Cancelled School Pig Slaughter Project
This week I weighed in on a discussion around the pig project at Priestlands School. After ten years of keeping pigs for educational purposes, one parent has left the school with no choice but to remove the animals and give them back to their original owner. I fully understand that this parent who objected may be vegan, and has likely raised their child as vegan. I understand that these pigs could be distressing for a child who has been sheltered from a life of meat and dairy - or equally is painfully aware of some of the practices that occur in this industry. However, this is a reality of the world we live in and by threatening the school this parent has robbed all the children there of the opportunity to learn and make their own choices. These pigs have been cared for by the students and have always been very clearly intended for entering the food chain. I understand how strongly some feel that the taking of a life is wrong, no matter what. But perhaps a step back from this would reveal that all those children who did experience raising pigs at Priestlands are much better informed than many other children. These are the children who will grow up with balanced ideas and questioning minds. These are the children who will want higher animal welfare and care about the food on their plate because they understand where and how it’s produced. And maybe they’ll turn vegan. And maybe they won’t. But in my mind removing this reality is not a solution. It sends a message that eating animals is wrong. That keeping animals for human consumption is wrong. That farming is wrong. And so things just get pushed further out of sight and out of mind. We end up with children who are unaware of what they are eating resulting in the consumption of food that is really doing them more harm than good.
See below my thoughts on why I think it is important for schools such as Priestlands to be able to continue with these projects.
Food writer Millie Diamond, is hoping to make discussion of such topics more open, by blogging about her experience of going from ’Piglet to Plate’, to find out where her food is coming from.
Diamond, believes the school should have gone ahead with the project.
“Yes, we should be teaching children compassion towards animals but that starts with them understanding where their food comes from and how it is produced,” she said.
“These pigs have surely had a far better life than any factory farmed animal, and have provided an unrivalled learning opportunity for these children to see where their food comes from and make their own informed decisions about what they wish to consume.
“From my point of view, showing this entire process of raising an animal and connecting the dots is far more likely to encourage change, raising awareness of animal welfare and creating a better understanding of food provenance.”