England

Devon farmer 'too upset' by slaughter gives lambs to Kidderminster sanctuary

Sivalingam Vasanthakumar
Image caption Sivalingam Vasanthakumar believes the lambs will be "looked after well"

A farmer who became too upset when taking his lambs to the abattoir gave his flock to an animal sanctuary.

Sivalingam Vasanthakumar, from Totnes, Devon, took the 20 male lambs nearly 200 miles (321km) to Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries, near Kidderminster.

Mr Vasanthakumar, a farmer for 47 years, said: "I just couldn't cope any more and I had to say no."

The sanctuary, which looks after 220 animals, said it had never received lambs from a farmer before.

Mr Vasanthakumar said he had previously worked as a dairy farmer with his parents in Sri Lanka but had also been a farmer in the UK for "many years".

"It was taking them to the slaughterhouse and that was stressing me out a lot," he said.

Mr Vasanthakumar said he also hated to see the "animals going through that stress".

Image caption The 20 lambs will live at the 91-acre sanctuary in Worcestershire

Mr Vasanthakumar decided to change his career several months ago when he would normally take the lambs to market.

"I realised this year, I couldn't do it. The emotional toll had become too much," he said.

He said he cooks Indian dishes and planned to sell these and his home-grown vegetables at a Totnes street market instead.

"I will still be in the farming world, but not livestock farming anymore," he said.

Sanctuary manager Dave Bourne said there were only a "handful" of sanctuaries the UK that rehomed rescued farm animals.

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