4th February 2010
Campaigning animal group Viva! is hopping mad to learn that Penair School in Truro has been serving kangaroo and other so-called 'exotic meats' to pupils. This follows a move by the school's caterers to introduce dishes including kangaroo and crocodile to the menus* despite significant welfare and environmental concerns.
Viva! has written to Head Teacher - Dr. Barbara Vann - with details of the extensive cruelty involved in the slaughter of wildlife for meat and asked her to stop serving food containing it at the school. The group has also asked that the children be told the truth of how this meat has got to their plates, as it agrees with the school that "education is paramount".
Viva! is especially concerned by the collapse of kangaroo numbers in Australia, caused by a catastrophic drought and a commercial kill of over four million in 2009 (up by nearly 500,000 on the year before). Official figures show that there are less than half as many kangaroos in Australia today as there were in 2001. Viva! maintains that businesses selling 'exotic' meat - and schools in the UK serving it - could eventually see the extinction of several species.
"I'm sure children and parents at Penair school will be horrified to learn how kangaroo meat made its way to their school. Every year, millions of kangaroos are shot in the wild, at night - unmonitored and out of sight of any witnesses. The worst cruelty of all is reserved for baby 'joeys', hundreds of thousands of whom are all killed by being stamped on, smashed against wheel braces, by being decapitated or left to die of starvation in the bush. The story is little better for ostriches and crocodiles, all of which suffer enormously before being served up as meat. This school describes itself as caring, but needs to have an urgent rethink on policy where school meals are concerned as it is currently setting an appalling example to its students." says Viva! campaigns manager Justin Kerswell.
"It is sadly ironic that ones of the school's aims is to get children eating locally sourced produce, yet kangaroo meat is transported from the other side of the world! Vegetarian meals would be far healthier and certainly less carbon hungry.
"Wildlife belongs in the wild, not on people's dinner plates. What next? Tiger chops, dolphin steaks and koala burgers? We urge the pupils at Penair School to turn their backs on exotic meats. Of course, eating any animal causes suffering - the best way they can stop cruelty is to go vegetarian."
Notes for editors
Images of kangaroos and kangaroo shooting are available from Viva!
Viva! has campaigned against the destruction of wildlife for meat for many years and has persuaded all major supermarkets to withdraw exotic meats from sale. The only outlets now selling wild animals is a small chain of pubs and a few bistros and independent butchers. The outspoken group has also played a major part in the collapse of the UK ostrich industry, which has gone from sunrise to sunset in a few short years.
For more information about this media release contact press officer Helen Rossiter by calling 0117 970 4637 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or campaigns manager Justin Kerswell by calling 0117 944 1000 or emailing email@example.com. For out of hours media enquires please call 0794 453 3021.