Campaign Action for July

It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. So our campaign action of the month requires just that – a pen.  And the only sharp implement you will need for this action is your mind!  Grab a pen and clip board as you champion for change. Like all compassionate Australians, we are sure you will have been rocked by the graphic images of animal cruelty that have emerged recently from Australian abattoirs.  Our first petition is calling on the Victorian State Government to install closed circuit televisions (CCTV’s) in  all abattoirs. Our second petition is again calling on the Victorian State Government to ban battery cages for chickens. It seems incredulous that in the 21st century incarcerating sentient creatures in wire cages and denying them the ability to satisfy their most hardwired and natural behaviours could be legal. In order for the petitions to be valid, please remember these important points. Those signing do not need to be over 18years of age but they must reside in the state of which the petition will be tabled and must fully understand the petition. A full address is required, residential or post box along with postcode and all writing MUST be legible.

Download the CCTV petition here

Download the Battery Hen Cage petition here

If you live in a state other than Victoria, please amend the petition to reflect your state.  Please note for those in Tasmania the battery hen petition will not apply as your work is done!!

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For the love of Henry

I never really knew Sarah, Henry’s previous owner, for I had only met her a couple of times but I do know she had a good heart and she was taken from this world way too early.  Sarah passed away recently after a long battle with illness and she left behind her small menagerie of animals she had rescued. One being dear Henry, a jovial black and white pig about five years old, although sadly not so jovial at the moment for he is missing Sarah.  Pigs like Henry bond closely with their human carers more so than many dogs.

On the occasions Sarah and I did chat it was, as you can imagine, about pigs.  We compared notes about our beloved porcines as only pigophiles can. We talked about their favorite treats and their uncanny ability to make you smile in the most ridiculously annoying situations they had just created. Like the time Edgar made his way devilishly into the house while no one was watching and attempted to devour 10 kgs of vegan pet ensuring the contents of the bag made its way to every nook and cranny about the house and that every piece was covered with a good dose of pig saliva. Even today we still unearth the odd pig saliva encrusted treat! We talked about their splendid and full ‘language’ that we each were coming to understand.

I remember relaying to Sarah the wonderful account Sy Montgomery had told of her pig, Christopher Hogwood, in her magical book ‘The Good Good Pig’. It was when a photographer, clearly not versed in the ways of a pig, had turned up to do a photo shoot with Christopher having brought along several props. Sy eyed him dubiously as she said something like “you want Christopher to do what”, knowing full well what Christopher’s degree  of co-operation would be. But undeterred the photographer pressed on as did Christopher’s devouring all of the props! We laughed out loud at the image of dear Edgar and Henry being as equally co-operative for the unsuspecting and ambitious photographer.  I recalled with a smile the photo shoot Edgar did for his fifth birthday which involved party hats of which he refused to keep straight on his head, greeting cards he covered with dirt and birthday cakes which he kept eating before we could get the shot!

I recall Sarah telling of Henry’s ability to bring joy and smiles to all he met.  His sweet patience as he would cleverly sit for a treat, something she had quickly taught the astute Henry.  His antics became legendary as visitors would come to say ‘hello’ to Henry. Henry filled Sarah’s illness ravaged life with laughter, joy, peace and happiness that no other could ever do.

I knew Sarah really had trotted into the inner sanctum of pigs when she told me of Henry’s ‘Zen’ like moments. This is the uncanny ability of pigs to just so ‘be’. You can spy this when they are in their wallow, or standing in a paddock nose raised, eyes closed, having one of those ‘lightness of being’ moments. A wealth of wisdom within, an inquisitive and outgoing friendly disposition to the world, a pig is a being who truly and unassumingly weaves a poignant thread into the hearts and minds of those open enough to receive it. It is Sarah’s love for Henry that has moved me so much, a feeling I can so readily identify as I imagine what it would have been like for dear Edgar to have survived me and not as history has shown vice versa.

