To understand…

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The word “understand” is a verb, and according to my grade five English teacher that means it is a “doing” word. It is best described as “to perceive the intended meaning of (words, a language, or a speaker)”, to “interpret or view (something) in a particular way”.

To have, at the very least, some understanding of the world around us is fundamental to our being. Understanding gives us something solid on which we can lean; a means of acceptance and guidance in a life; and a way to navigate through the river full of possibilities, turbulence, beauty, serenity, indifference, birth and death the world has to offer.

The first time I saw Muffy and her baby lamb Duffy, I understood three things. The first was that the pitiful state into which both of them had been cast did not bode well for them; the second was the incredible bond between the two; and the third was that what I chose to do next would determine their future. With my second understanding firmly in my heart, I chose to do my darnedest to save them, although I knew my ability to do so would be significantly impacted by my understanding of the first. Continue reading

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Cooking with Kindness, a tasty launch

Among all the excitement of the Cooking with Kindness launch today, Elmo, Eddie, Rose and Red Baron had time to schmooze with their adoring fans. There was much anticipation over the arrival of the animal ambassadors, who stole the hearts of our wonderful guests, but oh the food—it tasted as good as it looked.

The morning went off without a hitch and we had a blast among friends, food and festivities. A selection of tasty treats taken directly from the pages of Cooking with Kindness were so kindly brought along by a host of brilliant chefs and we were lucky enough to devour every single one. Also joining us on the day were musician and host Lindsay McDougall and Dan Maio from the Getaway Plan.

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On this day

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On this day back in 2015, nine lucky chicks found themselves on the road to kindness. Shrouded in mystery, inspired by compassion and heralded by the words “Friends not food, please save us”—we just had to share their arrival story again with you. Coming tonight…

The phone rang, Pam answered, “hello, Edgar’s Mission.” Then something out of the ordinary happened.

Watch Betany, Babette, Bree, Brady, Beth, Bronwyn, Bryonie, Bess and Bobby Sue’s arrival video to see how the mystery unfolded.

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Hear it’s your birthday!

Today, October 18, we celebrate the birthday of Saturday Lamb.  She rolled into our world almost three years ago and crash landed into our hearts.  Although her congenital spasticity has robbed her of the proper functioning of her back legs it has not robbed her of her zest for life.  Daily, aided by her custom-built wheel chair, Saturday wheels about the sanctuary and rolls into the hearts of all she meets.  Her plucky resolve to take each day as it comes it truly inspirational for all she meets. Celebrating her third birthday in style, she did so with her best friends Steddie Eddie and her human folk who wait on her hand and hoof.  Tucking into her wheetbix cake, garnished with lucerne and topped with three carrots, Saturday’s verdict was “the day was not baaaad, not baaaad at all”.

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Spice has a new lease of life!

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All alone, Spice had taken refuge in a nature reserve bordered by a housing estate, walking track and its adjacent busy major arterial highway, and a noisy train line. Whilst life may have seemed okay for the handsome young buck, sadly it was only a matter of time before it would not. And yet again we give thanks to Manfred Zabinskas of Five Free Freedoms Animal Rescue for ensuring this dear, albeit terrified of humans, goat received just the right shot of kindness to rein him in. By just what circumstance Spice was where he was, we will never be entirely sure, but with some of Melbourne’s major abattoirs none too far away, we feel a likely suspect is found.

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See the light, see the power of kindness…

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Every day here at Edgar’s Mission we see the power of kindness, simple acts of human benevolence to make the world a better place for all. And today that kindness kicked in to gear yet again as we flicked the switch and the farm will now be run on solar power during our daylight hours.

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Tickle me Elmo!!

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Whilst every day little Elmo tickles our chins, seeking the delicious taste and scents of his formula, it wasn’t always so. In fact, upon his arrival, this very young kid goat, who was found abandoned in a forest, refused point blank to feed. We have never in all of our collective lives met a tiny orphan so determined not to feed. We knew the little guy was hungry, as he would cry out, even nibbling on our trouser legs, fingers and chins, but there was absolutely no way on this earth he was going to suckle from that bottle. Absolutely NO WAY! We tried different teats, different methods and different prayers and incantations, but nothing would work. So tube feeding it was, until the day little Elmo said, “Okay, I’ll have my bottle please,” and he has never looked back!!

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World Animal Day

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Today, October 4th, is World Animal Day!!

