Farsley Farfield Primary School

Pigs join Farfield Farm

Our new pigs have created quite a stir and have settled in very well. They have plenty of space to root around in. They particularly enjoy looking for windfall apples that the children have hidden around their enclosure. The pigs are of the heritage Gloucester Old Spot breed that used to be kept in orchards  and, according to folklore, their black spots are bruises from falling apples. They are the perfect breed for Farfield Farm.

Through keeping the pigs, the children will learn more about the provenance of their food and issues around animal welfare. We will be investing in information boards for outside the enclosure. The pigs will not be pets and will only be with us for 9 months. The pigs will have a life twice as long as modern commercially-reared breeds and will have a truly free range life.

Children will go into the enclosures during farming sessions if they wish (and whilst the pigs are small). Everyone must keep their hands away from the pigs’ snout and mouth.  If a person touches the pigs, they should use the hand-wash on the fence to sterilise their hands on the way out. Children don’t need to use the handwash if they haven’t touched the pigs.

Families are very welcome to go into the viewing area before or after school, but please DO NOT feed the pigs anything at that time.  Juniors can go into the viewing area at playtime but, again, should not feed the pigs.


I would request that Muslim families discuss with their children the extent to which they should engage with the pigs so that they are clear. There is a range of opinion, with some children asking to stroke the pigs – with gloves on perhaps – others viewing from a distance and others not wishing to go anywhere near. To help us get this right for your family, we would be grateful if Muslim families would kindly complete this very brief questionnaire for each of their children: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Farfieldpigs


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  • Melanie Ward says:

    Such a great value add to the school farm. A great way to extend children’s learning and understanding of the food chain, animal welfare and how pigs live that goes beyond the classroom.

  • Ellen (Rhys and Erin’s Mum) says:

    Really love the idea of teaching kids about life cycles and animal welfare in the real world, not just in books. Welcome little piggies.

  • Tanya Hepton says:

    Despite some individual’s views on social media I think having the pigs on the farm is a brilliant idea.
    All of my children have been brought up knowing where our food comes from and it does not stop them eating any of it.
    Setting aside this it is also a chance for children from all walks of life to see and or be close to a farm animal which they may not get the chance to ever see other than on tv etc.
    Fantastic and I hope this keeps going for many years and the future generation.

  • STEPHEN WARD says:

    I’m fully behind the pig idea

  • Melissa says:

    Another fantastic opportunity for the kids to learn.

  • Jade Thomson says:

    fab addition to the school, my daghter is very excited to have them in the school and what a great way for the children to learn the true food cycle

    • Tony says:

      The food cycle is a way of describing a natural process. The farming of animals is not a natural process, and is not something that is naturally occuring in nature.

      Therefore children being taught this is where “food” comes from in no way teaches them the natural way, all it does is reinforces the idea of speciesism. This is the idea that some animals are meant to be consumed, while others should be protected.

      If you truly believe that this method teaches children about the food cycle, then surely you should also be raising dogs at the school to also be sent off and consumed. As this is something that does happen in other parts of the world and in these places this would also be considered part of the food cycle?

      If you don’t agree with this, or this idea disgusts you ask yourself why that is. What about that idea goes against your moral system?

      Would you send a dog to a slaughterhouse to be killed if they were unwell? If not why?

      Would you want to be raised for the sole purpose of being consumed? If not, why not? If you’re willing to put others through this you should also be willing to accept it foe yourself.

  • Mx DeMartino says:

    I find it odd that this is considered by some parents learning about the food chain when domesticating animals for agricultural purposes is about as far from the natural order as you can get.
    Pigs can live to be as old as twenty years, though most don’t make it that long. These pigs will still be babies if they are sent to slaughter at nine months old.
    I think they are very cute and I hope many children befriend them and that they will live long and happy lives.

  • Carol Boardman says:

    I think what you are doing is disgraceful why not teach the children to show compassion. all lives matter how can you let the children engage and become attached to the animals then after a very short life span kill them. You are showing them nothing good animals are not food they have as much right to a life as you do.

