Three Extinction Rebellion vegan activists have been charged with theft for attempting to rescue sheep from King Charles’ Sandringham Estate. 

Sarah Foy, 23, Rose Patterson, 34, and Rosa Sharkey, 23 have been charged with theft, three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and three of failing to record the movement of an animal, according to police.

The vegan protest group, an offshoot of climate group Extinction Rebellion, claimed to be behind the theft on May 24 when it released a video of three women walking through a field in West Newton, Norfolk, and loading three lambs into the back of a vehicle.

The group believes that transitioning to a plant-based food system is the ‘key solution’ to solving climate emergencies and seeks a future where ‘no animals are exploited’.

The women were wearing pink Animal Rising T-Shirts as they were pictured carrying the animals away from Appleton Farm on the King’s land. They said they rescued the lambs – who they dubbed Sammy, Sunny and Sooty – to save them from slaughter. Patterson, the director of the campaign group, was previously arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance after being flagged as the ringleader in the group’s plot to sabotage the Grand National.

They posed outside Sandringham, holding up signs reading: ‘I rescued the King’s sheep’ and ‘This is how we love animals’. Footage of the theft showed the three women running onto the farm, picking up a lamb and calling it ‘baby’ before turning around and carrying to the van. The women called the lamb ‘heavy’ and ‘sweetie pie’ as they loaded it into the back of the truck filled with hay. Another clip showed the activists sat in the field watching the grazing sheep as they ate.

Ms Foy, 23, said at the time: “Like anyone, animals want to live out their lives safely and without being used or exploited. Sadly that is not the case here at Sandringham, or anywhere they are used in our food system. That is exactly why we rescued three sheep today – three beautiful lambs who’ll now live their lives to the fullest. We urgently need a national conversation about our relationship with other animals and nature.”

A statement posted on the group’s social media at the time of the theft read: ‘Last night, Rose, Sarah and Rosa entered His Majesty’s Sandringham Estate, Norfolk, and managed to leave with three beautiful young lambs. Because of the bravery and compassion of these women, three babies Sammy, Sunny and Sooty will now be allowed to live their lives freely, in a safe space where they are not seen as objects or products, but as the sentient, emotional, lovely little individuals they are. By rescuing these lambs, Rose, Sarah and Rosa are hoping to not only give these gorgeous lambs a chance at a real life, but also to provoke conversation: we love animals, so why would we ever want to hurt them in this way?”

Police said they later handed themselves in at a police station in Slough, Berkshire, in relation to the theft. The trio have been released on police bail and will appear at King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court on September 28.

The Sandringham Estate consists of 2,400 hectares of farmland – with an additional 4,000 hectares rented by tenant farmers. There are around 3,000 royal sheep present.

Original source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk