May 24 2013 Latest news:
By Amie Keeley
Monday, March 11, 2013
POLICE said last night they were “monitoring” the situation at a Suffolk primary school after it came under fire from animal rights activists for a project in which pupils rear pigs before they are sent off to slaughter.
The Peasenhall Primary School project, to teach youngsters about the food chain, has led to hate mail and hundreds of complaints from animal rights groups.
Last night Suffolk County Council said it did not accept threatening behaviour towards staff and pupils and welcomed the involvement of police.
Officers have been in touch with both the school and protesters and say they will continue to monitor the situation.
The primary school, which has only 25 pupils, started the project late last month, is standing by the scheme, which has received widespread publicity.
The three pigs, crosses between Berkshire and Gloucester Old Spot pigs, are kept in a pen and fed and monitored by the children with the help of experts from Suffolk Smallholder Society.
A policewoman from Suffolk Constabulary said: “Police have been made aware of the contact between the protesters and the school and the farmer.
“We are in regular liaison with the school and the local community, offering reassurance to both where required. We have also been in contact with the animal rights demonstrators and continue to monitor the situation.”
The scheme is run in conjunction with Suffolk-based community interest company Cook With Me Kids.
Director Emma Haines said since the scheme launched hundreds of schools from around the country had been in touch praising the project.
She said: “It’s very sad that a minority group that are so against meat eating have done this but actually this whole project is about animal welfare.
“Families, farmers and producers are all standing together supporting us and speaking to the public who are saying, yes we want this education.”
She added: “We are not stopping the project and we have had hundreds of positive emails and contact from schools who say they want to take part.”
Protests have been led by a group calling itself the Colchester Animal Defenders, which encouraged people to call the school to raise concerns, the paper added.
Head teacher Kath Cook is reported as telling a national newspaper that she has spoken to police because of the level of harassment.
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “While we understand that some people might not agree with this project, we can not accept threatening behaviour towards staff and children at the school.
“We welcome the involvement of the police and would ask people to respect the fact that in a county with a strong agricultural and farming heritage, the school is trying to teach children about where food comes from. This is not about encouraging children to eat meat.”