  • C says:

    While I think it is important for children to truly understand the foods they are consuming, I don’t think that normalising and desensitising children to the meat industry and domesticating wild animals is a wise choice. I hope these beautiful little piggies get a long and happy life and do not get inhumanly killed for the greed and wrong doings of us humans.

    • Peter Harris says:

      Good evening Caitlin. I think that we are raising awareness of the meat industry, and some of the issues around animal welfare and sustainability. I don’t agree that this project has anything to do with greed. The pigs will live twice as long as commercial pigs and appear to be enjoying their outdoor life with plenty of opportunity to root around. Their welfare standards are much higher than most pigs. I don’t think that we are desensitizing the children: I suggest that our children will be more knowledgeable and sensitive to animal welfare than most of their peers.

      • Ms Lisa Claridge (BA hons) says:

        I am a vegan and extremely proud of living a compassionate healthy spiritual life style I am also saving the planet from destruction because the rearing of innocent animals to be murdered and butchered in the most horrific way imaginable where they are electricuted and hung upside down with their throats slit and in agony and terror they die the most terrible horrific cruel death. All of that suffering of the innocent just so that a few selfish people can eat their murdered bodies quite honestly disgusts me through to my very core. The idea you have at this school for children who have become close to these beautiful animals who are now very tame like pets is I think the most disgusting thing I heard of in a very very long time. It is psychopathic. How could you possibly treat these innocent beautiful pet tame pigs in this way in front of children and publicly. You should be investigated by animal welfare organizations and most certainly the animal rights movement should make you a priority. I am absolutely disgusted beyond words. These animals should go to an animal sanctuary where they will be cared for properly for the rest of their long lives. Pigs live naturally long lives and you can tell the children before you have them brutally murdered that pigs are more intelligent than dogs and that they are even capable of abstact thought and play games of fetch the ball just like dogs do. I have been involved myself for many years in animal welfare and have known a number of pigs who are absolutely fantastc. You are an absolute disgrace and I think the school should be investigated and closed down I just cannot believe that you are being allowed to get away with such obcenity. I am glad that I do not have any children who are pupils at your school I would take them out immediately. You are also extremely insensitive to the most important issues currently happening on our planet when it has just been announced by the government and Greenpeace that rearing animals for the meat flesh industry is the biggest cause of global warming and carbon emmisions. You should be educating the children at your school about vegetarianism and veganism of how it is much more compassionate to love animals and much kinder and better for our planet otherwise the planet and all life on it will not survive, You are a terrible school I am appalled at you. I will now be contacting other animal welfare organizations and I think you should be publicly disgraced. Children naturally love animals and should be taught to love and respect all animals with compassion and wonder at how amazing they are. Icannot even begin to imagine serving up for a meal these tame pets and especially to innocent children it is the sick mind of a psychopath. The worst horror story imaginable the insensitivity is hard to contemplate, I hope you never sleep again at night I hope that the spirits of these murdered pigs come back to haunt you and their screams of terror keep you awake at night forever. I hope your horrible wicked school is haunted and that is also a strong possibility. God does not appreciate such callous disrespect for his creations and you can also teach that to the poor children at your backward school.

  • Adilys Ramirez says:

    Children education about animal welfare could save the planet, as well as family planning and birth control

  • Keith Ideson says:

    Well done, a marvellous idea teaching children about where food comes from. I too went to a school with a farm with pigs, beef cattle a laying flock of chickens as well as chickens reared for the table. Some of the meat produced was served up to us in the school canteen. It would be fair to say that the experience taught me that sometimes hard decisions have to be made and prepared me for a life able to face up to whatever the world would throw at me. It’s reassuring to know that there will be children that understand how food is produced.

  • Marie Ashton says:

    I think this is totally wrong to be honest! If my daughter came to this school she would be traumatised at the thought of animals which she had grown fond of and seen on a regular basis being slaughtered for food. It would be like eating your pet dog!
    Please don’t do this, instead consider keeping the pigs and teach the children about looking after animals properly and with respect. Most will probably only have experience of looking after domestic pets so to gain this knowledge first hand would be fantastic for them.

