“To lock horns with someone” is an expression oft times used today. Its origins are found in the early 1800’s and refer to horned animals tussling with one another. They would use their horns as weapons as they reared up, charged towards their opponent and locking horns they would become stuck, unable to move on or away and a caprine Mexican standoff would ensue. While the animal contests of bravado were often playful, humans locking horns is certainly of a more serious nature. ‘Joe’ locking horns with ‘Bob’, would see the two becoming fiercely embroiled in conflict. And sadly when it comes to conflict in our lives there is none greater than that we have with animals – making friends with some and food of others. It should then come as no surprise that so much conflict exists in our society today whilst we have failed to heal our poor relationship with the animal kingdom. It was the great humanitarian, Albert Schweitzer, who back in 1923 encapsulated this thinking so succinctly when he said “Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”
Finding peace is something we at Edgar’s Mission strive to do each day. Whether it be through our life changing outreach work or life saving animal rescue. Of late we have enjoyed witnessing and assisting several animals find a more peaceful world. Our recently rescued goats Eric, Annie, Colly, Woody, Callie, Crumpet and the magnificent Carl Lewis, joined our resident goats in Goatville. Carl Lewis being the most recently rescued goat of this group arrived at Edgar’s Mission on 06/02/12. As with all new residents, he received a full health check, was drenched, received a parasitic treatment and pedicure and was introduced to the delights of wheetbix.
While Carl Lewis the human, and one time fastest man on earth, earned fame and fortune with his deft turn of speed it was swift Carl Lewis the goat who earned his reprieve with an equally impressive 100metre dash. Legend has it Carl Lewis, the ruggedly handsome Boer goat, jumped ship from a truck that was abattoir bound. Serving his time in the local pound saw no one come forth to open their heart or paddock to the wily and somewhat odoriferous goat. So with a slight detour to the vet for castration for Carl to keep in line with our strict no breeding policy he was Edgar’s Mission bound. Uncastrated male goats, for the uninitiated, have quite a ‘distinctive’ smell which not only comes from their testosterone charged urine they delight in spraying upon themselves but also from sebaceous scent glands located at the base of each horn.
Our ‘no breeding’ policy has nothing to do with us not liking baby animals – far from it, who cannot be taken in by the cute and cuddliness of baby animals? Rather it is borne out of the realisation that the number of farmed animals in need of sanctuary is in inverse proportion to the number of people wishing to offer it, so for us to bring more into the world would only mean they would be taking the place of rescued animals. We do, however, play doting midwives to any hapless pregnant farmed animals that are fortunate enough to find their way to us; and theirs are indeed lucky babies. To be born at a sanctuary and always knowing the touch of human kindness is a blessing we are honoured to give.
It seems February must have been goat month for another goat found a special place, not only in our hearts but the hearts of people around Australia and beyond. The world came to know her as The Runaway Goat, a diminutive, female kid goat who caused mayhem to city commuters as she poorly managed traffic on the Tullamarine Freeway and surrounding Melbourne inner city roads. For several weeks the young goat had been sighted on the freeway deftly dodging cars and would be rescuers. However, it was in parklands surrounding the Melbourne Zoo that animal control officers and a camera crew had formed a posse to capture The Runaway Goat. Exhausted from exploring the new frontiers Calamity Jane, the goat, underwent more than a name change as she has found new digs at Edgar’s Mission. But not before a short stint in the lock up at the Lost Dogs’ Home upon capture by a very agile cameraman.
We fielded many calls and emails from concerned members of the public who had learned of the plight of The Runaway Goat, begging that we intervene and ensure she could find sanctuary with us at Edgar’s Mission. Over and over, we see how animals like dear little Calamity Jane can touch people’s hearts and are reminded of the goodness of the human spirit – when we see a fellow creature in trouble we want to reach out and ease their suffering. It is indeed one of our most noble traits, but sadly for so many animals in this world, their suffering is hidden from human view. They have no freeway to escape to, headlines to capture or voice we can understand. Their only hope for a brighter world rests with our conscience, praying it will expand with the seeds of compassion to one day reach Albert Schweitzer’s vision of peace.
So for now all these lucky goats can breathe a collective bleat of relief, surrendering lives of uncertain futures for goat jungle gyms and ‘mountains’, watermelons and wheetbix, and never again having to fear the hand of human indifference, oh and locking horns with one another till their hearts are content!