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Children’s farm is slammed for locking pygmy goats in ‘stocks’ so they can’t escape youngsters

A children’s farm has been slammed for locking pygmy goats in ‘stocks’ so they can’t escape youngsters who want to pet them.

Church Farm in Anslow, Burton upon Trent, shared pictures on Facebook showing baby goats with their heads confined in wooden stanchions while being petted and fed by children.

The images, which have since been deleted, sparked outrage from social media users, with one person asking: ‘How can we teach children to love and respect animals when we treat them like this?’

The RSPCA further condemned the farm’s actions, telling the MailOnline that putting animals into such situations ‘can cause them to become very anxious and stressed’.

Church Farm said the welfare of all its animals is a ‘number one priority’, and that the stanchions were used ‘temporarily’ for a ‘few minutes at a time’ to enable younger visitors to get closer in a ‘way that was safe for the goats and children’.

The tea rooms and children’s farm added that, to avoid any further concern, they have since stopped using the equipment. The site has also been visited by the local council’s animal health team.

Church Farm in Anslow, Burton upon Trent, shared pictures on Facebook showing baby goats with their heads confined in wooden stanchions while being petted and fed by children

Church Farm in Anslow, Burton upon Trent, shared pictures on Facebook showing baby goats with their heads confined in wooden stanchions while being petted and fed by children

Church Farm in Anslow, Burton upon Trent, shared pictures on Facebook showing baby goats with their heads confined in wooden stanchions while being petted and fed by children

One of the goats seen with its head in a stanchion while being petted by a youngster. The images, which have since been deleted, sparked outrage from social media users

One of the goats seen with its head in a stanchion while being petted by a youngster. The images, which have since been deleted, sparked outrage from social media users

One of the goats seen with its head in a stanchion while being petted by a youngster. The images, which have since been deleted, sparked outrage from social media users

Church Farm, which opened in Staffordshire in 2018, originally shared the images online, captioning: ‘NEW!!! Playtime with the Pygmy goats. Half an hour of fun with our latest editions!

‘Play, feed, groom, cuddle and walk our Pygmy goats, have your photo taken and turned into a keyring to take home. Book online via our website’.

Social media users reacted to the photos, which have since been removed, with one writing: ‘Animals are not a commodity for us to use.

‘Why couldn’t the children watch them being free and running around?’

Another posted: ‘How can we teach children to love and respect animals when we treat them like this?’  

A third added: ‘That’s definitely not the way to teach children, and no way to treat animals.’

And a fourth said: ‘This is not teaching children to be kind and respectful to animals. This is saying that animals are toys.’

In a statement, Church Farm told MailOnline: ‘We are aware of comments that have been made on social media raising concern over the use of goat yokes during our Playtime with Pygmy Goats. 

‘The welfare of all our animals is our number one priority. Goats are social animals who love the interaction with our customers. 

‘As part of the experience we temporarily used goat yokes as a table for the goats to stand and play on, to enable our younger visitors to get closer to the goats in a way that was safe for both the goats and the children. 

Two goats being fed and petted while in wooden stanchions. Church Farm said the stanchions were used 'temporarily' for a 'few minutes at a time' to enable younger visitors to get closer in a 'way that was safe for the goats and children'

Two goats being fed and petted while in wooden stanchions. Church Farm said the stanchions were used 'temporarily' for a 'few minutes at a time' to enable younger visitors to get closer in a 'way that was safe for the goats and children'

Two goats being fed and petted while in wooden stanchions. Church Farm said the stanchions were used ‘temporarily’ for a ‘few minutes at a time’ to enable younger visitors to get closer in a ‘way that was safe for the goats and children’

A goat being fed while in a stanchion, which can be seen tied at the top. The RSPCA explained that stanchions can be used for health and welfare reasons, such as hoof trimming, but should 'never be used to restrain an animal for entertainment purposes'

A goat being fed while in a stanchion, which can be seen tied at the top. The RSPCA explained that stanchions can be used for health and welfare reasons, such as hoof trimming, but should 'never be used to restrain an animal for entertainment purposes'

A goat being fed while in a stanchion, which can be seen tied at the top. The RSPCA explained that stanchions can be used for health and welfare reasons, such as hoof trimming, but should ‘never be used to restrain an animal for entertainment purposes’

‘This was for a matter of a few minutes at a time. The goats never became distressed by this experience and, had they done, they would have been removed from the situation immediately. 

‘We understand that some people have got the wrong impression about how these yokes were being used and, in order not to cause any further concern, we have stopped using them.’

The farm added: ‘We have been visited by Staffordshire County Council Animal Health and East Staffordshire Environmental Health. All of our animals were seen, their welfare checked and approved. We have also spoken with the RSPCA.

‘We welcome any further inspection and are confident that anybody visiting the farm will see immediately that all our animals are loved, respected and appropriately cared for.’

The RSPCA explained that stanchions can be used for health and welfare reasons, such as hoof trimming, but should ‘never be used to restrain an animal for entertainment purposes’. 

A spokesperson for the charity told MailOnline: ‘The RSPCA understands that children and adults can love getting close to animals – but putting goats into situations like this can cause them to become very anxious and stressed.

The original post from the tea rooms and children's farm in Burton upon Trent, which has since been removed. One social media user wrote: 'How can we teach children to love and respect animals when we treat them like this?'

The original post from the tea rooms and children's farm in Burton upon Trent, which has since been removed. One social media user wrote: 'How can we teach children to love and respect animals when we treat them like this?'

The original post from the tea rooms and children’s farm in Burton upon Trent, which has since been removed. One social media user wrote: ‘How can we teach children to love and respect animals when we treat them like this?’

‘Stanchions can be used for health and welfare procedures, such as hoof trimming, clipping and medicating these animals. They should never be used to restrain an animal for entertainment purposes, even if the animal appears calm.

‘The RSPCA does not have all the information about how these stanchions are being used by the farm park. However, we would urge any farm park to ensure they have procedures in place that allow children and adults to enjoy the company of goats in a responsible manner, which prioritises the welfare of the animals.

‘Animals should never be forced to interact with people, and in fact this is a legal requirement for licensed animal exhibitors in England.

‘We are opposed to pet corners or animal encounter areas provided for the entertainment of visitors/customers where animal welfare problems are caused. 

‘Problems can result from uncontrolled handling and feeding, a lack of adequate supervision and excessive disturbance – so we continue to urge farm parks to ensure measures are in place to prevent this happening.’ 

A spokesman for Staffordshire County Council added: ‘When our officer visited the farm unannounced animals were not restrained in this way and moving freely. 

‘However we are concerned by the images and will return to investigate further the matters raised.’   

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