Agriculture Students Arrested for Firework Attack

Nov 15, 2023

Two agricultural students are facing charges of "causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and criminal damage" following the brutal killing of a sheep on the South Downs in Sussex. Sussex Police confirmed the arrest of an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old from Kent, both allegedly affiliated with Plumpton College's Agriculture department. Two additional individuals are being treated as key witnesses.

The incident unfolded on the night of Thursday, November 2nd when students divulged the gruesome details to farmer Michael Lunn, under whom they were apprenticed at Coopers Farm in Hadlow Down. Lunn, horrified by the account, revealed that the four individuals had callously attacked the sheep by kicking them in the head while they were still alive. They then opened them up, inserted a firework, and detonated it, resulting in their gruesome death.

Superintendent Rachel Swinney emphasised the seriousness of the investigation, urging anyone with pertinent information to come forward. Plumpton College responded with swift action, suspending all four students during the ongoing police inquiry. College Principal Jeremy Kerswell expressed profound dismay, emphasising that the incident does not reflect the institution's expected standards of behaviour or its commitment to animal welfare.

Despite this, Lunn, speaking to Sussex Express, insisted that expulsion should be the consequence for the guilty students. But this is NOT an isolated incident, in 2017 at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire students were expelled and suspended for posting cruel acts on Snapchat, including harming a fox cub, a protected badger, and a staff member's cat. Concerns were raised about the lack of significant consequences, allowing such individuals to potentially enter the animal farming industry.

In a disturbing incident in February 2023, students from the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester displayed a dead fox during a charity event, attaching them to the roof of a car in a rodeo-themed spectacle. Despite public outcry, Gloucestershire police did not identify any criminal activity in this case.

These incidents won't startle animal rights advocates familiar with the inherent and systemic abuse embedded in animal agriculture. What distinguishes these cases from the grim backdrop of routine animal abuse is the underlying motivation - profit. The daily acts of sexual assault, confinement, and mutilation inflicted upon animals are driven by financial gain with random acts of violence, while common in the industry, having no justification in society.

Of course, none of this is justified. Financial motives cannot excuse animal abuse. Vegans exemplify daily that a fulfilling life is possible without intentionally causing harm much less revelling in it. 

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