slaughtering Marcus, but those plans have been put on hold following the furor created by the lamb’s culling. The school said the program may now have to be stopped.

“It’s all up in the air,” said a member of staff. “There’s been so much pressure on us as a result of all this.”

Despite that, the school said there had been overwhelming support among the children, the staff and most of the parents to have Marcus — a castrated male who could not have been used for breeding — sent to the slaughterhouse.

But opponents branded it heartless and cruel, with animal rights campaigners asking why Marcus could not have been used to teach the children about wool, and human rights campaigners worried about the emotional impact of Marcus’s death on the children.

A popular talkshow host offered to buy the lamb and give it sanctuary and Facebook groups sprung up to rally support to keep Marcus alive. But the children had the final say. The school defended the children’s decision, calling it educational.

“When we started the farm in spring 2009, the aim was to educate the children in all aspects of farming life and everything that implies,” the school said in a statement.

“The children have had a range of opportunities to discuss this issue, both in terms of the food cycle and the ethical aspect… It is important for everyone to move on from this issue, so the children can focus on their education.”

(Reporting by Luke Baker; Editing by Steve Addison)

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14 Comments to “Slay the lamb – dammit!”

  1. I am forced to point out here, that fish are made of meat, and goat cheese does not come from a Feta tree. To raise a goat for milk to make cheese consumes the same resources as raising a goat to eat (they taste like lamb and make a great curry) – you need to pasture/feed it just like you would an “eater”, the only difference is that at the end of the year the milker gets a birthday celebration and the eater gets replaced.

    I’ll grant you that eating less meat is not a bad idea, but eating less ANYTHING is generally a good idea.

    I’ll stack any vegetarian’s health up against a meat-eater who lives a similar lifestyle with respect to exercise, etc. I just don’t see this plethora of ultra-healthy vegetarians. The best ones (the ones who take the time and spend the money to ensure they’re getting the nutrients they need) are definitely no healthier than anyone else in my experience – I say that with some authority… having been in the military I have had ample opportunity to meet people who were both vegetarians and meat-eaters who led similar lifestyles with goodly amounts of exercise. Although I can’t say for certain, because I didn’t see their medical records, it very much appeared that there was no appreciable difference between the two except for the guy who died.

    If people had to hunt their meat, you can bet there’d be a lot less fat people too. Of course, it works both ways… If vegetarians had to grow their own food, you’d never see one with 100 miles of a city because there wouldn’t be enough land to support them and you certainly wouldn’t see any this far north.

    Food is supposed to be decomposed in your intestines. That’s what they’re for. The plant material you eat rots too. I can assure you, however, that if you eat a mostly meat diet (like Atkins), you will find that very little gets through to the far end, which implies that it’s mostly absorbed.

    The other way to tell that vegetarian is not a healthy choice: every vegetarian I know takes supplements. If you’re taking supplements, you’re not eating the right food. That’s a fact. Humans existed for thousands of years without supplements, there’s no reason to take them now unless you’re not eating right. If you don’t take supplements, then please, send me a week of your menus, because I’m always open to tasty new food ideas! Of course, I’m allergic to milk, which makes life difficult for me.

  2. XUP says:

    Ummm, I’m thinking these “vegetarian” countries have a lot of other issues attributable to their low life expectancy other than the fact they don’t eat meat. Seriously, that’s not even a good comparison. Look up life expectancies for vegetarians vs omnivores within Canada for instance. And sure, medical care has a lot to do with it and genetics has a lot to do with it, but after genetics, lifestyle is the biggest determiner of your health and life expectancy. And just “not eating meat” doesn’t make you healthier, of course. A healthy lifestyle involves choosing a varied diet rich in nutrients, staying away from bad fats, processed foods, and other crap and getting some exercise. I’m not even saying everyone should stop eating meat, just that we, as a society eat way too much of it. And our bodies are also not designed to digest meat properly. We process only a fraction of the protein, it takes so long to get through our very long digestive tract that it tends to putrify before being eliminated (which plant foods don’t because, as you point out they travel much more quickly). Anyway, as a counter to your dead vegetarian friend and sick teenage acquaintances, I haven’t eaten meat in over 20 years and my daughter who is 16 has never eaten meat (we do eat eggs, some fish occasionally and goat cheese) and we are healthier than most people our respective ages. But we also follow a very healthy diet.

  3. meat countries life expectancy
    Canada: 81.2
    USA: 78.1
    UK: 78.9
    France: 80.9
    Germany: 79.1
    Norway: 79.8

    Veggie countries life expectancy:
    India: 69.3
    Nauru: 63.8
    Micronesia: 70.7
    Any of the southeast asian countries: around 70 +/- 2 years
    In fact, only Japan seems to break the trend with 82.1 Even South Korea just squeaks over 77.

    This also tells me that modern medical care does much, much more for life expectancy than a mostly vegetarian diet.