That animals grieve is nothing new. Elephants mourning the loss of their departed buddies, having sunken eyes, drooping ears and miserable dispositions, is well documented and heralds a species just like ours whose lives are sadder for the passing of a friend.  Baby elephants who have witnessed the brutal slaughter of their mothers wake up screaming. The tale of Old Shep’s loyalty, patience and friendship as he dutifully returned to the spot where he bid farewell to his master, each day for his last five and half years, rarely fails to bring a lump to the throat or a tear to the eye of the listener. Pigs with their rich intelligence, loving devotion and vivid emotions shown to those who offer them an all too rare kindness, something both Sarah and I know all too well, have their worlds turned upside down when their beloved is no longer.

I knew and know Sarah loved Henry like no other and it is for the love of Henry  that we have opened our barn doors to him and pray we can put his heart together again. Farewell Sarah, Henry is in good hands.

 

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July Competition

For your chance to win a 2013 Edgar’s Mission Calendar simply leave a comment with a funny caption to the picture below :) Winner announced in July Trottings! Good luck!

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Everything is coming up roses for the Kindness Kids

It may be chilly winter but everything is coming up roses for seven lucky little goats who have found new digs here at Edgar’s Mission. James, Bond, Jimmy, Chris, Ray, Jalen and Juwan have all suffered the trauma of losing their mothers. But today they celebrated the sunshine and no kidding they ensured everyone had a bloomin’ good time! Check them out!

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Eeny, Meeny, Miny and Mo

The recent arrival of Eeny, Meeny, Miny and Mo, four sweet  little chicks comes with a big message – say ‘no to chicken hatching projects’. Little Eeny has a deformed beak and will need special care to ensure she gets enough food to keep her well nourished. Tiny chicks like Eeny, Meeny, Miny and Mo have special needs while they develop their adult insulating feathers and become better able to fend for themselves. Unable to defend themselves from larger predators chicks are most vulnerable and not everyone is knowledgeable enough or prepared to cater for their special needs. We humans bring these animals into this world, this should come with duties to them as well. The first being good stewards of their care.

The kindness factor

  1. Be their voice, say no to chicken hatching projects. Sign an online petition or contact us for postcard to send to decision makers asking them to hatch better ideas.
  2. Encourage teachers and friends to adopt activities that appreciate the lives of animals not trivialise them. Organise a field trip to a wetland or animal sanctuary.
  3. Volunteer at Edgar’s Mission and help ensure creatures like Eeny, Meeny, Miny and Mo have a life worth living.

For more information about the welfare concerns with chicken hatching projects please click here.

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Goats in coats

The last 48 hours have  been very telling for our Fab Five Kindness Kids. Little Jimmy who we suspect is not more than a week old has taken to the bottle, albeit it is more of a guzzle than a suck. His picture perfect innocence instantly warms the bitter cold. Jimmy is the smallest of the three white/grey kids in the group. The biggest fellow is Ray, he is stoically determined to refuse our kindness and flees at every opportunity but he is eating grains and grass and is doing well. The middle sized fellow is dear Chris who developed the most amazingly huge abscess overnight. He was rushed to veterinary care this morning to have it lanced and is now on a course of antibiotic injections and twice daily flushing of the wound. Such painful treatment will make it even tougher to penetrate his fear of humans but rose petals are proving a good bargaining tool!

The largest of the kids is the brown and black striped Juwan, and he is priming himself to be the tough guy. No sissy is this one, and no lap will he nurse from.  We suspect this guy may have designs on being the leader. So that leaves dear sweet Jalen. At first we thought Jalen too wanted to be a tough street boy, but the delicious scent of warm milk quickly melted his resolve and he is proving to be a trusting gentle soul who loves his bottle, cuddles and kisses. Sadly only two of the five are sufficiently comfortable drinking from the bottle for us to persist, the other three worked themselves into such a state that any gains made from the milk would be lost due to the resulting stress. The plight of our Fab Five is compounded when one considers nature’s way would have seen the kids weaned from their mothers at around 5-6 months, yet circumstances beyond their control sees them all motherless and under two weeks of age. So for now it is a waiting game as we gain their trust and see their will to live come to the fore along with their unique personalities.

A fab five indeed!

If you would like to sponsor the Kindness Kids please click here.

 

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Kindness Kids

The fabulous five was the nickname lovingly bestowed on the 1991 University of Michigan’s men’s basketball team comprising of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. The fab five became legendary, creating a sense of pride and hope for their fans. The Edgar’s Mission fab five; Chris, Jalen, Juwan, Jimmy and Ray are five wee orphan kid goats who arrived here today. Bewildered and confused they cried out for the mothers they will never see again and around the clock care they will need to get them through the next couple of critical weeks. Unsure of their pasts, we only know we can shape the best future possible for them. Fortunate are they that we had recently ordered in a very large bag of special infant formula in anticipation of winter orphans. And before too long they will be in need of castration, but no brutal rubber rings for these little guys. Despite the added expense we insist on the most humane surgical castration, complete with pain relief. We take a keen sense of pride in the care we are able to afford all our orphans, knowing we are their only hope for a better life.

If you would like to sponsor our Fab Five Kindness Kids your one off payment will kick start their new lives and you will receive a special presentation folder including their photo and kindness certificate. Continue reading

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James & Bond

How’s your day been? Looking for some good news? Well we have some!  We have made ground with little James and Bond and found their favorite treat is rose petals!  They are also munching away of grass hay, grass and a chaff and grain mix.  Their eyes are much softer as they are much more settled in our presence and they have worked out we are the source of the delicious rose petals. Seeing them in our hand the dashing James and Bond longingly look us in the eye as if to say “is that for me?”

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Like a duck to water…

Last night’s 7.30 Report featured a story on the factory farming of ducks with disturbing images of animal cruelty.

The saying ‘like a duck to water’ suggests something that one is so naturally good at, or something that one finds so easy to do, they don’t have to think twice about it.  The analogy so poignantly highlights the biological significance of water to a duck.  Sadly, such a message hasn’t hit Australia’s factory farmers of these aquatic birds.  Devoid of access to a water source other than a nipple drinker means in a year 8 million ducks instinctive need for water related behaviours is thwarted along with having no clean air, comfortable resting area or good ventilation for their short impoverished lives.

Water really is a key element in the life of a duck.  It  enables them to clean their eyes and nostrils as well as preen themselves.  Ducks also like to feed in water  – it is what nature has designed their complex bills for.  If you look closely at a duck’s bill you will see tiny little comb like bristles along the inside.  These act like sieves to filter seeds, bugs and other foods from water and mud as the ducks forage in dams and ponds.

Such a lack of access to water is not only frustrating to these gentle creatures it creates serious animal welfare issues.  Factory farmers of ducks argue that it is impractical to provide ducks with access to water troughs as they would need to be constantly cleaning them and to do so would make the areas water logged.  Such a callous disregard for the welfare needs of ducks casts these factory farmers in a very poor light.

The kindness factor for ducks;

  1. Don’t support factory farming of ducks
  2. Write a letter to your state Minister of Agriculture telling them the factory farming of ducks is unethical, wrong and has no place in a compassionate society. (please feel free to include any of the above points)
  3. Please take a moment to contact the 7.30 Report and thank them for airing such an important issue. Tell them that animal welfare matters to you and that you appreciate stories that inform you on how animals are treated in our society.
  4. Try some of the delicious duck free alternatives. If in Melbourne check out “roast mock duck” at the White Lotus Restaurant, in Elizabeth Street, North Melbourne.  This dining establishment is totally vegan, with many gluten free options.

Interesting duck facts;

  • Ducks have three eyelids.
  • Only female ducks quack, the males make a rasping ‘haaaaaaaaaa’ sound
  • The natural life span of a duck can be up to 12 years, factory farmed ducks are slaughtered at around 7-8 weeks of age.
  • Ducks have no nerves or blood vessels in their feet, this enables them to withstand freezing temperatures on ponds and dams.
  • Duck’s feathers are extremely waterproof, so much so the their downy underlay feathers will always stay dry.
  • Today’s more than 40 breeds of domestic ducks have descended from either the Mallard or Muscovy duck.  The white Pekin is the most common variety used for meat and egg production.

