An 11 year old is defending her primary school's plans to slaughter pigs kept on its farm - here's why

by Georgina Morris

A pupil has come to the defence of her primary school after it was criticised over plans to slaughter pigs kept on its grounds.

Farsley Farfield Primary School in Leeds came under scrutiny when an online petition was set up in opposition to the plans for the two Gloucester Old Spot breed pigs being reared on its farm.

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Now, 11 year old Charlotte Heap has written to Yorkshire Evening Post editor Hannah Thaxter, saying Farfield is one of the best schools in the city and its pupils are lucky to go there.

In her letter, she says parents were consulted about the plans, the children have understood the pigs would go to slaughter from the start and "no one is upset" about it.

Farsley Farfield Primary School pupil Charlotte Heap says everybody there understands the pigs are destined for slaughter (Photo: Yorkshire Evening Post)

She sheds light on the school's award-winning work, what pupils learn from being able to spend time at Farfield Farm and what rearing the pigs has taught them.

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'We're not seeing the slaughter'

Speaking to the YEP about the letter, Charlotte said she had put pen to paper because she did not agree with an earlier article about the petition.

"We're not seeing the slaughter and we don't have anything to do with it," she said.

"The parents are definitely for it - most of them - and my headteacher made sure people from different religions who might not agree with it were OK. We don't have to see the pigs if we don't want to.

"Most of us are fine with the idea. Some of us quite like the pigs and brushing them down. We've all learned a lot from this - where our food comes - and Mr Harris is a vegetarian himself.

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Charlotte Heap and classmates with the pigs being reared on the school's farm (Photo: Yorkshire Evening Post)

"He wants people to make their own choices in life and to know where their food actually comes from. I think that's important."

Is the school teaching the right lesson?

The online petition urging headteacher Peter Harris to abandon the plans has been running for around six months now and has gathered more than 2,000 signatures.

Set up by a former pupil, it explains that she loved attending the school but was concerned about the message current pupils would take away from the animals being sent to slaughter.

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She wrote, "I am vegan for the animals, so my main concerns are with the well being of these pigs who don't deserve to die, and the message that we will be teaching the children at Farsley Farfield that it is okay to exploit and kill animals with the only justification being that people enjoy eating their bodies."

But Mr Harris defended the school's position, saying it would actually teach the children more about the provenance of their food and issues around animal welfare.

A number of parents also backed the decision and praised the school for the approach it was taking.

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister site, Yorkshire Evening Post