Campaign Action of the Month – August

With Winter now behind and fine sunny days beckoning Spring is in the air and that can only mean one thing- Be Kind to Animals Week is fast approaching! So friends, now is the time to don your thinking caps and set about organising a wonderful Kindness Event in your area. The list of kind endeavours you can carry out is endless, however here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Set up a Kindness Display at your local library (with their permission of course!)
  • Organise a casual day at your school or place of work to raise funds for your favorite charity (perhaps Edgar’s Mission!)
  • Visit a local nursing home – after all, people need our kindness too!

Once you have decided on your ‘Kindness Action Plan’ don’t forget to email us so your activity can be added to the growing list on the Be Kind to Animals Week website.

Don’t forget to download the Be Kind To Animals Week colouring in competition and post it back to us for your chance to win a prize!

Last of all, be sure to contact us to receive your very own Be Kind to Animals Week kit, which includes BKTAW ribbons, posters, flyers and more. To receive your kit email Paula and don’t forget to include your postal address so that we can get it to you as soon as possible.

We look forward to hearing all about your events and for you to join us in spreading the message of kindness far and wide.

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A Humble Creature

There was nothing special about Somerset County.

It was a deeply ordinary place.

No astonishing thing ever happened there.

The people who lived there were just regular people.

And the animals… Well, they were just plain old animals.

They didn’t question the order of things.

So, the days passed, one very much like the other.

But, one Spring, on a small farm,

A little girl did something,

something that would change everything.

That little girl’s name was Fern and she was brought to life in the Paramount Pictures portrayal of E.B. White’s classic tale of  loyalty, trust, and sacrifice; “Charlotte’s Web”. The little girl Fern, played so beautifully in the movie by Dakota Fanning, is one of only two living beings who sees that Wilbur is a special animal, as she raises him, the runt of the litter, to become a terrific and radiant pig.    As Wilbur moves into a new barn, he begins a second profound friendship with the most unlikely of creatures – a spider named Charlotte – and their bond inspires the animals around them to come together as a family. Continue reading

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The Andrew Sisters

While the Andrew Sisters whipped up a storm of harmony with their swing and blues hits of the 40’s, our Andrews Sisters of LaVerne, Maxene and Patricia are whipping up a storm of a different kind. A storm of smiles erupts whenever people see these innocent little lambs gamboling about. LaVerne and Maxene were found abandoned and greatly struggling to survive without a guiding mother to give them life sustaining milk. Exactly how long they were alone we do not know but it would appear this setback has greatly compromised their robustness. Luckily for them life is now full of nourishment, kindness and attention to their every need. Little Patricia on the other hand was one of twin lambs that had somehow been left behind when the flock of sheep had been moved on. The newborn Patricia bravely survived the frosty morn while sadly her sibling hadn’t. Almost frozen, Patricia was taken by a station hand to a local vet who fortunately had on hand a good supply of colostrum. This was enough to convince the tiny lamb life was worth fighting for and Patricia has never missed a meal since!

Meet more Edgar’s Mission Residents here.

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Women of Letters – August

Boots, Hum Bug and Patty went along to Women of Letters today to thank everyone for supporting Edgar’s Mission and giving them a second chance at life.

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Joining the Dots

Friday 17th of August saw 30 intrepid year 3 & 4 students from Derrimut Primary School venture to Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary to partake in our interactive, fun and informative ‘Joining the Dots’ program. Continue reading

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I See You

Left for dead by the side of the road, little Melvin is lucky to be alive today.  Found on a pile of rotting corpses the non-ambulatory little sheep could barely  move.  Yet somehow his feeble cry touched not only the ears but the heart of a council worker who was driving heavy machinery nearby.  Clinging to life, the wide eyed Melvin spent several weeks in a quickly fashioned sling.  Showering all the love he and his wife could muster, the council worker believed that while Melvin’s spirit remained strong so too would their assistance.  Small handfuls of grass and grains made their way to the tiny shrunken stomach of Melvin, each day seeing him grow stronger.  Soon it was the family’s pug dogs who offered Melvin barks of encouragement as they raced about, daring a game of chase.

It wasn’t long before Melvin’s recovery had outgrown his suburban digs, and his carers, wanting the best for their sheepy friend, sought Edgar’s Mission’s assistance.  At first Melvin was, well a little sheepish.  Still not 100% it wasn’t just his confidence that was lacking but it wasn’t too long before the delicious scent of wheetbix had claimed another prisoner and Melvin had lots of reasons to live.  Melvin’s friendly disposition quickly came to the fore and before long he was being a most humble ambassador to new arrivals at the sanctuary.  One of his charges became Molly, the sole survivor of a horrific truck accident.