“As the Australian Ambassador for World Animal Day I implore every one, where ever you are, who ever you may be, to remember this, animals lives matter. Even if they do not matter to you they most certainly matter to the holder of that life. Their life is just as precious to them as yours is to you – and it’s their world too. Happy World Animal Day” Pam Ahern

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A chicken on the table – a moving feast

Some thoughts on World Animal Day 2017

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Last night I dined on a feast at my mother’s house: a banquet prepared as only a doting mother can, peppered with love, one’s favourite gastronomic delights, and, in my case, the odd cat hair. And at the centre of it all was a chicken.

Now, a chicken as a centrepiece on the dinner table is hardly surprising or new. In fact, for me, Sunday roasts were once never complete without a roast chicken bathed in gravy, nestled by baked potatoes and vegetables. Last night however, the chicken on the table was very much alive. This handsome devil, my feathered friend, even has a name: ‘Red Baron’.

Red Baron loves dinner at my mum’s house because it is a feast for him too; in a ‘win–win’ situation, he gets treats and we get treated to his quirky and endearing antics, whether it is sneaking a drink from my glass of water, tucking into a bit of spaghetti, squatting down to peer at the TV or taking a snooze on my shoulder. I cannot now imagine seeing chickens as anything other than friends. And I know I am not alone in this thought: many people, through the simple act of noticing chickens, are observing that chickens’ lives are full of possibilities, if only they are given the chance.

Red Baron came to me at only a few days old, a real miracle indeed. He was hatched at an egg production facility (you couldn’t really call it a farm) and, being male (as around 50% of the hatchlings are), he was destined to be killed. But somehow he survived, beating many apparently insurmountable odds; thus overcoming the worst in his life, he was set to enjoy the best, as he found himself on the doorstep of my house and heart and quickly chirped his way into both. My hair became his surrogate mother hen’s wing as he would happily bounce around on my shoulder each day. Going for bike rides, working on the computer and watching over me as I brushed my teeth, Red Baron’s life was rich and full. And so was mine.

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Tiny Lamb

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Dwarfed by the horses who surrounded him, things were not looking good for the day-old tiny lamb. Adding to the wee chap’s woes were severely contracted tendons in his front legs, which caused him to buckle over and fall. By what circumstance this little lamb arrived in such a dire situation, we will never know, but what we do know is that it is to the good heart of a wildlife carer that he owes his life. Alerted to the plight of the orphan amidst the equines, she swung into gear—a phone call later and the aptly named Tiny Lamb was hoofing his way to Edgar’s Mission.

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Once a jolly Swagman…

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While little Swagman may well have once been a jolly little lamb as he gambolled beside his dear mum, he was certainly anything but the first time we met him.  And it was not only a broken leg that was ailing him, but two mercilessly placed rubber rings.  One on his tail and the other on his scrotum, so thoughtlessly and no doubt hurriedly placed the latter had too taken prisoner one of Swagman’s nipples.  The sum total of this painful assault on such a vulnerable and immune compromised baby was almost too much for little Swagman to bear. With his pain levels running into overdrive his interest in life and his bottle had started to wan. Wrapping little Swagman in both a blanket and our love we whispered in his little lambie ear, “you’re safe now, you’re going to Edgar’s Mission”.

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Columbia

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“I’m not sure she is going to make it,” were the first words we heard as little Columbia came into our world. Found barely clinging to life on a property with a very poor track record for caring for lambs, a kindly neighbour was able to secure the lifeline little Columbia needed to give her a chance at life—but had help come too late? Fears were heightened as the thermometer gave us little incentive for hope, but a shot of glucose, warmth and love most certainly did, for not long thereafter Columbia stood and baaed out, “What’s all the fuss about folks?” and the little mite hasn’t looked back since!

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Finding Dakota

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Whilst on the outside he may have seemed a tough blokey bloke, on the inside he had a heart of gold. And that was all little Dakota lamb needed to wrest her to the right side of living and sadly away from the side of her long-dead mum. Spied by a passing motorist, the wee lamb was desperately trying to feed from her mother, who would never again be able to fulfil her role. Sadly, such a tragic event occurs all too often in sheep paddocks across the country; devoid of meaningful animal protection legislation and human care to save them, so many little lambs, and indeed their mothers, just like Dakota’s, slip from this world without even being noticed. But on this day, that did not happen, and to the blokey bloke who stepped in we give our thanks, not only for saving Dakota’s life but also for reminding us that sometimes in life, finding a little lamb is also about discovering the goodness of the human heart.

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Our greatest glory

A sweet, mop-topped little lamb came into our care on the 27th of September in 2016. Because she had this wonderful old-world charm about her, we could think of no better name for her than “Petal”. As beautiful and cheeky as she was (like any other lamb), Petal was unable to express all the exuberance expected of a lamb, because she couldn’t walk.

