Little Women

Meet Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Louisa-May, five beautiful little women who arrived at Edgar’s Mission last week.  These plucky White Leghorn hens are now recovering from the trauma of life in a battery cage.  As you can see several of the physical manifestations of this are still evident, excessively long toe nails (which have now been trimmed), poor debeaking and feather loss from rubbing against the wire cage.  While these we are successfully able to deal with, it is the psychological suffering that while unseen will be our greatest challenge.  Even something so simple as walking normally has to be learned.  Each day their awkward goose steps are fading and they are welcoming the soft understory of straw- something so much more natural and comfortable than the wire floor they once had.  The girls can now find lots of safe and private places to lay their eggs, and if you are a chicken this is something that is vitally important to you.   Our ‘little women’ are also being introduced to the delights to grass (they instantly took to this), grains and seeds (their favorite is sunflower seeds but only in moderation) and melons (still unsure about this one).  One can only imagine what it would be like to live in the area the size of a toilet with a few of your companions for an incredibly long and boring 18 months, devoid of anything to stimulate your naturally curious nature.

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Locking Horns

“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!

 

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Caption of the Month

For your chance to win a special Edgar’s Mission Prize simply leave a comment with your Funny Caption for the above picture of 4 of the Lucky 8 Turkeys exploring a car :) Or click here to email us!

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Above all be kind


“It started with a pig”, said Pam Ahern, founder and director of not for profit animal sanctuary Edgar’s Mission on Tuesday. Addressing the students of Beveridge Primary School, Pam told how her rescue of a tiny piglet she named Edgar Alan Pig changed her life and brought about Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary. The invitation was the brainchild of year 6 student Isha as part of the schools community awareness letter writing project.

“Every day we have the opportunity to vote for kindness with the choices we make” said Pam “and empowering the children of today, who will be the decision makers of tomorrow, with knowledge whilst fostering their natural sense of justice and compassion will help create a brighter world for all”

Animal ambassadors, Hip Hop Bob and Timmy, proved almost too much for the youngsters as squeals of delight rang out. Hip Hop showed how smart, friendly and fun loving pigs are, while Timmy, the ever amicable sheep, enjoyed lots of hugs and even offered a hoofshake to show sheep are not all that wanting in the brains department!

Edgar’s Mission regularly visits schools as part of their humane education program Joining the Dots. This program aims to encourage students to develop their own sets of values based on knowledge and critical thinking while developing compassion and respect for animals, the environment and each other. For more information or to arrange a visit click here.

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What the world needs now

Sharing love and kindness for all beings has become the hallmark of Edgar’s Mission, a not for profit sanctuary for rescued farmed animals but their love and kindness doesn’t only extend to animals. Recently, Edgar’s Mission founder and director, Pam Ahern, loaded up her Kindness Van and headed on down to Arcare Westwood’s Age Care Facility in Burnside.

Polly Piglet and cheeky Kenny Goat spent an enchanted hour mingling with the residents and judging by the smiles all round the venture south was well worth it.

Long ago humans and animals were drawn together when a curious wolf wandered into the campfire of man, and the benefits were mutual. Long established now is the importance of touch, just stroking an animal lowers the heart rate and blood pressure as well as releasing the feel good hormone oxytocin. Evidence no more profound than when the residents availed themselves of stroking Kenny and petting Polly.

“Coming here today is very important to me” said Pam “as animals and the elderly are often the forgotten ones in our community. It is heartening to know places such as Arcare Westwood exist, to give the senior members of our society the quality of life and dignity they so richly deserve”

Polly rounded off the day with a performance of her tricks which included fetching, rolling out her mat and sitting on command – some pig indeed!

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Farewell Moppsy

That rabbits do not live as long as humans is something tragically known all too well by those who have had a bunny hop into their heart and home.  Dear Moppsy, along with her friend Floppsy, became the first rabbit residents of Edgar’s Mission on the 10th of July 2006.  Surrendered by their ‘owners’ who had tired of the fury wonders, Moppsy and Floppsy delighted us each day with peaceful antics.  Floppsy, the larger and albeit shyer of the two dwarf black rabbits, loved to play hide and seek in a huge hollow log we had found, while the feisty little Moppsy would inquisitively run up to you and sit on her haunches, front paws outstretched, to accept your offering.  Gentle to touch and precious to hold, our lives became richer for knowing them.  While dear Floppsy passed away some years ago, it is dearest Moppsy who has now hopped away with a piece of our heart.  Just a quietly as she came into our world she peacefully left, passing away in her sleep on the weekend.  Edgar’s heavenly farmyard is growing.  Travel sweetly my lovely, travel sweetly.

Sadly, rabbits get a pretty raw deal when it comes to their interactions with humans; we eat them, wear them, experiment on them, treat them as pests and keep them as things of amusement in tiny cages.  But it doesn’t have to be this way, the hope that bunnies can live rich and full lives rests with us.  With so many rabbit free ways to clothe ourselves, test chemicals  and cosmetics and conduct research, as well as feed ourselves,  why cause harm to these gentle and innocent creatures?

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Reggie

While we may never know what terrible turn of fate saw Reggie end up in a local pound and be looking down the barrel of a dubious future, his friendly docile nature and long lean body suggest he is a Large Black breed of pig. At first we thought it would be nigh impossible to get Reggie safely ensconced into our horse float, but that was before we knew just how amicable the large black boar was. Despite no loading ramp or race and a rather boggy paddock, Reggie happily grunted and chatted his way up the tail gate into the straw filled horse float. We strongly suspect the Hansel and Gretel breadcrumb trail and scattered oats was a great bargaining tool! A short stop off at the vet clinic on the way home to comply with our strict no breeding policy means there will now be nothing boring about dear Reggie ever again. Reggie and his fate is a stark reminder of how animals are the most vulnerable and voiceless in our community, but in that they also represent the opportunity for us to be our most noble, kind and good. We welcome Reggie to Edgar’s Mission and very much look forward to showing him the delights of watermelons, wallows and walking with branches!

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New Residents – February

Squizzy and Taylor

Squizzy and Taylor

3 Chicks

3 Chicks

Carl Lewis

Calamity Jane and Roo

Calamity Jane and Roo

Roo

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Stop Stalling

Geoff Howard, Joanne Duncan and Pam Ahern with Polly Piglet

Thursday, March 1st is National Pig Day in the USA, and while Americans were toasting their porcines friends down under Australia’s celebrity pig, Polly was trotting for a cause.  Representing the voices of nearly 1,000 caring Victorians Polly made an impassioned plea on the steps of Parliament House Melbourne.  Calling for an end to the small metal crates used to immobilise mother pigs, otherwise known as sow stalls, Polly reminded everyone how naturally friendly, fun loving, and intelligent pigs really are.

On hand to receive the petition was state Member for Macedon, Joanne Duncan, who will present the petition to Parliament next week and Geoff Howard, state member for Ballarat East.

Geoff Howard, Joanne Duncan and Pam Ahern with Polly Piglet

Joanne Duncan with Pam Ahern and Polly

Sitting on Parliament Steps

Interview with Denis O'Kane from 3AW and The Age

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