And today Melvin was visited by his savoir.  ‘Do you think he will remember me?’ The chap asked as we walked up the path to Melvin and his new buddies.   Gently nibbling a wheetbix from the hand that saved his life Melvin showed himself to have blossomed into a fine strapping young merino wether.  Several tender minutes were spent before work beckoned the Good Samaritan away.  Did Melvin recognize the man?  I didn’t believe he did, after all Melvin gets many visitors these days.  But as we made our way down the path the chap called back ‘see you matey’ Melvin looked up, no he didn’t just look up, he looked into the guy’s eyes and I have no doubt he recognised his friend and the lump in my throat just ballooned.

 

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Sustaining Kindness

Tuesday 14 August 2012 and Geelong’s Clonard College conducted their sustainability day for year 7/8 students. A range of environmental activities filled the day including a presentation by Edgar’s Mission founder and director Pam Ahern, on the importance of sustaining kindness with the food choices we all make. “There is no more profound statement of who we are than the choices we make in life” said Pam, adding “that we truly can lead happy and healthy lives without harming animals”. Ambassador pig, Polly, was a hit as always and certainly food for thought as she posed the question why are some animals friends and others food.

For more information about our Joining the Dots program please click here.

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These boots are made for walkin’……and jumpin’!!

His mother was a teddy bear and his father was a Mexican jumping bean. Don’t believe us? Well you have never met Boots then!! This feisty little fellow whose cuteness can be seen from the moon is guaranteed to bring a smile to the steeliest face. Found walkin’ by the side of the road near Mildura the tiny little Boer cross kid goat decided messin’ with cars was not a good idea. Assisted by the good folk from Victorian Dog Rescue, Boots literally hitchhiked his way to Edgar’s Mission. Determined to start a changin’ people’s attitudes towards farmed animals Boots will not need a set of matches to spark that flame of compassion that lurks within us all. Just one meeting ought to do the trick, after all the truthin’ is, animals are emotional intelligent feeling beings regardless of the label we put on them and just like Boots all need our compassion, kindness and someone to walk all over.

Are you ready for Boots?  Start liken!

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The Grinch Factor

Dr Seuss & Boris Karloff having a nap

Surrendered to make way for a new baby and found wandering at large was Boris Karloff and Dr Seuss. While their circumstances differed their fates did not; in desperate need of a loving home where they would become friends and not food had become their lot. The jovial Boris is quick to greet, obedient to sit and in love with belly rubs. Dr Seuss on the other hand is a little reserved, clearly not having received all the attention his new chum Boris had. However Dr Seuss has none the less mastered the good old ‘belly rub blissful grunt’ which just goes to prove that the way to a pigs heart is indeed via his tummy!

Dr Seuss is ready for play time!

Boris Karloff enjoying his cake

Pigs will never cease to bring a smile to our faces. Their playful antics and matter of fact manner are both clear indications that an intelligent being exists within. Our time spent in their company has taught us that they are no doubt one of the cleanest animals you could hope to meet; the idea of the ‘dirty pig’ being one of the most ill-conceived we have encountered. Friendly and fun loving are pigs.They are possessed with a purity of heart that is without menace. And while the Grinch may indeed attempt to steal Christmas, nothing will ever steal our resolve to help pigs. Please join us.

Dr Seuss enjoying his first dig

Dr Seuss LOVES tummy rubs

Pigs the kindness factor:

  1. Open your heart and home to a rescued pig. Only suitably equipped adopters please apply. Sense of humour, lots of changes of clothes and pig friendly accommodation required.
  2. Get pork off your fork. Try these pig (and all animal friendly) recipes – Sweet and Sour Fake PorkSmokey Maple Hickory Fake Bacon & Maple Fake Bacon Pancakes
  3. Be  my buddy – sponsor a rescued pig – Hamish or Hope
  4. Speak up for pigs. The shocking revelations that have recently come to hand as a result of investigations by Animal Liberation NSW and ACT have left many people reeling, shocking on so many levels, none the least being that much of the cruelty and suffering endured by the pigs is legal.  Be informed. Become a voice for the voiceless, sign the online petition and contact our Federal Minister for Agriculture, Joe Ludwig and tell him pigs deserve better.

