Sheep racing should never have had to overcome this hurdle
As reported a few weeks back on walesandborders.com, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) were due to conduct an investigation into sheep racing at Shropshire’s Hoo Farm (April decision on Sheep Grand National). Now they’ve revealed their findings. And surprise, surprise, they’re "satisfied the welfare of sheep was not compromised”.
I could’ve told you that. In fact I did, last month (Black Sheep, Welsh Border Life, May 2018). It’s just a shame Hoo Farm were dragged through the mire and made to look like pariahs by animal rights activists.
Yes, of course, this sadly is a world in which animal cruelty is rife. Anyone who saw BBC Wales’ recent, horrific exposé of badger baiters in South Wales will vouch for that. But to lump Hoo Farm in with such wanton barbarism by hauling them up in front of the rabid online den of activism, such that they were branded ‘evil’ and ‘scum’, was nothing short of reckless.
So I, for one, am pleased as punch for them.
"We’re delighted to announce the return of the world famous sheep steeplechasing this Saturday,” they told reporters earlier in the week. "After a review of the racing and the entire farm by two vets from the Animal and Plant Health agency on the 19th April, they were 'satisfied that the welfare of the sheep was not compromised by being involved in the racing’.”
The APHA did offer recommendations “to help with the perception of racing and to help make it safer”, but they had to write something.
And what of Lambentations, the dyed-in-the-wool pressure group who sparked this sorry affair?
“All our hard work undone by the Animal and Plant Health Agency” is all they could tweet.
What hard work? An online petition, launched in five minutes, that made the lives of those at a perfectly acceptable farm attraction a misery for weeks on end?
It makes you wonder who are the real sheep here.
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