Butch and Sundance, two little porkers, also known as the Tamworth Two, were the ones who escaped from their lorry on the way to the abattoir and were reprieved, not turned into pork pies and chipolatas. This was in 1998 – but they are, as I read not long ago, still alive and porking on the pounds at an animal sanctuary near Ashford in Kent. Good on ya, piggies!
Seriously, they captured the nation's pity, sympathy and admiration for their flight from certain death. Their reward? A long life (for a pig) of relative ease.
Not surprising, therefore, to find that the common herd are just as sentimental and nonsensical about animals today as they were 12 years ago.
How do I know? See The cyber-fascists slaughtering a decent teacher in the Sunday Times today, 14 February.
The Head Teacher at a small school in Kent (same county as the Tamworth Two) decided to do something practical to educate children about where food comes from. Seems a worthwhile thing to me.
From the Sunday Times( with Rod Liddle's by-line):
Marcus, as a rather yummy (and fashionable) salt-marsh Romney lamb, was hand-reared by the staff and children of Lydd primary school, on Romney Marsh to show the kids where our food comes from. There was a survey out recently which showed that 10% of schoolchildren think we get cheese from rats.
Surprised? I'm not. On 29 March 09 I blogged on this very subject. Look it up on Blogspot! The Head is exactly right. Children, and many, many adults in the UK have no idea where food comes from or how it actually gets into the shrink-wrapped packets at Tesco.
More from the Rod Liddle:
There were plenty of other things the kids didn’t know about food, and where it came from, quite apart from the rat-cheese misapprehension thing. There is a general view that children these days are a bit ignorant about what they eat, divorced from the process which brings KFC Zinger Burgers and micro-chips to their plates. Lydd primary school tried to address this problem, with the help of Marcus. Which is where it all went wrong.
Right on Rod! So, what's the problem? Yep, you guessed it – it's those folks who are the worst people to have children – the parents.
Marcus was hand-fed and then there came the day when he was looking especially plump and juicy and the headmistress, Andrea Charman, decided it was time to electrocute him down at the abattoir and divide him into chops. That, after all, was the point of Marcus. To be served lightly grilled, pink inside, with asparagus spears and Jersey Royals and mint. But then all hell broke loose, even before someone — maybe mice, who knows? — had made the gravy.
The kids’ parents — or some of them — demanded that Marcus should be allowed to live, because he was a nice sheepy. Rightly, Charman refused, saying: look, this is precisely what we need the children to learn; this is how the world is, especially here on Romney Marsh. Sheep are food. So Marcus was zapped and quartered, as sheep are.
Key point: the Head was trying to show kids where lamb chops come from. This is an important bit of info to learn in life, really. It's not clear whether the Head was proposing to have said Marcus chops on the school menu.
It was at this point that the endlessly hyperactive, bone-headed online fascists got involved and last week, Charman, who had been hand-picked to turn round this hitherto failing school, felt forced to resign from her job for “personal reasons”. Some 2,500 cretins started an online petition calling for the beleaguered head teacher to be sacked. It is entirely possible that none of them whatsoever had any connection to Lydd primary school. However, the campaign of vilification and vituperation had begun.
Another Facebook site was set up by 650 similarly sad, lifeless, drongoes, demanding not merely that Charman be sacked but — and I quote — to Ban Andrea Charman From Teaching Anywhere. Can you imagine the sort of people who would associate themselves with such a cause?
I can. Maybe you can. Rod can. Can anyone else? Particularly, anyone in a position to do anything about it?
It was at this point that the endlessly hyperactive, bone-headed online fascists got involved and last week, Charman, who had been hand-picked to turn round this hitherto failing school, felt forced to resign from her job for “personal reasons”.
Charman’s local MP, Michael Howard, bemoaned her departure and said that the internet campaign “had implications for the future of society”. Too right. Charman’s resignation is obviously a defeat for education and rationality, seeing that she was trying to educate the kids as to how food appears on our plates.
So, who's to blame? What's to be done? It's a tough one. There are, evidence would seem to point to, a lot of fairly stupid people in Lydd. This is (fortunately, or unfortunately) not a crime.
I'll take the unpopular view, Michael Howard should have insisted that the Head be persuaded to stay. The Head should have refused to be bullied. The “hyperactive, bone-headed on-line fascists “should have had their bluff called.
You don't expose ignorance by pretending it doesn't exist.
These people need educating. So do their children. Sounds like Lydd and the country have lost a good teacher.
Serves them right.