Lisa loves her heat lamp, wheetbix and her new buddies; Penny, Lady and Mister. She also loves the sunshine and eating grass. Lisa came to Edgar’s Mission on the 14th of May this year, a pitiful sight was she, with the rancid smell of maggots that emanated from her causing our hearts to sink even further. But with love, kindness, medication, lots of picking of maggots and a good haircut, Lisa astounded us by rising to her feet and quickly downing food and water. Sadly, age is greatly against this sweet ewe as not only have her younger days gone, so have all of her teeth. But our pledge remains the same as we whisper into the woolly, furred and feathered ear of each and every animal who passes through out farm gates, “We will give a life truly worth living.” And also a heat lamp if you need it!
If you thought Sunday and Monday were happy days, wait till you meet our most recent chipper little arrival, Wednesday. Found by the side of the road; cold, hungry and all alone, she owes her life to the Good Samaritan who found her and brought her to Edgar’s Mission. And from here on in you can rest assured we will work tirelessly to ensure the rest of her life is filled with happy days. Welcome Wednesday.
‘Crack the Code with Maths’ was the theme for the 71st Education Week in Victorian schools. Once again a proud participant of this great initiative was Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary in Lancefield, Victoria. Visiting the Seymour College last Thursday, 120 grade 5 & 6 students were invited to meet animal ambassadors Timmy Sheep and Little Miss Sunshine Hen and ‘run the numbers’. Comparing the environmental impacts of a plant based diet versus animal based diet proved thought provoking for many.
As our farm gates closed after the last visitor had left, the second Kind Critter Care Conference came to an end. Notes were taken, presentations delivered, hearts were moved and souls were searched. “There is so much more to running a sanctuary for rescued farmed animals than simply putting up a shingle on a gate,” Edgar’s Mission Founder and Director, Pam Ahern explained. Many important aspects involved in setting up and running an animal sanctuary were covered, including catering for the needs of farmed animals along with their care and maintenance, farm layout and animal housing, as well as thought-provoking presentations such as how best to help animals (which may not directly involving running a sanctuary) and dealing with burnout. These thoughtful topics and more saw the participants, many of whom who had flown in from around Australia, offer a resounding ‘hooves up’ declaring the conference ‘inspiring’, ‘hugely informative’, ‘insightful’ and ‘intensive yet balanced’. And the food, it was awesome! (Of course no animals were harmed in its preparation.)
A huge shout out of thanks to all those; who took part in, assisted with or presented at, our first ever Kind Critter Conferences (both our March and May events). Such was the interest in this landmark event we plan on making it an annual occurrence, please keep an eye on our website and facebook page for details of the 2016 event in March. Continue reading
Critical thinking has always been the hallmark of Edgar’s Mission’s humane education program, ‘Joining the dots,’ and recently the Year 8 students of St Monica’s College in Epping engaged in this thought-provoking presentation.
From the outset of her presentation, Edgar’s Mission Founder and Director, Pam Ahern is adamant that students are not to blindly believe everything she says. Rather, critical thinking is encouraged, where compassion, kindness and justice are the golden rules.
On learning about the current treatment of roosters in the egg laying industry (whereby they are killed at only a day old because they are the wrong gender and will never lay eggs), one child remarked, “If this is so awful, why is it legal?”. As Pam explained, many people would make different choices in their life if they were provided with full disclosure of how animals are treated. “Most people want to be kind to animals, humans and the planet,” Pam explained, “but sadly our current animal protection laws make legal many practices that do not meet with community standards or expectations.” The aim of ‘Joining the dots’ is to provide students with the tools to make informed choices in their lives. Continue reading
Chirpy, cheery and forever the optimist is little Lemonade. Born with crippled front legs, it is a testament to the little guy’s determination to live that he was even able to suckle the first life giving colostrum from his mother. And it is a testament to the goodness of the human heart that a kind soul saw his pitiful struggle (sadly one he was never going to win on his own) and stepped in. Arriving at our sanctuary, Lemonade’s ‘what’s up dudes?’ personality coupled with his courage in the face of adversity has made him a firm favourite with visitors, volunteers and staff. He loves kisses, cuddles, his bottle of milk and wearing fancy jackets, but not always in that order!
Throughout the day, gentle hands cradle and stretch Lemonade’s contorted limbs. It is our great hope that our experience with this type of physiotherapy along with splints and good nutrition, we will witness a happy and active outcome for our little buddy.
Become Lemonade’s Best Buddy here. Continue reading
“….and she will live out her days in peace at Edgar’s Mission.”
Those are the final words spoken on one of the first ever videos we made and last Thursday they came to fruition with the passing of the beautiful, kind, gentle and oh so loved Shirley Cow -a tragic paddock accident bringing it all about. As someone who saved the life of dear Shirley and was the spearhead of ensuring she did live her days in peace, it tore me apart to be the one who signed off on her passing. But a life where we cannot give comfort, ease pain and mend a broken pelvis, is not the life I have promised to every animal who has passed through our front gates and settled in our hearts.
The first time I ever saw Shirley will haunt me forever. It was at a bobby calf saleyard, a place where kindness had clearly been forgotten, where baby calves await their fate. Tiny, mother-deprived calves filled the pens and their pitiful bellows filled my ears, but it seemed myself and my two friends were the only ones who noticed. Barely days old, Shirley lay in the corner of the pen, no one giving her a second glance because of her small size and sickly look, no one except the “Lady in the Hat.” Yes this was the first time I was called that and it has stuck ever since. But it is not the only thing that stuck with me that day; hammered hard into my soul was my love for Shirley and indeed all baby calves. That I could save but one that day almost broke me but the fact that Shirley would go on to save the lives of many calves simply by ‘telling her story’ is what keeps me going.
When the call came in seeking our assistance for a sickly ewe who had been found unable to stand, our first thoughts were of an ageing and debilitated animal. However nothing could prepare our eyes or our nostrils for the assault that was to follow with the arrival of poor Lisa. Our first tipoff that something more sinister was afoot was the moist brownish-coloured wool that covered the entire back half of her body. Once in our hospital ward, a closer inspection revealed poor Lisa was suffering much more than the worst case of flystrike we have seen on a living sheep. Her pitiful skeletal form, which was visible due to the separation of fleece from her skin due to the strike, was something one would only ever see hanging dead in a butcher’s shop window. That Lisa had been a victim of the dreaded Lucy fly* for some time was clear. One could insert their entire arm under the section of wool that had already seen the fly pupae march forth, munching their way through Lisa’s flesh and leaving their filthy, rotten, stinking, legacy in their miserable wake. Sadly though, the slithering flesh-eating larvae were still at work. The heat generated and smell from all of this was something words can never describe, and our eyes and nostrils will never forget or forgive.
Escaping her preordained fate of ending up as someone’s dinner, Poppy fell on more than her dear little trotters when she arrived on the doorstep of a kindly couple. Saving Poppy from a fate that would involve her death, the good souls secured her future. But they knew it would require more than their small backyard and good intentions to make Poppy truly happy. When we first met her, Poppy was still bearing the hallmark distrust of humans that we so often see in rescued farmed animals, who have rarely had good reason to feel any other way. She would bark at our advances and snap at our hands, but did we mention pigs are incredibly smart animals? Poppy sure is, because it wasn’t too long before she was offering not only happy piggy grunts but the underside of her tummy for scratches and belly rubs. Continue reading
It should never have happened that a kindly, albeit ill-equipped and knowledge-deficient couple were sold a tiny bobby calf by a farmer. It should never have happened that the farmer made no enquiries as to the couple’s circumstance, knowledge or property details. It should never have happened that the little calf was sent off alone, despite cows being highly social animals who cherish the company of their own kind. It should never have happened that her life was reduced to $40.00 ($15.00 more than her male counterparts). But what really should never have happened, above all else, was that this little baby animal was taken from her mother in the first few hours of her life, so that the milk intended for her could be harvested for human consumption.
Not long after Jasmine was put into the back of the family station wagon, things began to head south. Already suffering the stress of separation from her mother, the little one’s vulnerable immune system came up against assault after unintended assault that saw her health deteriorate badly. Sending her loving human carers’ world into a spin were not only the high costs of caring for sickly calves, but the lack of knowledge and expertise for doing so. Arriving at our sanctuary was a near moribund little jersey heifer, blood splattered diarrhoea and lethargy meant we had only hours to tip the balance, if we had any chance of doing so. But Jasmine wants to live, despite all her setbacks and hardships she is telling us this a world in which she wants to stay. Only time, kindness and all the TLC we can muster will be her judge and jury. Continue reading
Surrendered into our care almost two weeks ago, Lady was unable to stand and was ravaged by a terrible pneumonia that threatened to block her airways. Being a finely bred Merino sheep only served to compound the sweet ewe’s woes as their highly prized fleece means they lack the robustness of their crossbred cousins. Sheep such as Lady, having had little human contact and only by way of shearing, drenching, and crutchings, would typically hold humans in fear. But Lady quickly showed that she feared us not. It was as if she knew we were there to help. Doe-eyed she would watch us as we prepared her food, which she so readily ate (no doubt one of her saving graces, as once sheep lose their appetite their will to live is not too far behind). Softly, her eyes gazed upon us as we hung her drip, ready for insertion or made good our physiotherapy sessions to restore blood flow to her limbs (we learned that dear Lady had been down for around two weeks before she came into our care) and coupage to help break up the terrible mucus that had taken captive her lungs.
