Illegal School-Sponsored Slaughter Challenged
A courageous fifteen-year-old Clackamas High School student, Krista Brandtner, is standing up for sheep she saw brutally and illegally slaughtered during a Sabin-Schellenberg Agriculture Animal Sciences class.
As a part of the curriculum for Agricultural Science and Technology class, students participated in a Land Lab on North Clackamas School District property, and had a choice between making apple cider, or watching the slaughter of farmed animals. Dave Strickland, of the mobile slaughtering truck, Chief Daves Slaughtering Services, killed the sheep by slitting their throats and then, as they were bleeding, broke their necks by hand.
The scene that Krista described was gruesome, "They were gurgling blood and
twitching. One sheepıs heart was still beating while being skinning. I believe that sheep was still alive. One boy picked up body parts and threatened to touch the girls with it. Two girls were vomiting and others were crying. Some kids got blood splattered on them during one sheepıs demise." There was no teacher supervision during the slaughter and the adults conducting the slaughter were not talking to the students about what they were doing.
The slaughter was not done in accordance with state or federal provisions for humane slaughter which state, "Sall animals are rendered insensible to pain by a single blow or gunshot or an electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and effective, before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast,or cuts"
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Polite calls and emails needed!
Let Ron Naso, the Superintendent of North Clackamas County School District, know that you read the Oregonian story about the controversial slaughter. Politely ask him to immediately remove this illegal slaughter from the curriculum.
Also request that the district include a humane education component to the curriculum for this Agricultural Science and Technology class.
Superintendent of North Clackamas County School District
District Scrutinized for Slaughter
Friday, October 08, 2004
Freshman Krista Brandtner initially decided she'd rather make apple cider than watch sheep killed. That was the choice given Clackamas High School students late last month as part of an introductory animal science class offered as an elective.
Instructors warned Brandtner, 15, and her classmates the slaughter could be gruesome, but it was part of the livestock process. They didn't have to watch if they didn't want to.
Then her curiosity set in.
Brandtner watched as a contract slaughterer slit the throat and broke the neck -- all in one motion -- of several sheep. She was horrified, especially by crack of the breaking neck.
"Whenever I'd think about it, that's all I'd hear," Brandtner said Thursday. "It scared me more than anything."
Brandtner's mother, Diane Brandtner, objected to the practice Thursday night at a board meeting of the North Clackamas School District. But several other parents and one student spoke in favor of the program, receiving applause from many members of the audience of about 75.
Krista Brandtner did not address the board.
After learning of the Sept. 28 incident, Diane Brandtner called district officials and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office to complain.
Sheriff's investigators this week determined no crime had been committed, and the school district has no plans to remove the practice from its curriculum.
"The birthing and the raising and the slaughtering of sheep is part of the cycle," North Clackamas Superintendent Ron Naso said Thursday. "It's part of what our program is about. That's simply what we've been doing in that program for years."
Ron Munkres, principal of Sabin-Schellenberg Center, which provides vocational training to North Clackamas schools and runs the farmlike Land Lab, where the sheep are raised, insisted the program follows legal standards.
Asked whether the animals' throats were slit before their necks were broken, he said, "We pay them to do it right."
The contractor, Chief Dave's Mobile Slaughter, did not return phone messages left by The Oregonian.
Although it defended its practices, the school district also agreed to make several changes. "We're certainly sensitive to the concerns that the parent has raised," Naso said.
The district will now require parental approval before students enrolled in agricultural classes can observe the slaughter of livestock.
In addition, slaughtering will be listed as part of possible curriculum in syllabi for agricultural classes. Sheep at the district's Land Lab -- where the slaughtering takes place -- will be moved to the back of the facility. Finally, freshman will be excluded from observing.
The slaughter of farm animals is a longtime part of the district's agricultural program, offered for the past 36 years. Up until five years ago, students didn't just observe the practice, they participated, district spokesman Joe Krumm said.
Between five and 15 sheep are slaughtered each year, agriculture teacher Kathy Holmes said. Holmes has been around cattle since she was 3 and said the slaughtering technique used by the contractor didn't raise any flags
"When you hire someone to do a job, you assume that they follow what the laws are," Holmes said.
However, a national animal-rights group contends that the slaughter violated state and federal guidelines.
"This is a clear violation of the humane slaughter act and state cruelty statutes," Matt Rossell, northwest outreach coordinator for In Defense of Animals, said in a statement.
Rossell said students shouldn't have been subjected to the slaughtering, adding that the school district is sending the message that it's OK to mistreat animals.
He also praised Krista Brandtner for standing up for raising the issue.
"It's great when kids are trying to make the world a better place, even when it's uncomfortable for them," Rossell said.
Brad Schmidt: 503-294-5920; firstname.lastname@example.org
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