Anorak News | A Bolt From The Blue

A Bolt From The Blue

by | 17th, March 2006

‘NO one gets out of here alive. So goes the message at Spenborough Abattoir, near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Escaping the chop

But rules are made to be broken, and we read in the Express of Larriet the lamb.

We pick up the story in a holding shed, where a nameless ewe, part of a batch of 60 Swaledale sheep, is giving birth.

Things go well. And before long a wee lamb is standing on shaky legs and mewling for its mother’s milk. Only mum is about to be offed, and since the lamb is part of the herd, rules state that it too must go the way of so many chops.

The doors open and in step the hired killers. They spot the lamb and they take pity. As abattoir director David Gawthorpe tells the paper: “None of the lads would kill the lamb – 10 of them said no. Both the lamb and ewe are fit and healthy and everything has a right to live.” (Until it is killed by a bolt to the head, naturally.)

But rules are rules – the lamb had to die. The abattoir asked the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs to make an exception. “We told Defra to do it themselves and they wouldn’t do it,” says Brian Mallinson, who manages the slaughterhouse.

But Defra still wanted the lamb and ewe to be killed. So the abattoir hired Stephen Lomax, a barrister, to plead their case. Lomax made repeated calls to Defra. “We do no want to kill a newborn lamb just for bureaucrats”, he says. Not even for their lunch.

Time ticked by. And then a call: the lamb would be spared. But what of mum? Lomax continued his appeal. And with just an hour to go before the ewe was to be silenced, she too won a reprieve.

Ewe and lamb will now be moved from the abattoir to a farm, where they will gambol in the fields and, as the Mail says, live out their lives in contentment on a breeding farm.

From where Larriet will lead a campaign to be reunited with her father, who is, alas, still missing…’

Posted: 17th, March 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink