Pig rearing school 'bombarded' by protest emails
A Suffolk primary school with 25 pupils has received 400 emails in protest against its scheme to rear three pigs.
Peasenhall Primary School is teaching the "provenance of food" by having children look after the animals before they are sent for slaughter.
A spokesperson for the school said some of the emails were "foul and abusive".
Protesters Colchester Animal Defenders said "slaughtering any animal for food" was "not necessary".
Liza Moore, head of Colchester Animal Defenders, encouraged people to call the school to voice their concerns but distanced herself from any abusive comments.
She said the group, which was set up about a year ago and has 246 members on Facebook, was a "peaceful protesting group".
She criticised the school: "They are desensitising the children and teaching them that pigs are lesser beings than us, and that is not right.
"All beings are equal, that is how we feel as vegans.
"We don't think schools should push meat as a healthy food option, especially in light of the horsemeat issue."
An online petition calling for the school to reconsider raising and killing the piglets claims to have more than 4,600 signatures.
The pig scheme was devised by Cook With Me Kids, which is based in Suffolk and aims to "teach children (and adults) the importance of real food".
Director Emma Haines said the criticism was "unfortunate" and admitted that some people might find the idea "shocking and extreme".
"We have to accept the fact that our children are eating meat and all we're saying is we can show people how they should be rearing meat.
"What you're teaching them is compassion."
Ms Haines said she was not promoting meat eating and expected some of the children to find they were not "comfortable" eating meat as a result of the scheme.
"I fully support that," she said.
"They will understand the slaughter process, the butchery process, the storage, everything - we are not hiding this."
The school said that it had "100%" support from the pupils' parents.
Suffolk Police said it had spoken with Colchester Animal Defenders and was offering reassurance to the school.