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Britain’s “loneliest sheep” is in hiding after an animal rights protest at the farm she is set to be moved to.
Fiona, who became known as Britain’s loneliest sheep, was rescued at the weekend from the foot of cliffs on the Cromarty Firth in the Scottish Highlands, where it is believed that she was stranded for two years.
Fiona, in the wild.
However, animal rights campaigners have raised concern over plans to transport her almost 300 miles (480 km) to a petting zoo in Dumfries.
An online petition launched on Saturday states that the animal does not deserve “to be turned into a spectacle” and calls for Fiona to be homed at an animal sanctuary in Glasgow. By Sunday evening, it had attracted more than 6500 signatures.
Fiona is now a shorn sheep after her overgrown fleece was removed but remains in hiding after activists from Animal Rising – which earlier this year tried to disrupt a number of high-profile horse races – staged a protest at Dalscone Farm in Dumfries.
A spokesman said it was a “peaceful, non-violent demonstration” but “Farmer Ben” from Dalscone Farm said in a Facebook video that staff and family members were “intimidated” by demonstrators who were flying drones and holding “Free Fiona” placards. He insisted that Fiona would have a five-star home and be with “some amazing friends”.
“We are obviously closed at the moment,” said the spokesman. “The farm park’s closed for the winter, for the next five months, so she’s got loads of time to settle in. Nobody’s going to be bugging her, we’ll just get to know her, let her do her own thing.”
He said they had planned to put her in a single pen, introducing her to other animals slowly and with veterinary supervision – but that has now been put on hold. He said Fiona was currently at a secret location. “We are literally giving her the best home she could possibly get – and it’s being blocked at the moment. And it’s a crying shame.”
Jamie Moyes, from Animal Rising, said: “We are inviting Dalscone to talk to us about her relocation to an animal sanctuary where she can live out her life safely, and peacefully, away from members of the public. Petting zoos are stressful, inappropriate environments for most animals, not least one who has been neglected and isolated for the last two years.”
The rescue mission was organised by Cammy Wilson, a YouTubing sheep shearer from Ayrshire, after seeing media coverage of the ewe’s plight. A petition calling for her rescue achieved more than 50,000 signatures.
Wilson, who is a presenter on the BBC’s Landward programme, organised the five-man rescue and in a video posted online. He said: “We’ve got this sheep up an incredibly steep slope. She is going to a very special place that a lot of you know very well, where you’ll be able to see her virtually every day.”
Moyes claimed that supporters of Animal Rising had intended to mount their own rescue effort and struck an agreement with the local landowner that Fiona would be taken to the sanctuary in Glasgow.
The petition states: “Whilst 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.
“Now we need to rally together once again and ensure she is given the chance to live out the rest of our life safely, and peacefully, in a sanctuary.”
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