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Shropshire young farmers criticised by animal rights group

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A group of Young Farmers from Shropshire has come under fire from animal cruelty campaigners after a video showing them swinging a lamb by the legs appeared on YouTube.

A group of Young Farmers from Shropshire has come under fire from animal cruelty campaigners after a video showing them swinging a lamb by the legs appeared on YouTube.

Alberbury Young Farmers, near Shrewsbury, have been reported to the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) West Midlands, after their entry into the Farmer's Guardian "Tractor Factor" was spotted by Viva!.

The welfare group has accused the young farmers club members of "glamourising" potential animal abuse after filming themselves for the farming "talent" competition.

The clip has since been removed from the video-sharing website and a spokesman for Farmer's Guardian said today the farmers had withdrawn their competition entry.

A spokeswoman for the Shropshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs today said the video was a "bit of fun" and described the moment where the lamb was swung as a "very brief and harmless moment".

She added: "Everyone involved in the video is experienced in handling livestock in a professional manner on a daily basis.

"They all take the welfare of animals very seriously and would at no point engage in animal cruelty. The video was a bit of fun and in no way reflects usual farming practice.

"The very short part where a lamb is swung forward and back is not standard for how stock would be handled, but is a very brief and harmless moment.

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"The video carries a disclaimer at the end making it very clear than no animals were harmed in the making of the video and Alberbury YFC/SFYFC stands by this."

But Viva! campaigns manager Justin Kerswell, said: "Although we understand that the video is meant as a bit of fun, there is no excuse for using animals as props."

He added: "It begs the question of how do they treat animals when the camera is turned off? If this is the best that the young farmers have to offer I'd hate to see the worst."

According to the upload on YouTube the video stars Dicky Bowdler, Rob Bowdler, Chris Davies, Jim Wynne, Tricky Evans and Charlie Bourne with an appearance from Will Evans.

By Russell Roberts

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