Boris Karloff taking a stroll

Dr Seuss after his afternoon nap

Dr Seuss finding some delicious roots

Dr Seuss getting ready for bed. Good night everyone

 

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In the company of chickens

As you could well imagine I have been keeping the company of chickens rather a lot lately.  Bearing witness to the transformation from frightened and featherless battery hen to confident and freedom loving fowl has been truly uplifting, and much needed after the five dark days spent on their liberation.  Many a time now I have sat down on a bale of straw and watched the majesty of a gentle hen lying on her side as the sun’s rays caress, for the first time in her life, her tatty brown feathers.  Invariably, the hens blissfully close their eyes, extend their top wing to its maximum, stretch out their legs, lie back and enjoy the true nature of happiness.  And here’s the punch; they do enjoy.  There can be no doubt the hens are doing this simply because it feels good; it gives them pleasure.  For, after all, they are emotional creatures.  Their worlds are shaped by their experiences, the things and beings around them, and sadly up until this point in time, very few things in their gloomily barren world would have given them pleasure.

At first the chickens were reluctant to move about much, not only were their bodies weak and exhausted but so too were their spirits.  The slightest noise would send them into a frenzy.  I recall the pandemonium in the hen house when a volunteer sneezed.  It was terrifying, not so much the panic of the chickens but the thought that such a simple gesture could elicit such an unnerving response.  Today I cannot help but smile as each night I bid them good tidings, remind them I will be back tomorrow and am overjoyed to see so many mastering their biological urge to roost.  Some though, prefer to take refuge in the huge tree branches we have brought in for them.  Their overgrown toenails are slowly morphing from an array of Captain Hook-like hooks to more petite and well worn nails.  And we are now finding eggs that have been fastidiously tucked away in a corner under straw, others opting to make nests within one of the little boxes we have placed in their huge barn. This seemingly simple but innate urge would have previously been thwarted at every attempt prior to the hens’ arrival at Edgar’s Mission.

Pin feathers are boldly bursting forth to reclaim bare goose pimpled skin.  Pin feathers are fresh new feather eruptions, which look a little like a very tiny plastic encased feather duster, waiting anxiously to be preened back to show a brilliant healthy new quill.  Having taken on the totality of the hens that would have otherwise been sent to slaughter has given a rare glimpse into the welfare implications affecting battery chickens that could only have otherwise been gained from textbooks and internet searches.

Eye afflictions and respiratory problems caused by the toxic atmosphere the hens are forced to endure day in day out within the battery cage, along with the dust, lack of fresh clean air and build up of toxic ammonia reeking up from all the accumulated faeces take many prisoners.  Feather loss due to rubbing against the wire cages, stress and moulting is very real.  The previously mentioned overgrown toe nails, a direct result from lack of material to scratch about on or in, was seen to have ailed every bird.  Look down at your fingernails now.  Can you imagine for a moment what it would be like to not trim them for 18 months?  One chicken we named ‘Big Foot’, due to the grotesquely large and lumpy feet she had.  The condition she suffers we now know to be articular gout and is caused by a buildup of uric acid.

The brilliantly colored wild cousins of these purposely bred monocolored chickens would lay but a handful of eggs a couple of times a year.  Drained of calcium due to the overproduction of eggs beyond what nature intended, battery hens pump out a massive 250- 300 eggs per year, and they pay an enormous price for this in terms of weak and brittle bones and, in the most severe cases, a condition known as caged layer fatigue.  The poor chicken becomes so weak and unable to move that she cannot feed herself, becoming thinner and thinner.  Sadly several hens arrived in this sorry state while many others suffered from uterus and reproductive problems. Their genetic make up tells them to keep producing eggs yet their worn out little bodies simply lack the wherewithal to do so, and herein lies the nasty little health calamity that ultimately claims the life of many of the hens.  It is a miracle indeed that so many have survived and have been able to triumph these enormous odds, and a testament to their will to live has been their ability to bounce back and forgive.

Personalities sprang forth as quickly as each cage was opened, some erupted into feisty madams declaring ‘you will never take me alive’ whilst slamming a peck on the hand that would bring salvation.  Others blinked in disbelief with a ‘what is going on here’ look in their eye.  Some clung tightly, some went limp, yet all were saved.  They quickly proved invariably curious and charming, intelligent and quick to learn and, given the chance, just waiting to become your next best friend.  Watermelon, grains, seeds and mash have rapidly replaced the bland layer kibble as their source of nutrition and an entire world of wonder is now being found beyond the barn door as they venture further afield each new and fun filled day – they are to be sure,  intrepid explorers.

