A lonely sheep who was rescued from the bottom of a cliff deserves ‘not to be turned into a spectacle’ and sent to a petting zoo.
The sheep, known as Fiona, was rescued after being stuck at the bottom of a remote cliff in the Scottish Highlands for two years.
A group of five men hauled the ewe up the cliff in the ‘major operation’, and the Scottish SPCA said she was in an ‘incredible fettle’ after two years solo.
But no sooner has Fiona had a fresh shear and got used to being around others than a row broke out over where she should live.
The plan was for her to be looked after by Dalscone Farm in Dunfries, which is open to the public during the warmer months of the year.
But this proposition has been criticised by animal rights group Animal Rising.
A protest was held outside the farm on Sunday morning, as the group said they had been planning their own rescue.
Police were called after protesters were accused of intimidating staff, and in response the farm’s manager, Ben Best, said Fiona won’t be coming to the farm ‘for just now’ as it’s ‘too dangerous for her’.
In a statement, Animal Rising said: ‘Britain’s loneliest sheep deserves sanctuary, not to be turned into a spectacle.
‘While we are pleased she is no longer stranded at the base of a cliff, it is completely inappropriate that she would be taken to be made a spectacle of at a petting zoo.
‘Being made a spectacle of at a petting zoo is not a fair result for Fiona who has already faced two years of neglect and isolation.
‘All we are asking is for her to be taken to a sanctuary as originally agreed.’
Mr Best added that the farm’s animal track record is ‘impeccable’ and that he and his staff ‘only do the right thing by our animals’.
Animal Rescue later apologised to the rescue team and Dalscone Farm for the ‘stressful’ situation.
The Scottish SPCA told The Telegraph: ‘The stranded sheep was rescued by a private group of individuals with extensive farming experience, with the land owner in attendance.
‘We were notified that this rescue was going to be attempted so attended to support and to oversee the welfare of the animal.
‘Our inspector checked over the sheep and found her to be in good bodily condition, although needing to be sheared. The ownership of the sheep then was handed over from the land owner to the rescue group.
‘The group gave assurances that the sheep would be sheared as a matter of priority. The group also agreed to send a video to our inspector, so we could check the animal’s bodily condition post shear.
‘On this basis, the sheep was cleared for travel and rescue group were able to take her to her new home.
‘We understand that the sheep has not yet arrived at the farm park, but have been advised by the rescue group that she will be housed in suitable surroundings that meet her needs in line with the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
‘We plan to stay in contact with the rescue group to ensure the welfare of Fiona and our local inspector will conduct follow up visits to the park.’
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