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When you’re on a good thing stick to it…

 When you’re on a good thing stick to it…

…and remove the staples.  And so today the staples were removed from  the wound on Molly’s head. Pleased to report the nasty injury is healing well with no infection evident was Molly’s dedicated veterinary team who have been on hand monitoring Molly’s progress.  We doubt that there has ever been a sheep more loved by so many than Molly and we thank you all for holding her so close in your thoughts and good wishes.

And sticking by the side of her new buddies is Molly as she learns we are not a species to be feared and more often than not come bearing gifts of kindness, some being something so simple as a pat. In the short time the world has come to know a gentle sheep named Molly Brown she has raised a sense of community compassion like no other and never again will they look at sheep the same way.

For more pictures and her full story please click here.

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Then and Now – Tammy

Tammy

In 2001 Dr Keith Kendrick and his associates, of the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, England conducted studies on sheep and determined “The way the sheep’s brain is organised suggests they must have some kind of emotional response to what they see in the world”. This finding rings harsh for what many sheep do in fact see in their world. Tammy, a young black suffolk ewe would have seen much tragedy and grief as several of her flock slowly perished before her eyes. Found severely emaciated and unable to stand, it would not have been long before Tammy too succumbed to gross neglect. Brought to Edgar’s Mission she proved resilient in both body and spirit, see how she flourished.

Then

Now

For more pictures and to read Tammy’s story please click here.

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Edgar’s Mission-dreams really can come true!

Last Thursday, May 31st was ‘A night to remember’ for all the wrong reasons. A horrific truck roll over on the Western Ring Road left around 400 sheep dead on the Princess Freeway below as countless people across the country reeled in horror at the images of the stricken sheep. Molly Brown, so named after Titanic survivor, the unsinkable Margaret ‘Molly’ Brown is thought to be the sole surviving sheep of the carnage. Her uplifting story of beating the odds, not once but twice as the truck was heading to the abattoir, hit the headlines this morning as she recovered under the care of the Lost Dogs Homes in North Melbourne. And we hit the phones. Calling in our offer of assistance to Molly we were delighted to receive the call not long ago that Edgar’s Mission will be the place where Molly’s dreams will come true.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to the Lost Dogs Home for ensuring Molly received the emergency veterinary attention she vitally needed and for considering Edgar’s Mission suitably equipped to provide for the special needs of this indomitable sheep. We are heartened to learn that so many people came forward to recommend Edgar’s Mission as that special place for Molly, we thank you all for the belief you have in our work. Timmy and our crew will be heading down tomorrow morning to collect Molly, please check in for updates

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true….

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Farewell Winston & David

You all came to know them as the Christmas turkeys; Winston Churchill, Paul Keating, John Howard, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, John Major, James Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher. At Edgar’s Mission they got to see the sunshine, scratch about in the soil and be loved by humans, things so few turkeys ever get the chance to do.  From their first tentative steps on grass they gobbled, danced about, sunbathed and grew and grew.  Yesterday dear Winston Churchill unable to move about or even stand, and with great difficulty breathing told us it was time. That his condition deteriorated most suddenly is not something uncommon for even rescued factory farmed turkeys, their genetics pushing them to grow big and heavy beyond what nature ever intended them to be. Today David Cameron too succumbed to the same fate. And it is not only our hearts that are heavy tonight for when we gently carried Winston Churchill to the back of the car to make that last fateful trip his turkey friends formed a cortege on the way, for no better words, they were paying their respects. Yes animals grieve, they know when their friends are in trouble. We saw this when Winston Churchill unable to stand having made his way to our back door, his favorite place, his turkey friends where solemnly standing around him. Then in turn they bent forward, nudged their beak against his side then cocked their head quizzically as if to say ‘come on buddy get up’.

Grieve not for Winston and David, but rejoice for they lived an amazing life as will their buddies continue to do for as long as we can make it possible. And remember their key to a better world rests with you.

Read their story here.

