Belfast Telegraph

Row over 'ferret legging' contest

A retired headmaster has defended his plans to raise charity cash by resurrecting a sport in which ferrets are placed down competitors' trousers.

Frank Bartlett described claims that the "ferret legging" contest in Whittington, Staffordshire, would cause distress to the animals as absolutely ludicrous.

Mr Bartlett, 67, spoke out after the fundraising event came under fire from James McKay, the director of the Derbyshire-based National Ferret School.

Mr McKay believes the contest will subject the animals to unnecessary stress and discomfort and has lodged an official complaint with the RSPCA.

But Mr Bartlett insisted the "light-hearted" competition, which aims to raise around £1,000 for the local community first responder group, would cause no harm to his ferrets, which would probably go to sleep.

"The event is being undertaken by people who have been involved in ferret care and welfare for many years," he said.

"We would never dream of doing anything that resulted in distress to any animal."

Mr Bartlett describes the ferret he will use in the test of endurance as extremely docile and says there is "ample room" for the animal in the baggy trousers he intends to wear.

"The idea of forcing it to do anything is absolutely ludicrous," he added. "They are like any animal - if they are handled properly from a youngster, they become tame and friendly."

The current ferret legging world record is thought to be more than five hours, set in the 1980s.

Press Association

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