Watching a herd of eight sheep (and baby goat) cagily move about an outer Melbourne pound paddock, deftly avoiding the small yard into which we were trying to corral them, it struck us as to just how vulnerable these animals are. Nature has gifted sheep with few defences against predators; their only means of survival has been to run from danger. Far from the dim-witted animals so many people write them off as, sheep know the safety in numbers and their intelligence hovers just below that of pigs. With the ability to see colour, but lacking a good sense of depth perception you will often see sheep jumping at what we think are imaginary shadows.
Whilst we have been able to save this small flock from slaughter, due to the great influx of rescued animals that have come into our care over the last couple of months, ours is but a whistle stop for their forever home sweet home. We also have adorable goats and perky piglets awaiting that special someone. If you think that you have room in your home and well fenced and sheltered paddocks, please let us know. Because when it comes to giving animals a better life each and every one of us is all they have… Continue reading
On this day one year ago, a tiny little white goat dragged himself into our world, touched our hearts and munched on our hair like no other. We named him Frostie the Snow Goat and while we couldn’t give him wings, we gave him a set of wheels to get about. And get about he did, into the hearts, homes and histories of countless people worldwide. That his dancing on this earth was but for a short while, was in inverse proportion to his impact. In the tributes that flowed in on his passing, people relayed moving personal accounts of how Frostie changed theirs lives and menus forever. What the little champ did in a matter of days, few people could ever achieve in a lifetime. He touched hearts, changed minds and made us smile as he quizzically stared into our eyes, oh how I would give anything for him to stare into my eyes once more.
Many were the interviews that flowed from Frostie’s story and I remember one journalist asking me what I wanted from the telling of Frostie’s tale and I remember thinking about that for a second and then I said ‘I want for people to be kind to animals’ and I am sure Frostie would want that too.
It’s volunteer week, May 11-17!
With it’s theme give happy, live happy, we share with you some stories of the personal journeys our wonderful volunteers have made while contributing to Edgar’s Mission. The first in our series is from our Italian friend Lorenzo. English is not Lorenzo’s first language and he asked if we would edit his story because of this, but we couldn’t. Lorenzo’s beautiful heart shines so brightly we could never improve his sentiment and after reading his piece we are sure you will agree kindness speaks all languages.
“For many thousands of years our society has built itself, step after step, on the blood, the pain, the struggle and the despair of countless animal beings. Being a volunteer at Edgar’s Mission, to me, it means to apologise to each one of those animal beings. Continue reading
National Volunteer Week May 11-15
Established in 1989, National Volunteer Week is the largest celebration of volunteers and volunteerism in Australia, and provides an opportunity to highlight the role of volunteers in our community and to say thank you to the more than 6 million Australians who volunteer. And we here at Edgar’s Mission give thanks to our many loyal and dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly, through rain, hail, sleet and sun to deliver the best possible care to our resident animals and give up their team to be a part of our community outreach team. We thank you all most sincerely from the bottom of our animal loving hearts. For more details on volunteering at Edgar’s Mission please click here.
Please note due our current effort of establishing our new home here in Lancefield and the level of training involved we are only able to accept volunteers who can make a regular weekly commitment.
With the sale of their former home, Yikity, Yak, Annie and Kitty were in desperate need of new pastures. Although several offers came to the table, all involved the word ‘freezer,’ a word that sent chills up the spine of their loving human carer. Finding kindness in our hearts and room in our fast-filling farm, we welcomed with open arms two shaggy Highland steers and two adorable ageing Dexter ladies.
Well, it’s not exactly work that Little Miss Sunshine gets up to, rather a whole lot of strutting, showing off and just being her gorgeous self, all in the name of creating change for her kind. And Monday May 4th was no different as Little Miss Sunshine and her human friends took to Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall to cluck, squawk and crow about a kinder world for chickens. Many city commuters were delighted during their lunch hour to see a giant yellow chicken wishing them a, “Happy International Respect for Chickens Day,” but it was the beaming smiles and heart-warming, “Oohs” and “Ahs” when they spotted a darling little rescued battery hen gazing back at them that truly made the day a success. Little Miss Sunshine won hearts aplenty as she accepted lovingly doled out scratches under her chin and lapped up the words, “She’s so beautiful,” and, “I had no idea chickens were so wonderful,” from her many admirers. As if that wasn’t enough, this plucky little hen then took to the airwaves, dashing into the 3AW studio when she heard her name called to cause listeners to question what the term ‘Bird Brain’ really means. As Little Miss Sunshine carried out her repertoire of tricks, many in the studio were astounded by the ability of this little hen who had once been seen as no more than a production unit and who had lived in less space than an A4 sheet of paper for almost 18 months.
