SECONDARY school students will feast on nine free-range Christmas turkeys next week - thanks to the hard work of their classmates who reared the birds in their schoolyard coop.
But an animal welfare group has hit out at the school for allowing their students raise the turkeys before they are butchered this weekend for the special Christmas dinner.
One hundred and fifty students from the Crescent College Comprehensive in Limerick have fed and cared for the turkeys as part of their Transition Year programme.
The school's PE teacher, Sean O'Callaghan said the whole idea of the project is to teach the kids, who are mainly from the city, that they can do this kind of work from scratch.
"The students, with the help from the home economics teacher, cook the turkeys themselves, and they eat the Christmas dinner in the canteen. They decorate the whole place and they really go to town on it," Mr O'Callaghan said.
But Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) has hit out at the project, claiming that it has "no educational value".
LAW chairperson Marion Fitzgibbon said she has huge concerns about the programme.
"We don't see how it would be necessary. I'm sure the kids know what a turkey looks like at Christmas, and I don't see how there is any educational value in this project.
"I don't see how the children enjoy this project," Ms Fitzgibbon said.
And though the project is "very odd", it would not be as problematic if it was a mini-company idea, Ms Fitzgibbon added.
"I can't see the educational value in killing these turkeys in this brutal manner," she said.