  • A says:

    Will the children be watching the slaughter too? Or is this another case of white washing reality and making out that animals on farms are treated like these pigs are?

    This isn’t about welfare but propoganda on part for the meat eating community who want their children to be brainwashed into thinking it’s ok to kill animals for food.

    How about do the same with dogs next and see how well that goes down?

    • Peter Harris says:

      There are educational boards in production that explain that these pigs are better treated than the vast majority of pigs. These boards also encourage people to greatly reduce their meat intake. We are getting criticised some vegetarians/vegans and, at the same time, by some meat eaters who think that the project is a veggie-conspiracy. I hope that our children have an educated view and make informed, balanced decisions when they are adults.

      • Elaine Bamford says:

        I have just seen a report on “Loose Women” today (29/4/19) about your pigs and the fact they are being raised for slaughter to educate the children about farming and food origin. Whilst I applaud this idea, as too many children assume things come from supermarkets and meat is not animals, I am left with an overwhelming sadness to think of the fate of these lovely animals that the children have been nurturing. I was raised in Ripon and come from a farming background so have always known about meat and animal slaughter, but I would have been (and actually am, whilst reading about this) completely devastated if this had happened at my school. I am a qualified NNEB and have worked within many schools and would have been inconsolable if I had worked in this situation. Do the pigs really have to meet their end? Can the children not be taught about the trials of rearing animals, the expense, the care required and natural death etc without slaughter? Are they going to be sausages on the school menu? I am not against meat eating but for primary school children to rear these pigs only to have them slaughtered seems OTT to me, although I applaud your back-to-basics teaching strategy and the real world.
        I had to write with my thoughts because, at age 46, I am still devastated by hearing “Charlotte’s Web” read to me at school and crying for weeks over Charlotte’s (natural) death so can identify with how a lot of children may feel when the day comes for these lovely animals.

        • Peter Harris says:

          Thank you for your considered message Elaine. I am sorry that you are distressed by the plans. The meat won’t be served at school.
          We do have other animals at school (chickens) that are kept until the natural end of their life, but pigs would be too expensive to keep on that basis. Everyone was very clear about the fact that these pigs are reared for meat.

      • Tom says:

        This is a great idea – it is disappointing there is negative publicity from people who are quite happy to buy pre-packed intensively farmed meat from supermarkets but object to such well reared animals kept in a high welfare standard environment. My children fully understand where meat comes from, there is little point in pretending it magically finds its way onto Tesco shelves. Rest assured that the vast majority of people support your efforts and motives in educating the next generation, I wish our primary school leadership had the initiative to embark on this kind of project.

      • Keith Ideson says:

        I totally agree with you Peter, looking at the photos your welfare for the pigs is second to none. Given the facts about food production then the children are then in a position to choose wether to eat meat or not but wrapping them in cotton wool does them ultimately no favours.

      • John R Walker says:

        ‘These boards also encourage people to greatly reduce their meat intake.’

        Why? There is no scientific basis for this. Our digestive system is omnivorous and our choice of food should be our own. The benefits of meat consumption should be equally prominent – this is a necessary component of a balanced education. I totally approve of the school farm, the bees, etc. but your statement makes me wonder if the facility is being used for balanced education or indoctrination?

  • Martha says:

    What will the children be learning, exactly? Propaganda about how nicely animals are treated before their throats are slit? How about you show them the full spectrum, including how animals are killed. If it’s too graphic to show children, perhaps we shouldn’t be giving suffering to them on plates.

    • Peter Harris says:

      We have one meat free day a week for our school meals and a vegetarian option every day.

  • Cintia Yankelevich says:

    I just read the article on line about the school’s intention to ‘send to slaughter ‘ the two pigs, most likely to have names, that you keep in the school grounds as part of an ongoing education programme so children can learn where their food comes from….As a vegan myself, you might imagine, this is really very bad news! The programne on channel 4 last week, Food Unwrapped, was on Veganism, without even getting into Animal Cruelty, it is already official that Agriculture and the meat industry are responsible for the mayority of the polution
    ,contamination and global warming!!! The planet is in estate of Emergency !!! Our HEALTH is in an estate of emergency!! ( I invite you to research these facts by yourself) And you want to kill those two innocent pigs that have done nothing to teach them a lesson?? The real lesson would be if the children are taken to the slaughter house an witness themselves not only from, but HOW their (also unhealthy) food comes to their plates! Let them experience first hand the screams, the blood, the ‘scale’ of the masacre, the sadness, the dispair, the look in the face of thousands of innocent beings that don’t want to die, just like you and me, we dont want to die. The Vegan movement is growing more than 300% a year, the fastest growing movement in history, why don’t you teach children about that!! Give them real choices! Show them the truth!
    Teach them compassion, teach them to look after ‘the vulnerable’, and not to take advantage of their innocence. Theach them that every life is PRECIOUS and THOSE kids are going to make a real change in the world !!! Know the truth and it will set you free. I hope this short comment makes you reconsider your actions, the fate of those two innocent pigs is in your hands, as well as the fate of the ‘innocent’ kids that come to your school to learn about life! In many ways, the fate of the planet is in your hands. We cannot save the world on our own, but we can all do something. Much love to all creatures, big and small, for a better world for everyone.

    • Peter Harris says:

      We won’t be taking the children to the abattoir but the environmental and health benefits from reducing meat consumption are part of the educational element of our school farm.

    • Hazel says:

      Research is very clear that veganism is not the route to save our planet and our health. Massively reducing consumption of animal products, yes, but not veganism. Veganism promotes vulnerable monoculture without decent fertilisers of the soil, lots of ploughing of fields releasing C02 that would be naturally sequestered under grassland and wasted grassland of unarable land where we could raise sheep/other animals to help feed the planet. Many people become sick and malnourished on vegan diet despite the best intentions. We need to find a middle ground that we can all work with. Crop rotation including letting animals on the land for some of the time is a better way forward.

      By the way, Do you know how many rabbits get accidentally slaughtered by combine harvesters harvesting wheat and grains?

  • Iris Dorloff says:

    Bitte tun Sie das nicht, ich denke die Kinder werden Traumatisiert, wenn Sie beim Schlachten der Schweine dabei sind. Lassen Sie die Schweine glücklich leben.

  • AD says:

    We teach children that killing/hurting others is wrong while at the same time we are saying it’s ok to kill something if we are going to shove it in our mouths, something we don’t even need to survive. This is hypocritical. Why can’t we teach compassion and kindness? There is no need for animals to be subjected to the terror and pain of slaughter. Pigs are highly intelligent. If this was being done to dogs it would be a very different story. Please don’t do this, there is no need. Let these pigs live a long and happy life.

  • David P. S. says:

    Dear Peter Harris,

    there is a lot of outrage about the planned slaughtering of the pigs right now. I’ve read an articel from germany, where the authors say that it’s is planned, to fulfill the slaughter right in front of the eyes of your pupils. Some as youg as four years.

    Is this a matter of fact, or how exactly is it going to be, if it will happen?

    Thank you in advance

    • Peter Harris says:

      No David, of course the pigs aren’t going to be slaughtered in front of the children.

      • Rebecca says:

        If it’s ok to kill these pigs (in your opinion and based on your plans I assume this is your opinion) then why aren’t these children seeing the pigs slaughtered? If it’s not barbaric or cruel (which I imagine you don’t think it is if you’ll let these happy animals go through it) then why aren’t you nominating a child or two to kill the pigs? Or at least be there and watch the pig be shot in the head and butchered. If you don’t do that then all you’re giving the students is a false experience of the life if a pig and a hidden reality they will never see, one of death and brutality. It doesn’t matter if you tell them pigs aren’t usually raised this way and their slaughter is messy and painful, all they’ll remember is the happy pigs living a nice life at their school then the magical appearance of bacon without the horrible part in between

        Please do not do this. It’s misleading and brainwashing future generations and quite frankly it is cruel to the pigs. You shouldn’t have the right to do any of that.

  • Penny ridoutt says:

    As a school you should be ashamed of yourselves. These pigs have been raised as pets!!!!!
    You all welcome these little pigs but to slaughtered them !!!!!

