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Social media storm after petting zoo owner is filmed taking animals to slaughterhouse

James Harrison

The owner of a mobile petting zoo has responded after a video emerged of him taking animals to a slaughterhouse.

Pete Holmes, of Basil and Crew Mobile Farm, was caught on camera by protesters taking a lamb and two pigs to the facility in Farnborough on Tuesday, January 24.

The footage prompted a flurry of criticism when it was posted by a member of the Farnborough Animal Save (FAS) group (pictured below), which regularly protests outside Newman’s Abattoir in the town.

And since then several Google reviews have been left about the company complaining that it is not open about the fate of some of its animals.

Mr Holmes, 46, said: “It’s never been a fact that we’ve hidden.

“The animals we use are all unwanted and rejected, we take them on and they go on school visits and things like and as long as the animals stay sociable they stay with us.

“Sometimes they change and mature and we have to find a new home for them, but unfortunately the slaughterhouse is a last resort.”

He also said he had no reason to think the slaughterhouse did not carry out its work to the proper standards and claimed to have received a black eye and verbal abuse during the protest.

Mr Holmes, who also works as a support worker for adults with mental health issues, started the business, which is based in Breadcroft Lane, in 2005 after several animals had been left with him but never collected during the Foot and Mouth crisis.

He added: “If they think the animals are distressed going to the slaughterhouse then they are mistaken – it’s just another journey for them.”

Nicola Streak, co-founder and co-leader of FAS, said: “I don’t think that a lot of people would know a petting zoo or farm would send their animals to slaughter like that.

“Farmers raise animals for food, but petting zoos don’t really give that same impression.

“I think it was an issue of shock and surprise for people [in their reaction] and I think people took to social media to vent that shock and frustration.

“But that wasn’t what FAS intended – anything that has been said is down to individual activists.”

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