The stranded sheep, named Fiona, was rescued after being stranded for over two years on the foot of the cliffs of Cromarty Firth in Scotland with a petition to rescue her reaching over 52,000 signatures.
Animal welfare charities had warned that any operation to save the animal would be “incredibly complex”.
But after she was rescued by a group of farmers, a row has quickly erupted with an animal rights group criticising plans to rehome her at a farm park, because they believe she would be “exploited” for money and become a “spectacle”.
On Sunday, a small group of activists from Animal Rising – which earlier this year tried to disrupt a number of high-profile horse races – staged a protest at the nearby Dalscone Farm.
A statement on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday evening said: “Since Monday we have had a team in the Highlands, preparing to rescue Britain’s Loneliest Sheep (‘Sheepie’). Over the last five days we formed a strong bond and connection with this gentle, neglected soul.
“The local landowner agreed the rescue could go ahead Sunday and that Sheepie could live out the rest of her life safely, and peacefully, at a sanctuary. This morning, however, that same landowner covertly removed the poor ewe who is currently on her way to Dalscone Farm Fun petting zoo instead.
“Whilst we are pleased she is no longer stranded at the base of a cliff, she has just gone from isolation to exploitation. It is completely inappropriate that she would be taken to be made a spectacle of at a petting zoo.”
“Farmer Ben” from Dalscone Farm said in a Facebook video that staff and family members felt “intimidated” by demonstrators who were flying a drone and holding “Free Fiona” placards.
“We’re going to give Fiona a five star home, we are going to get her some amazing friends,” he said. “We are obviously closed at the moment. 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.”