Press Release - Priestland Pigs

PRESS RELEASE

 

Priestlands Pigs

Our ambition at Priestlands is to develop well-rounded, young adults who can be respectful and responsible citizens. We aim to ensure they are well informed so that they are able to recognise all viewpoints and make their own decisions.

We have always been open and honest about the purpose of the pigs and have had them in our Walled Garden for many years, along with “retired” battery hens, ducks, pygmy goats and orphaned lambs.  Students voluntarily look after the animals and grow fruit and vegetables in our Walled Garden, which all visitors recognise as a stunning feature of the school. 

We respect the vegan philosophy but Priestlands School is proud to serve the whole community.  We want to educate our students about where their food comes from and to do this in a sustainable way as well as preparing students for employment locally. Many local jobs are still in farming and this includes rearing animals for meat.

 

When a parent first raised his concerns, the school immediately agreed that it would consult the wider school community about whether we should continue to have pigs in the future. Our preferred outcome was for this year's cohort of pigs to enter the food chain as planned and for us then to sit down and have a rational discussion about whether or not we continue to have pigs in the future. He made it clear that this would not be an acceptable outcome and, indeed, that no outcome other than the pigs not going to slaughter would be acceptable to him.

In summary, this left us two choices:

  1. We acquiesce to his demands and, in so doing, pre-empt the discussion about future plans without open and fair dialogue or consultation with the rest of the school community.

     

  2. The obvious alternative was for us to continue as planned, with the pigs going into the food chain at the end of February. However, the parent made it clear that, were we to go down this path, he would seek to launch a campaign to save the animals, which would include publishing the school's contact details.  We were not willing to spend the next four weeks fighting a battle which would be time-consuming and peripheral to our central mission of delivering the best possible provision to our students.

Therefore, last week, we decided that the best way forward was to hand back the pigs to their original owner. The original owner collected the pigs over the weekend, and this enables us to focus on our core purpose of running the school and will allow a proper consultation and discussion on whether we have pigs in the future.