  4. Historically, it’s not even possible for humans who lived further north than 45 latitude to have not eaten meat is a primary food source – that’s a simple fact of climate… you can’t be a Celt living in Scotland and subsist on nuts and berries… you’ll be eating a lot of sheep and goats and cattle. If you lived on Iceland, you’re eating fish, period. So to say that humans were designed for this fruit and nut diet denies reality. We’re omnivores. Our physiology is intended to eat what we can get. Maybe 100000 years ago we were scrounging nuts and berries, but those days are long, long gone. We can’t even digest cellulose any more – one of the primary constituents of vegetable material – so when you eat a plant most of it just goes straight through. Most people lack the enzymes to properly digest legumes (beans, beans the musical fruit!). There’s no clearer statement of “you’re not really meant to eat that” than “your body can’t digest it or can’t digest it without technological tricks like Beano and Lactaid” (Yes, I can rant about milk drinking too πŸ™‚ )

    The primarily vegetarian countries (with pitifully low life expectancies, like India, the various nations of Africa, the pacific islands, etc.) all happen to be places where you can grow food year round. Many of them also happen to have a relative dearth of meat. They also have short life-expectancies. It is VERY VERY hard to get the nutrients you need from a vegetarian diet. It’s doable in Canada/US/civilized Europe because we are wealthy with the resources to acquire appropriate and adequate vegetable material and there’s a chance that people who are interested can learn to do what is needed, but in general it is not a feasible way to live a long life for most people in the world. And the only way you’ll feed the world vegetarian is to have a lot less people on it – we’ll need the space for agricultural land.

    The most gung-ho vegetarian health nut I knew died at age 42 of a heart attack. I’ve known a few teens who chose to go veg, but they all became ill to a greater or lesser degree. At present nobody in my life is a vegetarian, something for which I am grateful. I do actually have a level of respect for people who decide to become vegetarians for health reasons (even though I think they’re wrong and very likely endangering their health). I have less than no respect for people who won’t eat meat for PETA-like reasons.

  5. XUP says:

    Where are the stats coming from that say people living in countries where vegetarian diets are the norm have lower life expectancy??? Because everything I’ve read and heard states unequivovally that a vegetarian diet raises your life expectancy and makes you less prone to life threatening diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. And, yes we certainly need to slow down the rapid population growth, but we should also cut down on our consumption of animals. Yes, people have been eating animals for thousands of years, but not as their primary food source as it is now. For centuries animals provided supplementary nutrition During times when other food sources were not available. A human being’s natural diet is based on a high percentage of grains and nuts, with vegetable matter to round it out and some animal products when necessary. Everything about our physiology support that.

  6. trashee says:

    @squid-dude… you’re only partially right… and GD can back me up on this… (last HAE) the consumption of high demand (from a calories per hectare critrerion) foods is so far out there that the population increase ratio can nowhere near make up the diff even if we dropped to less than 1 kid per.
    I do agree that archaic, middle ages institutions are doing nothing to help food security (nor a single positive thing by my count) but, uh, some of us do need to procreate a bit cuz we’ll be extinct inside 90 years if we don’t.
    And hell ya – it’s pretty fun too!!
    Ah, you’re still pissed about my people without kids are idiots post πŸ™‚

  7. >>It’s an unnecessary and unsustainable practice
    >>and it might be more worthwhile if we could get
    >>the next generation thinking about that instead.

    Absolutely, 1000% incorrect.

    It is a completely necessary and sustainable practice as it has been for thousands of years. There is a reason why the countries where vegetarian diets are the norm also happen to have generally low life expectancies.

    The unnecessary and unsustainable practice is the ongoing overpopulation of the planet by people who feel it is their duty to raise up a brood. As long as we keep filling the world with extra mouths to feed, ALL other practices become unsustainable because their unsustainability is a symptom, not a cause. It’s not just feeding the unwashed horde that’s a problem… just look at our social system – it’s a pyramid scheme based on the idea that we can squeeze off more and more puppies to pay the old codgers who went before. It won’t work. It can’t work. We need a new paradigm for social services and use of resources (including food) that involves less people.

    Every couple who even has 2 children is doing their part to ensure that the future looks ever grimmer for those who are around. You want to save the earth, you start with birth control and small families world-wide. That means slapping the Catholic church *HARD* because their work to oppose birth control where its most desperately needed is the single biggest unsustainable, damaging practice happening on the planet at the moment. Once the global population is in check, then it might be time to look at philosophical issues like whether tasty but cute animals should be eaten.

    If we could get the next generation thinking “I’m not going to people the planet with my spawn” we’ll be way further ahead than any lamb-hugging we might get them to do today.

    I have that shirt. I wear it around town too πŸ™‚ You can buy one here: http://store.theworstpageintheuniverse.com/shirts.html

  8. trashee says:

    Shucks – now XUP has to go all granola on us.
    It is difficult for me, as a meatatarian, to admit that raising ungulates as food is (gulp) unsustainable! Though in my line of work, we see research showing that it is so.
    I guess a purpose of this school exercise may have been to show the kids not only where meat “comes from”, but also to take responsibility for their eating decisions i.e., choosing meat means the end of a (yummy) life… and that may make the kiddies feel a bit yucky.

  9. XUP says:

    I’m not getting the lesson being taught in this school through the rearing and killing of animals. Lamb = food is NOT a simple reality actually. It’s an unnecessary and unsustainable practice and it might be more worthwhile if we could get the next generation thinking about that instead. And now you may all commence pointing and laughing at me.

  10. And, I might add, I could be convinced to donate some curry for Marcus.

  11. I can’t help but wonder who would be bitching and moaning about the death of the poor creature if it was a lobster from the class aquarium, rather than a cute, fuzzy little lamb.

    Lamb=food. That’s a simple reality. This is definitely a case where the children are showing wisdom beyond their years.

  12. trashee says:

    Hey! I support PETA!
    People for Eating Tasty Animals..

  13. gordon says:

    But opponents branded it heartless and cruel, with animal rights campaigners asking why Marcus could not have been used to teach the children about wool…

    Which is ironic because there are “animal rights campaigners” who think even shearing a sheep for its wool is “heartless and cruel”.

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