The Yuletide Kids
18th December 2015
“They’re just babies” were the first words we heard that described a group of young kid goats we came to christen the Yuletide Kids. We were warned they were in terrible condition, but nothing could have prepared us for the little, frightened, faeces (theirs and others)-encrusted, lice-infested, malnourished, broken-horned, burr- and grass-seed–ridden babies whose blood-curdling cries pierced our ears and hearts as we gently placed them into our rescue vehicle. One little mite was so tenaciously clinging to life we did not know he would make the trip home, so he rode up front with us in the car as we willed him on and told him a better place lay ahead. Sadly, not long thereafter, he found that better place, but it was not Edgar’s Mission. We christened him Errol and take a small measure of comfort knowing that he got to know love, kindness and pain relief before he went.
The powerless are precious.
Several painstaking hours later, parasites were sent packing from the 13 remaining babies as tweezers and fingers dexterously removed burrs and grass seeds from gums, eyes and necks. Looking at the petrified baby goats all huddled in the corner of their straw-lined stable, the bravest inching forward to nibble at the sweet-smelling hay, more than our heartstrings were pulled, and we endeavoured to piece together their story, which would go something like this. A week or so earlier a large herd of rangeland goats were rounded up, corralled and loaded onto livestock transport vehicles as they commenced their cramped and terrifyingly long journey to slaughter. Along the way, several of the babies became separated from their mothers; their pitiful bleats would have melted into the cacophony of the rattling stock crate and cries from other equally terrified and confused animals. Unable to hold their ground, each of the kids fell to the faeces- and urine-covered floor—being trampled only adding to their pain. With no mother’s milk to comfort them and nothing to graze upon, stress and hunger overcame them, robbing them of any stores of health they may have had.
Eventually, all would be separated from their parents and herd, who have by now been killed, butchered and are destined for human consumption (a far cry from the majestic creatures they once were). But on a day when the temperature threatened to hit 40 sweltering degrees, a shaft of kindness came the young animals’ way, resulting in a call to our sanctuary for assistance.
Seeing animals in such a vulnerable circumstance truly makes one just want to scream: “What’s wrong with the world?” But each and every one of us here at Edgar’s Mission knows that it is a world we were once a part of. And each of us knows all too well we are now part of the solution. Offering an outstretched hand where none has clearly ever gone before, it will be a long road ahead for the Yuletide Kids, but one most certainly worth travelling. It is indeed an honour to be a part of their journey to their “better place”.