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January Trottings

Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary's Monthly E-Newsletter
Saturday February 4th 2012
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O Romeo, O Romeo
Romeo knew his name and loved going for walks with me around the farm.  He loved scratches under his chin and falling asleep with his head on my arm.  He let me know his favorite treats and would get excited and even do a little happy dance when he saw me coming with them.  I would call his name and he would come running as fast as his big bulky legs would carry him.  I had planned to get a video of this but sadly I never did and never will.  All I have are memories tinged with sadness for a life cut short because of human ingenuity.
Romeo's final hours were spent soaking up the sun's rays, eating watermelon and being stroked by his human friends.  He passed away peacefully as so few of his kind ever get the chance to.  Romeo was a broiler chicken.  He grew to be a big bird with an even bigger heart - friendly and gentle, he quickly endeared himself to many.  It was no doubt his big heart, surrounded by his huge muscle mass,  that was no longer able to cope that brought about his demise.

In September 2009 the ABC aired a BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed.  What followed was outrage and disdain from a community enraptured by man's best friend.  The show highlighted critical animal welfare issues that had resulted from the selective breeding for appearance traits that had nothing to do with the welfare of the animal.   King Charles Spaniels that suffered epilepsy due to their skull being too small, German Shepherds suffering hip dysplasia and Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs rejected because they lacked the genetic fault of a ridge along their back, were just some of the appalling legacies of animals bred to meet human expectations.  The British KCC copping an extra bite from the RSCPA who pulled their support for the largest dog show in the world, Cruft's, due to their concerns that the exhibition was encouraging the breeding of deformed and disabled dogs.

However, beyond the back yard and across the paddock, tucked away on factory farms a congratulatory high five was being done, acknowledging the fast tracking of meat chickens (broilers) to slaughter weight in as little as just five weeks.  Fifty years back it took more than three times as long.  Sadly, these infant birds, complete with baby blue eyes and chirps,  are the size of huge adult birds and they pay a huge price.  Gentle laying hens faring little better as their bodies are pushed to exhaustion pumping out around 300 eggs a year compared to their wild cousins of just a handful.  At just two years old no happy retirement home exists for 'spent hens'.  'Spent' because their short, miserable lives have been spent crammed into tiny cages, devoid of mental stimulation or means to satisfy their innate natural behaviours and they are no longer viewed as economically valuable.

Given the chance, and devoid of human manipulation into their genetics, chickens can live happy and fruitful lives for up to ten, even twelve, years. Recent studies have further shown that chickens are far from 'bird brained' having complex lives with cognitive abilities that rival mammals and even primates.  That the pecking order describes their ability to recognise and remember their cohorts says more about their intelligence than it does for our ability to discount it.  Equipped with around thirty vocalisations they indeed have their own language that can communicate a wealth of meaningful knowledge.  And those that have come to know chickens will quickly attest to their unique personalities.

And if you need any more convincing that chickens command far more respect than currently afforded, consider that they have even been shown to possess the knowledge that an object exists despite the fact it has been taken away and hidden - a capacity that is beyond that of small children.
While my life with Romeo was short, it taught me many things none more so than birds like him are much, much more than the before of a chicken nugget.

Pam Ahern
Pam Ahern
Founder & Director

Campaign Action of the Month

Turn your love around for animals

While the history of Valentine’s Day and its patron saint may be shrouded in mystery there is no mystery as to the meaning of this special day, as lovers across the globe exchange chocolates, flowers and gifts with their sweethearts.  This Valentine's Day we here at Edgar’s Mission are encouraging one and all to turn their love around and have a heart for animals.

On February 14 will be hitting the Bourke Street Mall with our 'have a heart for animals' campaign and we have produced a cool new flyer for the occasion.  Download here and share with your friends or pop us an email including your postal address and we will post you out an action pack.

Valentine's Day is a great and fun opportunity to encourage others share a little love for all animals.  Please do your bit too!

Watch this space!!

We have some exciting new plans for 2012, all with the aim of spreading our special message of kindness for all beings.  Watch your inbox as we roll out the first of these shortly.  We would love to hear your feedback.


January at a Glance

7th: Daylesford Farmers Market
8th: Williamstown Farmers Market
14th: North Essendon Farmers Market
21st: Churchill Island Farmers Marker
26th: Broadford Australia Day
29th: Women of Letters

New Residents

4 1 2

Goats: Eric, Annie, Callie, Crumpet, Colly & Woody
Sheep: Jack and Josh
Lamb: Honey
Deer: Lyndsay

To view some of their pictures please click here

Picture of the Month!

This month's picture is of Romeo and his buddies enjoying their favourite treat - watermelon! Send a funny caption to Kyle for your chance to win a special Edgar's Mission prize!

Competition Winners

Congratulations to Lisa who wins a 2012 Edgar's Mission calendar for her caption"So anyway I said to Mable I said love, I said pet, I said you have to come along to this trendy beauty salon, it's where us girls get together to gossip. Have you seen her feathers lately? Oh Rooster, she could do with some grooming................."

Vegans Are Cool eBook

We offer a special thank you to Kathy Divine for making Vegans Are Cool eBook available free online! Vegans Are Cool is also still available in paperback. To order the book or to download it please click here.

The book is a collection of writings by the global vegan community. This collaborative project showcases the knowledge, creativity and heart of individuals from a diversity of races, cultures and backgrounds who share one thing in common: they are all living the healthy, environmentally friendly vegan lifestyle.

Out and About
in February

Saturday 11th
Macedon Ranges Sustainability Festival
Woodend Neighbourhood Centre
47 Forest St
10am to 4pm

Tuesday 14th
Valentines Day
Turn Your Love Around @ Bourke st Mall
Melbourne CBD
11am to 2pm

Friday 17th - Sunday 19th
Sustainability Living Festival
Federation Square and Birrarung Marr
Melbourne CBD
Fri:12pm to 8pm
Sat: 10am to 6pm
Sun: 10am to 5pm

Sunday 19th
Women of Letters
Thornbury Theatre

Sunday 26th February 2012
Moonee Valley Festival
Queens Park
Moonee Ponds
10am to 5pm

Volunteering at EM

Volunteer Days for February - mark in your diary

Sunday 12th February
Saturday 25th Febraury

Please contact Kyle for more information.

Farm Hand

We need a hand, a farm hand that is.

From humble beginnings of one pig, Edgar's Mission has grown and grown exponentially over the years. So much so that the work load is beyond what is humanly possible for one person (and now two people, thanks to the ongoing commitment of Kyle Behrend). 

While ever grateful for the enormous and significant contribution our volunteers make we are seeking the commitment of a hardworking individual on a weekly basis. We understand that this is a major commitment and as such we are making this a paid position. So if you would like to be a part of the rescue and animal protection efforts of Edgar's Mission and don't mind getting your hands dirty this may be for you, please click here

Donating to Edgar's Mission

We are tax-deductible!

Did you know? Edgar's Mission is a registered DGR (Charity). This means that any donation over $2 is now tax deductible.
You can donate as a once-off or a regular donation via secure payment site, Our Community (just click the big red button above). If you are not comfortable donating via the web, or do not have a credit card, you can also download the donation form & send by post.
Workplace GivingOur DGR status also now means that supporters can now make donations as a salary sacrifice to Edgar's Mission. Please see the ATO's web page for more information about how this works.
As always, our sincerest thanks to all of our wonderful supporters. We simply could not do any of what we do without your ongoing help and generosity.

© 2012 Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary
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