He has best friends everywhere! And now, so too does our latest pal, Humphrey L. Lamb, making friends aplenty in the Edgar’s Mission nursery and beyond. A darling little merino cross lamb, Humphrey’s petite, teddy bear-like appearance belies the bravery and determination this little mite possesses. Found clinging to his dead mother, Humphrey was taken in by kind and caring hearts in order to give him a chance at life. However, despite being less than two weeks of age, Humphrey had already begun taking his survival into his own hands. Upon his surrender into our care, it soon became clear that this dear little man had been, in the absence of his mother’s milk, gaining his nutrition through his determined grazing. Although not enough to provide Humphrey with the portly appearance of some of his more well off pals, Humphrey’s intuition and perhaps his mother’s earlier guidance had been enough to allow him to struggle on through this trying time.
Having lost his suckling reflex, Humphrey has now learned that the sweet taste of his nutritious formula can be found at the end of our feeding syringe. And although still determined to be largely self-sufficient (and with us mindful not to overfeed and hinder the development of his rumen), brave Humphrey has begun to show his own brand of slightly reserved excitement when feed time comes.
It has been quite some time since we have met a lamb like Humphrey. While his nursery pals all eagerly call out and race for their bottles come breakfast time, Humphrey will casually stroll on out to the nearest patch of grass and graze away until we offer his feeding syringe, at which point he will toss his head in his own version of understated excitement and trot on over. By far the quietest in our nursery, barely a peep have we heard from Humphrey, only stopping to call out ever so quietly on the odd occasion when a bout of focussed grazing has taken him out of sight of his buddies. It is as if this dear little man, wise beyond his years, doesn’t wish to cause any hassle and we can almost imagine him saying, “Don’t mind me, I’ll just look after myself until you’re ready. I don’t want to be any trouble”. And if it is possible, this makes us love dear Humphrey all the more as we scoop him up and cover his fuzzy little lambie head with kisses aplenty.
But what endears Humphrey to us so is sadly what sees his kind overlooked by many. You see, like that famous on screen bear of the same name, our little Humphrey L. Lamb cannot speak and from this stem many of the woes of his kind. These much-maligned voiceless creatures are so often labelled as ‘stupid’ or ‘brainless’ and ‘all the same’ however as Humphrey has shown, this is most certainly not the case. But it is the labels we place on these creatures that have seen them fall from not only our minds but from our Animal Protection legislation as well. This means that procedures can be performed upon a lamb that would be illegal if your dog or cat were involved. Young lambs like Humphrey can have their tails removed without any anaesthetic or pain relief and may be castrated through the use of elastrator bands, which will slowly cut off circulation to the appendages, causing them to eventually fall off. Many will tell you that this is a painless procedure for these animals and that the lambs do not feel pain. However sheep are prey animals, who are hardwired to not exhibit pain they are subject to. And we are certain that if Humphrey could speak, he would tell a different story to those who deny such facts.
The truth is that to change the world for animals like our Humphrey L. Lamb, it is up to us to tell their stories. In a world that is largely deaf to the plight of farmed animals, these creatures rely on us to speak up and be their voice. It is the only way they will ever be heard.
And so, with his oh so cute appearance and endearing personality, there is no doubt that little Humphrey L. Lamb will indeed make best friends everywhere. But he needs more than “Ooohs and ahs.” Humphrey needs friends who will be a voice for his kind. Will you be one of them?