 

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Reasons for Hope

We have been heartened by all the messages that have flooded in over the weekend in response to our stories and pictures. In the wake of last Thursday’s tragedy we have decided to give you a week of hope -stories of amazing animal rescues, of farmed animals beating the odds. And remember, the greatest reason for hope that farmed animals have rests with you! Every time you sit down to eat you have a choice whether to be cruel or kind to an animal, it really is that simple. And who better to start our week than Hope telling her story….

Christmas is never a good time for a pig. While it may be a happy time of year for you human folk, sadly all that peace and goodwill doesn’t extend to farmed animals. So I decided to do something about it. Many people think of farmed animals as dull and boring, but not us pigs. I was quick to display my intelligence as I made good my escape from the pig farm. It took a bit of work, cleverly maneuvering my snout, lots of squeezing, hiding and running. Oh the running, I ran and ran for my life. Finally I reached the highway. I looked around and blinked in the sunshine, although I had scratches and cuts I felt a million dollars! I took a deep breath and for the first time in my life my lungs filled with clean air, I pushed my snout to the sun and I smelt the fresh air and it ‘tasted’ so good. I trotted a little circle on the grass, the first time my delicate little trotters felt soft grass and it felt like I was prancing on clouds. At this point I would have loved nothing more than to wag my curly tail in excitement as you would no doubt have seen a dog do, but I couldn’t. All that remained was a painful bloodied stump, my tail had been cut off not so long ago without any pain relief or anesthetic. Then my heart began to ache for my buddies I had left behind and so I made them a solemn promise as I trotted to freedom, ‘I will tell your story’.

Racing about the busy highway, no one seemed to care about an escapee piglet so I started to look for somewhere to rest and to find the ‘good folk’ we had only ever dreamt about. The first house I came upon had a large dog who chased me. People came out to see what all the fuss was about. ‘ A pig’ they squealed, ‘catch it’. I wasn‛t sure if these people were ‘good’ or ‘bad’ folk and took off just in case. I ran until I was trapped, with thoughts of ham running through my mind I bit the hand that grabbed me. ‘Quick, get a cage’ I heard one roar, and soon my freedom was gone. I had almost given up hope until I heard someone say, ‘call Edgar’s Mission’. Upon hearing that name, I did a little happy pig dance. Soon I took my first look at heaven on earth as the lady in the hat whispered in my ear that she loved me and I was safe. To repay their kindness I decided to become an Ambassador Pig, in the true spirit of the Great Edgar Alan Pig. I would travel far and wide, showing people what wonderful, happy and intelligent animals pigs are. Now I am retired I spend my days lazing in the sun, kicking back in my wallow or curled up in my straw bed, eating lots of delicious treats oh and taking time out to say hello to my buddies.

The Kindness Factor

  1. Ditch pork-why not try some of the delicious and nutritious meat free alternatives like fakin bacon.
  2. Volunteer at Edgar’s Mission and help Hope and her buddies have a life truly worth living
  3. Tell them you care – write to your Members of Parliament and tell them to stop stalling and ban sow stalls now
  4. Become my Best Buddy

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Speak up for Chickens

The ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) is currently set to consider an application from the AECL (Australian Egg Corporation Limited) for a certification trademark that if approved would greatly water down the term ‘free range’ in relation to eggs.  Many consumers are prepared to pay more for ‘free range’ eggs in the belief they are paying for a better life for hens.  If approved the new standard would allow for egg producers to cram more hens into less space and still market the eggs as free range.  The eggs of up to 20,000 ‘free range’ hens per hectare could be marketed alongside the eggs of the ‘genuine’ free range egg producers who stock hens at a maximum of 1,500 hens hectare as per the Code Of Practice for the Welfare of Animals-Poultry – with nothing to distinguish the production systems.  Basically consumers wouldn’t know what ‘free range’ actually means to hens.

The ACCC is the body charged with protecting consumer interests and ensuring fair competition.   And now they want to hear from you!  We are advised that this consultation is not about animal welfare rather it is how this trademark if approved will impact on consumers making informed choices and whether producers will be disadvantaged by different stocking densities not being distinguished.

What does free range eggs mean to you?  Tell the ACCC now, you have until June 20, 2012.