    • Peter Harris says:

      They haven’t been raised as pets. We were all very clear about this.

      • Cici says:

        That these pigs are not going to be “pets” was your idea and assumption. But, obviously, nobody agress with that. Let the pigs live.

      • Christine Hainsworth says:

        If you really mean what you say about teaching the children about where meat comes from, surely you should also take them on a trip to the slaughterhouse -you could wait outside and just listen- and then serve the meat at school? To rear them and then for them just to ‘disappear’ one day teaches the children nothing except that there’s a nice way to raise pigs.

  • Simon Gray says:

    The school should be congratulated in bringing such an opportunity to its pupils to learn where their food comes from. The whole project looks like it has been handled with care and sensitivity throughout. Well done sir for giving pupils the information for them to make their own life choices

  • Nicky Villars says:

    What a brilliant head teacher and it sounds like the sort of school my children (and I) would have loved. I wish more schools could be so forward thinking and help educate children about where our food comes from.

  • Ix Willow says:

    Please read this blog, the two posts in it contain what has been ignored by journalists. https://idonteatfriends.home.blog/

    Save the piggies! Send them to a sanctuary! Or keep them at the school, I’m sure if you started a crowd funder you would be able to raise plenty of money to let them live our their natural lives!

  • Christine Dixte says:

    I think that you are wrong to teach children that it’s alright to slaughter an animal for human consumption.

    Moreover, they will still be innocent babies when they are murdered and made into sausages.

    Teach these youngsters that an animal has the right to live a long and decent life.
    Each and every living creature on our wonderful planet deserves far better than what you have in plan.

    Please do reconsider and send these animals to a sanctuary where they belong.

  • Tony says:

    I would just like to ask how pigs being raised on the school farm will aid the children in learning about animal welfare?

    Surely all this achieves is children slowly becoming attached to the pigs over the 9 months, at which point they will be told that the pigs are going to be killed. This will likely cause alarm or distress to the children who won’t want the pigs lives to be taken.
    This will in turn likely reinforce the idea of speciesism, which is believed by some to be the root of all forms of discrimination.

    You’ve also got the issue that you as a school will be contributing to animal agriculture as an industry. This means that you will be adding to the animal holocaust.

    As you are an educational institution i’d like to ask you a question;
    What trait is present in animals, that if present in humans, would justify raising and killing humans to be consumed?

  • Becca says:

    You have the chance to be on the right side of history here; I would implore you to examine the motivations behind this and maintain an ethical consistency. More and more people are awakening to the horrors we as a species have perpetuated. More & more people are seeing a direct correlation in the desecration & destruction of the planet as a whole & our superior attitude towards other life. Eating meat is not necessary, so why the compulsion to participate in an ‘industry’ that has been proven to cause such dire environmental & health issues? Not to mention the contention that consuming violence perpetuates a violent cycle – something that humans have never quite seemed to break. I believe we are on the cusp of a new age where we can break the continuation of violence & destruction, but this involves propagating a compassionate message that extends our consideration to beyond those we can identify with, to include all life. I see the intention of what you are doing & I guardedly say that it is admirable because I don’t believe there is malicious intent behind it. I believe you are trying to teach the children the realities of where ‘food’ comes from. However, you are sending a very dangerous message to your pupils & the world at large; that it is acceptable & without moral encumbrance to use living beings as property. You will not be on the right side of history if you send the pigs to slaughter as you are simply doing your bit in maintaining the current status quo, one which has seen its day and is dying. The pigs you have bought as property & then will send to their deaths may well have a better standard of living than billions of other lives within the animal agriculture ‘industry’, so perhaps your education could have been geared towards teaching the children the realities of what happens, not a snap shot rosy view that implicitly says it is ok to continue as normal. Please reconsider; please exercise compassion – that will teach a lesson that is invaluable. Life is the most precious gift that any of us have, please don’t steal that from 2 innocents simply because billions of others suffer the same fate. Get to know the individuals, respect them for who, not what, they are, and be part of the dawning of a new era – one of compassion & kindness. You have a massive responsibility to do the right thing, you do not need to have blood on your hands.

  • james says: