In May, Daylesford Secondary Collage in Australia decided to participate in a national competition called Young Gourmet. The point of the competition is to encourage awareness and experience with traditional farming methods.
To that end, the school purchased a pig with the intent of having students raise it before having the animal slaughtered and turned into bullboar sausages to enter into the competition.
Several students, led by one Freeman Trebilcock, 17, objected to the plans to slaughter the pig. Trebilcock was among a group of students who circulated a petition which 100 students ultimately signed asking for the pig to be spared.
School officials would have none of it, saying that the pig was purchase for the purpose of the food competition, and had the animal slaughtered in July and students made the sausages for sale at a local food fair. According to Australia Associated Press,
Brooke Santurini, who was part of the 11-member student group that entered and voted to remain in the competition, said she was surprised and angered by the student opposition.
“We are a rural school,” she said.
“A lot of people, the parents of our students, they are farmers, that’s their living. We are not doing anything illegal; we haven’t done anything cruel to the animal.”
Ms Santurini said the pig was kept at the back of the school and was only visible to students who chose to visit it.
“They knew the pig was coming to the school because we were going to make bullboars out of it,” she said.
“If someone wanted to see the pig it was their choice to see it, they chose to get personally attached. The main positive that came out of it is it is bringing the students to realise that is where our food comes from.”
Animal rights activists and their allies complained the school was causing potential psychological damage to the children at the school and would burden them with guilt by slaughtering the pig.
Bernie Williams, executive producer of a new Charlotte’s Web film, fired off an e-mail to the school saying, in part,
I have worked with pigs over the past 11 months and I have so much respect for these animals. The bullboar sausages will soon be forgotten after the food fair, but the guilt of killing this pig which has been domesticated will last forever on those that have a conscience.
Meanwhile, Animal Liberation Victoria offered to provide legal assistance to any students who wanted to sue the school and the Education Department for causing “torment and distress.”
Furore as Charlotte made into sausages. Channel Nine (Australia), July 24, 2005.
Plea to spare animals from sausage meat. The Courier (Asutralia), July 21, 2005.