Cooking with kindness

Proving a mouthwatering success was Saturday’s vegan bake sale at Bendigo Wholefoods.  Cupcakes, pies, sausages rolls, lamingtons and more, all made without animal ingredients proved where there is a will there really is a delicious way.  And with just over $970 dollars raised for the not for profit animal sanctuary Edgar’s Mission, the day was a winner all round.

Organized by Maiden Gully resident Zerin Knight, the bake sale was part of a worldwide initiative which saw over 150 bake sales taking place across six continents and all raising funds for their chosen causes.

“I am deeply touched that Edgar’s Mission and its 250 plus rescued animal residents will be the beneficiary from today’s event” said Edgar’s Mission founder and director, Pam Ahern.

Pam, and a most amicable sheep named Timmy, who is one of the star ambassadors of the sanctuary, were on hand to talk about the work of this much loved sanctuary.  Timmy certainly proved a crowd favourite and even managed to lure some treats his way.

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Meet rabbits, Brenda and Jacqui…

Meet Brenda and Jacqui, two very lucky rabbits, and here is their story.  The imminent closure of a factory farmed meat rabbit facility in Southern Tasmania spelled reprieve for 300 lucky bunnies, of which Brenda and Jacqui are just two.  Securing their safety was the Tasmanian based animal sanctuary Big Ears who have worked tirelessly along with Victorian organisations, Freedom for Farmed Rabbits and Radical Rabbit to bring about the best animal welfare outcomes for the hapless New Zealand White rabbits.  Sadly several rabbits were in such a poor state of health upon their rescue the only humane thing to do was to help them peacefully pass from this world – a passing that is never afforded a factory farmed rabbit.

Equally sad is the plight of factory farmed rabbits like Brenda and Jacqui who endure lives of misery, boredom, depravation and compromised health.  While Australians are increasingly becoming aware about the plight of factory farmed pigs and chickens and are voting with their dollars accordingly, many are not aware that the factory farming of rabbits even occurs in this country.  Rabbits are friendly, inquisitive and intelligent creatures, much loved by many.  Statistics on farmed rabbit numbers are difficult to obtain, yet in 2003 it was estimated around  119,000 -132,000 rabbits on 80 – 100 farms were held captive in tiny wire cages suspended over concrete or earthen floors.  The wire floors are far removed from what nature designed rabbits to spend their days on and can cause sores and injury, making it impossible to find a comfy bed, and ammonia ridden sheds can cause respiratory and eye problems.

Rabbit Farm - Photo credit: BigEars Sanctuary

Hopping about, burrowing and exploring their world are all fundamentals in a rabbit’s life, yet these simple things are an impossible dream for factory farmed rabbits.  Severe confinement can not only compromise physical wellbeing but also lead to psychological stress resulting in stereotypical behaviours or fighting.  Disease can quickly spread amongst the captive rabbits due to the cramped quarters and their lowered immunity due to stress.  With high mortality rates, and a slaughter age of around 10-14 weeks, time on earth for a meat rabbit could well be described as hell on earth.

Proving rabbits can have wings, Brenda and Jacqui were flown to Victoria to take up residence at Edgar’s Mission.  The girls have recently been desexed and are comfortably recovering enjoying grass, treats and kindness, things totally devoid from their previous life.  Already they are proving wonderful ambassadors, being incredibly friendly, trusting and forgiving to the species that has so wronged their kind.  And how do we tell the difference? While they certainly do look very similar, it is the individual personalities of Brenda and Jacqui that  make them easy to identify.  Brenda is far more outgoing, while Jacqui is somewhat shy and reserved.   It is hard not to muse when cuddling these adorable girls, “what on earth were humans thinking when we decided to cage, confine and consume such an innocent creature”.  The answer, I don’t think we were….

Rabbit facts:

  • Rabbits are not rodents. They are lagomorphs. Other lagomorphs include hares and pikas.
  • Rabbits are mammals as they warm blooded and nurse their young, feeding them milk.
  • A well cared for rabbit that has been spayed or neutered early in life can live for 8 to 12 years.
  • The gestation period (pregnancy) of a rabbit is about 31 days.
  • A male rabbit is called a buck, a female rabbit is called a doe and a baby rabbit is called a kit.
  • Rabbits’ teeth never stop growing.
  • Rabbits can be trained to use litter.
  •  A group of rabbits is called a herd and they live in a warren (or a wondrous place called Edgar’s Mission!)