It is now over three weeks since the rescue was completed and from an economic point of view it is easy to see how Milton Arndt, back in the 1930’s got the idea of putting hens into battery style cages.  The sheer task of just keeping food and water up to the girls has been enormous, not to mention cleaning up all that poop every day.  Opening doors and windows of a morning, rounding the girls up of an evening, checking the health status of all, has been an incredibly time consuming exercise, which could indeed be greatly reduced if hens were confined to cages.  But to subscribe to Arndt’s point of view would neglect one very important point – chickens are not inanimate objects.  The experience I have had watching the hens over the past weeks has been a living reminder that their lives matter; they matter to them, they matter to us and they matter to the countless number of good hearted people who have come forward to offer them sanctuary or to support Edgar’s Mission in our quest to rehabilitate these gentle souls.  I am deeply touched each day on hearing people’s reports on how their chickens are faring, each noting the individual personalities of their new feathered friends.

The unique insights I have gained, that many would rarely get, will remain with me forever and will warm me well on dreary days, knowing I made a difference.  From these gentle, fun loving, mischievous, freedom adoring, intelligent and quirky individual creatures, I have learned many things, none the least that they challenge many people’s most ingrained belief of human uniqueness.  But, above all else, I have learned that when one is in the company of chickens, one is in mighty fine company indeed!

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August Competition

For your chance to win a 2013 Edgar’s Mission Calendar simply leave a comment with a funny caption or email us. Winner announced in July Trottings! Good luck!

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Enter The Dragon

Enter The Dragon’… Or in this case; the chicken. And what an entrance it was! July 26th 2012 saw the arrival of Bruce Lee, a handsome young rooster, to Edgar’s Mission and it was not long before we were made well aware that we were in company of a true star, ‘The Big Boss’, if you may. In no way impeded by his avian characteristics, our Bruce Lee has proven himself to be a master of the martial arts, practicing the art of kung fu, including his signature move, the fly kick, upon all those who dare enter his yard.

However, we forgive Bruce for his formidable ‘Fist of Fury’, for his fight is most certainly not in vain. You see, our Bruce Lee was just hours away from leaving this world forever by way of lethal injection before being given a reprieve and finding sanctuary at Edgar’s Mission, making him by far luckier than the majority of his rooster brothers who are brought into this world.

Bruce Lee’s life began in a classroom, as part of a chicken hatching project. At the project’s end, he was taken home by a kind, albeit unsuspecting family who felt they could provide a loving and lifelong home for the cute fluffy chick. But all the love in the world cannot negate the reality that roosters crow and not only at the first sign of light but also throughout the day.  Their wide range of vocabulary quickly communicating a vast amount of knowledge unappreciated by neighbours and local councils.  The result being many councils putting in place restrictions preventing the testosterone charged critters from being kept in most suburban areas. Nature dictates that 50% of chicks hatched will be male and with shelters and pounds already struggling to cope with the large numbers of dogs and cats coming into their facilities, the future of these fine young fellows is incredibly bleak.

Bruce is just one of many roosters who are hatched out all over the country in the name of education. What many fail to understand is that this ‘education’ is also ‘The Game of Death’, with many of the ‘unwanted’ and ‘excess’ male chicks who emerge into the world in front of young and impressionable eyes having their lives ended soon after by euthanasia. Whilst we have no doubt children who witness a tiny chick hatching before their eyes will treasure this experience, we believe if they also knew that the majority of those male chicks, who they loved, cared for and raised themselves, pay the ultimate price at the project’s end, they would not be quite so enamoured. Chicken hatching projects are wrong on so many levels.  They fail both the human participants and the animals.  Life is trivialized as sentient creatures become mere teaching aids rather than living beings that require a lifetime of care and commitment. With so many ways other ways one can learn about the true life cycle of a chicken that does not involve live animals it is hard to see why the hatching of chicks in classrooms can be justified.

We have high hopes that our Bruce Lee will follow in the footsteps of his namesake, the pioneer of martial arts movies in the West, and become a modern-day pioneer to end Chicken Hatching projects in schools. It is for this very reason we have made a pact with our Bruce that he can continue to Wing Chun us daily on behalf of all those roosters who were unable to fight for their lives and in return, we will continue our campaigns to raise awareness of and ultimately end Chicken Hatching projects for good.

Only time will tell if our Bruce Lee will one day allow us into his circle of trust and even if he does, we have no doubt that there will always be fire in his heart. That is, after all, the ‘Way of the Dragon.’

Bruce Lee – the kindness factor

  1. Say no to chicken hatching projects!  Sign the online petition
  2. Champion for change – contact the Federal Minister for Education and tell them chicken hatching projects are not all they are cracked up to be.
  3. Sponsor a chicken hatching survivor 

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