And the purpose of the day? “On this International Respect for Chickens Day, we are asking people to take a moment to stop and think about chickens,” said Edgar’s Mission Founder and Director, Pam Ahern. “The daily choices that we each make determine how they will live, yet so few of us will ever even meet a chicken.” And as all those who have met Little Miss Sunshine can vouch, once you have met a gal like this, you will be forever changed.
Take a moment to sit back and enjoy some of our favourite photos from Little Miss Sunshine’s International Respect for Chickens Day campaign. It’s ‘all in a day’s work’ and until our world is a kinder one for dear creatures like her, our work is never done. Continue reading
Today is May the 10th and as many of you know this is Mother’s Day. But this day has an extra special meaning for me as twelve years ago little did I know that I would go on to become a mother to countless lost, abandoned, injured and unwanted farmed animals. My life was to be propelled in directions I could never have imagined, shafts of kindness would spear places never thought possible and dreams would transpose into reality. Few can say they have found their true life’s calling, but this happened for me on this day and it all started with a pig. Today on the 10th of May 2003, the Edgar Alan Pig story began.
“There is no love or devotion like that of a mother for her child” – Vicki Rice
This Mother’s Day we pay tribute to mothers everywhere, in all their glorious shapes, forms and species. We thank them for the sacrifices they make for their babies, we revere their love and tender devotion for their children and we celebrate their instincts to protect them from harm. On this Mother’s Day we share with you one of our most touching stories that encompasses so perfectly motherly love – Finding Valentine.
Found on a dirt track was little Lily. With no other sheep in sight nor a farmer to be found, we perish the thought of what would have become of this tiny, vulnerable little baby had a warm heart not come along. Bundling Lily up, a place was also found in front of a warm fire. But knowing Lily’s needs were beyond the scope of their cosy household and putting their own desires for a cute lamb on hold, Lily was surrendered into the care of our sanctuary where she has found a friend in little Tiger Lamb. With winter fast approaching, complete with frosty morns and bitter nights, we are yet again preparing ourselves for an influx of many more “Tiger’s” and “Lily’s”. In preparation, we have special formula in stock, colostrum if needed, baby bottles, teats and steriliser at the ready, probiotics and medications on hand and of course that all important ingredient – all the love and tender kindness we can muster.
Please do keep an eye pealed whilst driving country roads at this time of year. Sadly many little lambs like Lily become separated from their mums and are left to the elements. With many dying alone and cold in the fields, so many lives can be saved. All it takes is someone with a warm heart to care. Continue reading
They speak in tongues we cannot understand; their cries fall on deaf hearts, yet their plea is always the same, “Why?”
It was more than profound that the heavy wooden yokes we cut from the necks of a recently arrived herd of Boer goats, perfectly formed the letter ‘Y’. For ‘why’ must be a word that runs constantly through the minds of animals. “Why are you doing this to me?” “I don’t understand why you want to hurt me/take my babies away/lock me away so I cannot move or do any of the things that are important to me.” Placed on the goats in an attempt to curb their happy wanderings through fences and held in place with wire and hose tubing, the yokes failed to achieve their goal but what they did leave in their wake were hairless patches of well-worn skin and sores on the necks of the hapless animals. So long had been their burden that the wood had been worn smooth, constantly caressed by the animals’ fur and bathed in their oils.
Did you know chickens can count?!
This International Respect for Chickens Day Little Miss Sunshine is proud to present Bird Brain? Episode 4 – Because Chickens Count!
See more episodes of Bird Brain? here.
Our lucky feathered residents, rescued broiler (meat) chicken, Luke Sky-squawker and former battery hen, Princess Layer are super excited today. Can you guess why? If you said, “Because it’s Star Wars Day,” you are partly right but did you know today is also International Respect for Chickens Day?
Chickens outnumber humans on this planet 6 to 1 but so few of us ever actually see them, let alone think about the impact our daily choices have upon these unique, clever and endearing creatures. Chickens are said to be one of the most maligned species on this earth, yet they are so much more than the mere egg producing machines and before of a Kentucky fried drumstick than many in our society have been led to believe. Continue reading