The General Manager

Adjudication Branch

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

GPO Box 3131

Canberra, ACT 2601

email: [email protected]

Subject line; Certification Trademark Application No. 1390450/Australian Egg Corporation

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Competition Time!

For your chance to win a special Edgar’s Mission Prize simply leave a comment or email us with a funny caption to the above picture :)

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Mind Games

Stepping onto the pedestrian crossing recently at the Melbourne Airport I had all the confidence in the world the fast approaching oncoming traffic would stop.  Angry looks from drivers and the screeching of brakes, while somewhat dinting this confidence, I strode on.  Having right of passage fuelled both my steps and my glance at the drivers with that “I’m in the right here” kind of nod.  And off I strode into the airport.  It was only on my return that I noticed the pedestrian crossing was also governed by a mandatory button one had to push to indicate to the drivers to stop.  A warning sign to not cross until the lights were flashing beamed accusingly at me.  Whoops, major bad on my part as a little cold shiver went down my spine.  Only moments earlier I had walked casually in front of a fast moving stream of determined traffic, it was akin to attempted suicide.  That I had just, albeit unwittingly, dodged a bullet or, more correctly, several fast moving cars driven by drivers none too appreciative of some dim wit walking out in front of them, was not lost on me.  Obediently I awaited my instruction to walk. No way could I consciously attempt such an act of bravado with such gusto as I had earlier done with my new found knowledge.

The mind is indeed a most powerful tool, and with it on our side we are capable of believing and achieving just about anything! It was the great American inventor and vegetarian, Thomas Alva Edison, who said “If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”   Actually we do astound ourselves every day with the power of our mind but not always because of its virtuosity. Rather, it is the ability of our mind to convince us that acts or ways of thinking we would never knowingly, willingly, consciously do, think or feel are in the natural order of things, above question and will not harm us, that is astounding.  Imagine hitting a hammer against the last nail to finish a special project, ‘wham’, and a sense of pride engulfs.  Now change nail to your thumb and the temerity of the whack will be hesitantly diminished, ‘ouch’.

Our mind is shaped by many things; experience, culture and social norms and all reflected in our language.  We use language as an efficient means of communicating our thoughts, and we have cleverly crafted labels to quickly shape our perceptions.

Throughout history humans minds have been persuaded to believe a number of absurdities, such a blind allegiance enabled them to commit absolute atrocities.  Believe it they did then and believe it they do today, albeit the lie just wears another coat. But what has marked our ethical progress throughout history has been those minds powerful enough and fueled with unending courage and compassion to say ‘hey, this is a lie’, ‘we’ve got it wrong’. William Wilberforce, an early crusader of social justice did just this when he began a campaign in 1787 to right a wrong.  He recognized that the label of ‘slaves’ and the color of one’s skin was no justification for the way people were treated. It was not an easy battle with many justifications put forth to stop the determined Wilberforce and it was not until 1883 that the last slave was free from tyranny, a month after Wilberforce’s death.

Today labels continue to rule our perceptions of how we treat others.  This is especially so when the others happen to belong to the animal kingdom.  Domestic pet, wildlife and farm animal, are just some of the labels we use to halt an inquiring ethical mind from reaching the inevitable conclusion that an animal is an animal, a living, breathing, feeling, emotional, intelligent creature that can suffer regardless of the label we have placed upon them.  Does a dog know it’s a dog? Hell no, it’s just a label we have placed on an animal with four legs, a waggy tail and a wet nose.  What a dog does know is it is happy to see you.  Just as a cow, pig, sheep or chicken would be if stripped of its label and given the chance to receive the same love and tender care we shower upon dogs. But then that would make eating them somewhat uncomfortable.

Labels shape our worlds and sadly allow us to abandon animals in suffering when we know better.  But we are not automatons and connected to that controlling mind there is a heart and within that heart there is a voice, it speaks to the greatness of who we are.  In the clarity of an open mind that steps outside our busy world and grasps an individual thought you will hear it, it doesn’t want to harm those with whom we share the world and it doesn’t want to walk in front of oncoming traffic.

“If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”

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