Her back legs were pretty much useless and unable to bear weight, and with little to no sensation in them things were not looking too good for Petal – and our hearts sank.. The original vet who saw Petal thought she was suffering from “joint-ill”, a bacterial infection whose most likely entry point was a wound on the stump of what had been her tail. But that didn’t quite sit well with us, so off to another vet went Petal for more extensive tests and diagnostics. And this time we got an answer, but sadly not one so readily addressed. Petal had suffered a terrible trauma to her spine, fracturing a vertebra at the junction between her spine and tail bone. From there, a most laboursome rehabilitation program began.

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Miles – the one who smiles

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Miles arrived at Edgar’s Mission on this day in back in 2013. At such a young age he had already seen more hardship than one should endure; orphaned, weak and in desperate need of warm and helping hands.

Today Miles is a handsome and gentle fellow, who loves nothing more than the affection of his human carers. Among all the love and care sent his way, Miles is also being treated for Epilepsy – we believe he is the only sheep treated for the condition in Australia.

Miles is part of our Best Friends monthly donor program, if you’re able and would like to sponsor him, you can find him in the Sheep Shack here!

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Neo and Todman, finding their way home …

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Only hours ago, I was making my way home as the rain poured down and the windscreen wipers struggled to do their job. A trailer-load of abattoir-bound pigs headed the other way, grabbing both my gaze and heartstrings, as the words, “And they’re going to get wet” rolled from my lips. The thought haunted me for the rest of the drive home—that in their final hours on this earth, those gentle pigs would not even be afforded the kindness of warmth as their lives were soon to be reduced to pork, ham and bacon. But it also reminded me of the serenity prayer: “God* grant me the courage to change the things I can change, the serenity to accept the things I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference”.

Every day I work on that prayer; in fact, it is what weaves the threadbare fabric of my world together. While it may come as a surprise to some, there are some days when I’m holding it together better than on other days, and some days when my world threatens to fall apart. Today is one of the latter. Already struggling under the weight of last night’s decision to end the life (and pain) of my beautiful buddy Neo, I arrived home to learn that little Todman’s brain had said, “No more”.

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We have a dream

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Transcript of speech delivered at Melbourne chapter of the World Day to End Speciesism.

A wise woman once uttered the words: “Never let it be said that to dream is a waste of one’s time, for dreams are our realities in waiting. In dreams, we plant the seeds of our future”.  

We have a dream. Each and every one of us here today has a dream, and we are here today because of our shared dream. From the bottom of my heart I want to thank you all for gathering here on this remarkable day as we take that dream from the recesses of our hearts and minds and place it centre stage as we seek to make the world a kinder, more just place for all of her inhabitants. Continue reading

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A most welcome Vollie

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We all know that volunteers make the world go round, right? Without their endless and selfless hours of support, countless not-for-profit organisations, just like ours, would not exist. That is why we here at Edgar’s Mission salute you! And in honour of you all, we have named who could well be the sweetest and most gentle goat we have ever met – Vollie.

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Teaching Kind

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Huge shout out of thanks to the Catholic Regional College in North Keilor for allowing us to be a part of your school year. Today we hosted the last of four groups of students who have spent the day with us, sharing our vision for a kinder world for all.

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If you too would like your school, community or work group come and visit Edgar’s Mission and partake in a thought provoking day filled with critical thinking, farm tour and animal cuddles. Please drop us a line [email protected] Remember we are located in Lancefield, Victoria.

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Dance like no one is watching …

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And that is just what Dancing Queen and her beloved, Rudolph Nureyev, were doing, precariously close to a country road. Quickly realising that such a dancefloor was not compatible with a long life, the two homeless goats were ushered into the local pound. And, thankfully for them, they have pirouetted their way into our hearts and not the hands of a keen-eyed entrepreneur, who would have taken advantage of the rising prices for goats en-route to the live export market.

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Flex your heart muscle

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A few months ago, a personal trainer got in touch with us – he wanted to donate a portion of his profits from every new sign up to his ‘Vegainz’ 12-week training and nutrition program. Mike raised an amazing $400 for Edgar’s Mission, we can’t thank him enough for his thoughtful generosity. Continue reading

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Tiny Calf

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We could not think of a more fitting name for a sweet little tiny calf who recently came into our care than Tiny Calf – for she is both tiny and a calf! And she is simply beautiful, possessing the longest of eye lashes and the doe-iest of eyes. Although it was those doe-eyes that gave us such a start.

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Half Pint and Jules – lucky to be alive

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Whilst Half Pint is friendly and inquisitive, his buddy Jules is not. Yet despite their dissimilar dispositions, their circumstances were the same and both are lucky to be alive – although only just so by the time we learned of their tragic plight.