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The beat goes on

Today has been one hell of a day as you can imagine, but we have been overwhelmed by the community support for Edgar’s Mission.  We thank each and every one of you for letting council know that Edgar’s Mission is important to you also.  Please accept our sincere apologies as we may not get the chance to thank you individually for this tonight.  Our day didn’t stop with spreading the word about the important issue of the expansion of gun club activities in our area.  Polly and Kenny carried the flag at Gracecourt Hostel in Kew, where senior members of our community clapped and cheered, smiled and laughed as they met our inimitable ambassadors, and the message of kindness was spread.    While a call from an outer Melbourne Veterinary Clinic about a tiny duckling that had been found doing a very poor job of directing traffic on Bell Street, saw an about turn to collect the little fella.  Once home animals all fed and tended too, then it was off to Melbourne Airport to collect two very lucky rabbits who were destined for the dinner table until our friends at Big Ears Sanctuary in Tasmania intervened.  Brenda and Jacqui are now happily taking a well earned rest, with the possibility of this for us a distant dream.  Rest assured we will always move heaven and earth to do what we can to make the world a better place for animals and people- it is our privilege to do so.



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Making it right

Cows, kids and kindness proved just the right mix on Sunday at Edgar’s Mission when all three merged together for Kids Day Out 2012.  Held this year in conjunction with the Jane Goodall Institute Australia, Roots and Shoots Program, around 35 excited young people searched for birds’ nests, woodworm carvings and snake skins as part of the nature trail.  While the farm tour gave the youngsters the opportunity to get up close and personal with pigs, goats, chickens and the farm favorites, Bambi and Gemima Deer.  The turkeys too were a huge hit as they showed a side of turkeys few people rarely get to see.

“Wow, I never knew turkeys were so friendly and inquisitive” said one newly devoted turkey fan.

“It’s just wonderful seeing the enthusiasm all the children had for wanting to find ways to make a positive difference in the world” said Edgar’s Mission founder, Pam Ahern.  “Fostering their innate awe and interest in the natural world have so many positives in encouraging young people to think deeply about the impact they are having on our world.  They will after all be the decision makers of tomorrow”

Alicia Kennedy, of the Jane Goodall Institute Australia, spoke of their exciting upcoming “Live the change challenge” starting May 16, where every day for 21 days participants are asked to commit to 3 simple actions each day.  Ranging from bringing your own coffee cup, planting a tree, turning the lights out while you watch television (or even not watching television) or writing to a politician; individuals pledge to find ways to make the world a better place.  For more information please click here.

And what would a day out at Edgar’s Mission be without tricks from the pigs? The inimitable Polly carried more than the flag as she not only fetched her toys from her toy box but put away when finished.  Now only if we can teach the kids to do the same!

For the full photo album please click here.

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Meet Melvin

Meet Melvin.  Left for dead in a ditch by the side of the road amongst the dead bodies of his companions, little Melvin somehow found the will to survive.  But he couldn’t do it alone.  By some divine intervention a council roadside worker came upon the grizzly scene along the little used road and both lives would change for the better.  Shaking his head in disbelief he caught sight of what he thought was something moving.  Taking a second look, nothing did move, but just as his heavy heart told him to move on a tiny ‘baa’ pierced his soul and he saw the young wether.  “I couldn’t leave the little blighter there could I?” he would later tell.  A severely underweight and recently shorn merino, with infected sores from where he lay, was the lamb that would be named Melvin.  The only movement the poor little chap could muster was to lift his head.  It took the love, kindness and innovation of the worker and his wife to get Melvin on the road to recovery.  Quickly fashioning a sling to keep the resilient Melvin upright would prove livesaving as sheep left on their sides for too long will succumb to bloat, a condition which results in difficulty breathing and often death.

Offering physiotherapy, glucose filled syringes, manual feeding of grass and hay along with all the love the Good Samaritans could muster ,saw Melvin rally.  While it took some days for him to gain the strength to walk again, Melvin would soon befriend the family dogs.  Seeing Melvin happily playing in the yard with their pets caused the line between friend and food to blur.  The couple soon realised that their work was done and a new home was needed for Melvin.  But where? Their hearts sank when they considered that life on farms means an untimely end and a conversion into lamb chops and Sunday roast if you are a sheep.  News of Melvin’s recovery was shared with friends who mentioned Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary.  At first incredulous at the thought a farm could exist that would provide sanctuary and a long and happy life, not only for sheep but all farmed animals, seemed too good to be true.  But that was before they made the trek to Edgar’s Mission.  The tear filled eyes of the wife and beaming smile of the worker will bear testament that Edgar’s Mission indeed changes not only the lives of the animals who are fortunate to find their way to us.

Welcome little Melvin, welcome.


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