Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Where food comes from...

Recently this food related story caught my eye.

In order to teach children about the realities of food production (carrots come covered in earth, potatoes don’t grow chip shaped on trees – that sort of thing), a school in Kent set up a smallholding complete with vegetable patch and livestock.

Meat production is something that has become so sanitised and the end product so far removed from the realities of raising and killing an animal that I applaud the efforts of the head teacher in her attempts to make her pupils aware of where meat actually comes from.

It was made clear from the very beginning of the project that Marcus the sheep would be slaughtered and the meat sold off to pay for some piglets (not only are the kids learning about husbandry but also rudimentary economics. Brilliant).

As the slaughter date grew closer, a group of parents decided to launch a campaign to save Marcus. Despite support from tabloid fave Paul O’Grady, they were (rightly) unsuccessful in their attempts and the sheep met his inevitable fate a couple of days ago.

Cue outrage. The headmistress has been labelled a murderer and one parent, whose daughter, in the most delicious of ironies is called Liberty (Liberty?! Armando Ianucci couldn’t come up with a better tale), is threatening to sue the local education authority for alleged distress suffered by her daughter.

It is a sad, sad state of affairs when we have become so far removed from the realities of eating meat that some people, despite being willing to consume it, are in denial about the consequences of it.

If you eat meat then something has to have its throat cut, that is just the way it is. Well done to the headteacher for implementing this and I can only hope that more schools follow her lead. And that the only form of compensation offered is a rosemary studded leg of lamb.