Half-Pint and Jules were actually two thirds of a trio, but sadly the state of neglect they endured from a backyard slaughter setup had taken such a terrible toll on the third member that he did not survive their rescue. Now putting on much needed weight and confidence (Half Pint more so than Jules), their fate is sealed, however it is going to take a lot of kindness and patience for these hapless two to realise that an entire new world awaits. A world of peace, tranquillity, lots of sheepy buddies and wheetbix treats – where no one will ever again consider them a meal.

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Pearl – we couldn’t love you any more if we tried

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Our Facebook followers have already fallen in love with Pearl, a fluffy-faced little lamb of around six weeks of age, and we are sure you will, too.

Pearl’s arrival at our sanctuary was heralded by the pungent smell of fly-strike just moments before her severely emaciate body came into view. If you have never smelled fly-strike in a living animal, consider it a blessing. But where was this deadly menace? Once gently laid on our examination table, we could see no obvious wounds. However, as soon as we lifted her tiny right hind leg those flesh-eating maggots could hide no more – although they tried their darnedest to make a hasty retreat inside the hole they had burrowed into poor Pearl’s leg.  Such a terrible oozing wound gave answer to the bloody smear little Pearl had on her nose, no doubt the result of her feeble attempts to rid herself of the wriggling menace that was eating her alive. Yes indeed, a sickening sight and smell.

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Everything is coming up Roses!

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Nothing could have prepared us for the cheeky little monkey of a lamb who is Rose. We first learned of her plight when a short video was sent to us by text: it revealed that Rose had been dealt a bad hand or, more appropriately, two dodgy front legs. Dear little Rose was struggling to get about, it was clear to see that without any intervention she was never going to thrive, let alone survive.

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Oreo – it takes a community to raise a lamb

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Oreo arrived into our care on the 30th of July, barely hours old. She had been found a short time earlier by a kind-hearted traveller on a stretch of road that sheep had clearly recently passed, as was evidenced by the numerous sheep droppings scattered about. So too it appeared a dear ewe had dropped her lamb, with the wee one being missed by those herding the sheep.

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Do you hear the lambs cry?

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Luckily for Little Acorn, a kindly neighbour did. His heart-wrenching cries rang out as the wee lamb desperately sought the love, comfort and nutrition of his dear mum. But sadly, his mother would not answer his calls as she had passed away some time earlier.

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Geraldine – someone, not something

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Whilst exploiting the natural reproductive cycle of animals is big business to some, it is also a lucrative side-line to others. Regardless of the intent, the consequences to animals are enormous and at the heart of all of this, is a life. In this case it is that of dear little Geraldine, an animal who comes with a lifetime of care and needs unique to her species.

Sadly too, this is a story we learn of all too often as an animal is treated as property and sold without full disclosure to unsuspecting people. Sellers neglecting basic checks to ensure the welfare of the animal, and typically with pigs whether they can even legally be housed by the “purchaser”. They fail to provide information as to the need for desexing, basic animal husbandry requirements and the important “ingredients” of a life truly worth living for the animal.

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Leonard T Lima

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With the normal birth weight of an alpaca ranging between 6 and 9kg, at two months old Leonard T Lima tips the scales at just over 9kg. But sadly, his woes do not end there. We have been told the wee chap was able to get around after his birth, however from there on in things took a turn for the worse and it was thought he had rickets. Rickets is a defect of the bones affecting young mammals, usually due to malnutrition, which can lead to deformities and breakages.

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The first pig…

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There’s a wonderful quote, I’m sure you have all heard of it, that goes: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

Like most people, I have had important teachers who have inspired and guided me, offering sage advice at just the right times in my life. However, my most important teachers have not been of the human kind. They have been animals, in all of their glorious shapes, sizes and sounds. But there is one who stands out like no other – the first pig.

The first pig I was ever fortunate enough to meet, and to whom I owe an eternal debt of gratitude for guiding me to just where I needed to be, was Edgar Alan Pig. At the time of our first meeting I was what I thought to be a committed animal advocate, leading what I considered to be a pretty good life. However, Edgar changed all that and so much more, as together we trotted down a path I could never have imagined, him stopping every now and then to smell the roses – something I really have to learn to do. Giving up my full-time paying job along with hanging up the boots of my successful equestrian career and saying farewell to ever having a normal life, it was because of my meeting with this first pig I was to meet many many more pigs. And cows and sheep and goats and chickens and ducks and turkeys, as I foundered Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary, currently located in the picturesque Macedon Ranges, just outside of the tiny township of Lancefield. Continue reading

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