School Kids Raise Lamb; Send It to the Abbatoir


I read this story earlier today about a group of English schoolchildren who raised a lamb for several months.  Then, by a 13-1 vote, they decided to send the lamb to the slaughterhouse, its intended destination all along.  Yes, the kids, through their elected council of 6 to 11 year olds, voted to end the lamb’s life.

Of course, parents and animal rights groups were up in arms.  They claimed that the kids could have learned about how wool is made instead.  The money raised from the lamb was supposed to be used to buy some piglets to raise.  Those plans are now on hold.

I actually applaud the school for doing this.  We are a society of meat eaters.  Whether it’s the burger or nuggets from McDonald’s, the pepperoni on the pizza, or the bacon you had for breakfast, an animal gave its life for that meal.  Teaching children about the reality of the source of our food is important.  Might it result in more vegetarians?  Probably, and that’s not a bad thing.  I try to remind my children about meat, and no matter how you look at it, it’s inhumane to eat it.  But it’s also the way our world works, and as long as we attempt to understand this process, we’re better off.  And as you know, I’m nowhere close to being a vegetarian.

I almost wonder if groups like PETA would actually be better off if they promoted this type of exercise everywhere.  Yes, one animal would be sacrificed, but if just one child becomes a vegetarian as a result, think of how many animals would be saved.  It’s a philosophical and moral dilemma for sure, but an interesting one.


12 Responses to School Kids Raise Lamb; Send It to the Abbatoir

  1. John Zurovchak says:

    Dean – great story with a very good lesson. In particular, your final paragraph is a very good point that we all need to consider. I will be forwarding this one around for consideration.

    Well done!


  2. Melissa says:

    And, not to mention, many meat breeds of sheep do not produce wool that is suitable for spinning.

  3. In my part of the country (Midwest – Ohio) – it is quite usual for children to raise animals for county fairs with the entire enterprise intended to conclude with sale of the animal for slaughter as meat. The animals are judged, ribbons are awarded, and the animal is auctioned. My CSA farmer does this with her children – I don’t understand why anyone would have a problem with this, for all the reasons Varmint stated.

  4. CSorey says:

    For some reason, as I read this “Lord of the Flies” kept coming to mind.

    I’d like to see the Wake County schools follow this example but with pigs. At the end of the school year, they could have a Pig Pick’n.

  5. David Williams says:

    Inhumane to eat meat? I disagree.

  6. Dave says:

    I have to agree with David Williams. It’s not inhumane to eat meat, if only because it’s a contradiction. We’re omnivores, hence it’s in our nature to eat meat.

    You can make the case, though, that most industrial farming is “inhumane”, since a lot of meat farming is “extremely cruel or brutal”.
    This book:
    does a good job of portraying conventional pork production as being pretty inhumane.

  7. Dave says:

    And also, I think it would be a great learning experience for any class to raise an animal for food.

  8. Varmint says:

    I guess it comes down to the meaning of the word, “inhumane.” The definition that I use is “lacking and reflecting lack of pity or compassion.” I would argue that we never even think about the meat we are eating, and the animal that gave its life for that meal. As a result, we are indeed lacking pity or compassion.

    Now I would certainly argue that eating meat is by no means immoral or wrong. We as a society just typically don’t care about the animal.

  9. Recon says:

    Everyone is entitled to make their own choices, but when a group like PETA forces it’s choices on others, it’s going too far.

    Showing kids the reality of the food we eat is a great idea, not from the perspective of creating more vegetarians, but to allow them to appreciate what is involved.

    I’m a firm believer that every animal has it’s place…right next to the mashed potatoes…

  10. Tom from Raleigh says:

    People often think of the cost of eating meat framed by the effect on the animal, but I think animals are stupid without the capacity to think. I feel more guilt over the butcher who is missing fingers or for the pig farmer who dies in a farming accident. Those thinking feeling people gave more of themselves than they wanted to, so that I could eat.

  11. Justin says:

    I think this was a great exercise. Back when more people lived on farms and groups like 4H were more popular than they are now, kids learned about the everyday process of raising animals and growing food; making the connection between field (or corral/barn) and plate much more clear. While kids should learn to support humane treatment of animals and responsible and sustainable food practices, projects like this ensure that the idea of “humane treatment” doesn’t shift into the irrational anthropomorphizing of animals. I’ve always respected how many farmers I know love and take good care of their animals but in the end are emotionally mature enough to remember that it is still an animal.

  12. amanda says:

    I just wanted to pipe in and say I really respect what you had to say in this blog. I appreciate when people exercise the “humane” act of not judging others for their actions… eating meat or not eating meat. both sides can be equally judgmental. kudos.

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