|Farm Animal Rescue|
For many months I have dreamt of being to be able to work more closely with a multi talented team of a different kind, to create a strong team that together could make incredible improvements for the livelihood of non-human animals who live in factory farms.
In July 2011 this dream came into fruition. Please welcome to the Our Place on earth team; David (calf); Lily, (piglet), Tom (chick), Hannah (chick also) and Lucy (Lamb).
David lived at a dairy farm in Myocum, Northern NSW. We picked him up on 1st July 2011, at just 2 weeks of age he was suckling a bottle as his own mother had dropped udders and was unable to provide him milk. Unlike other calves in the same predicament, he would not suckle off another mother cow. His health has been compromised and he is not growing as fast as he could be. David is the sweetest young being, he is calm and collected, and loves interacting with a variety of others. His dream is to be part of a large family. He is also very playful, and many claim to have fallen in love with him at first sight. He is affectionate, cuddly and incredibly caring. I have been sitting in the grass and he has come over and laid down next to me, enjoying the closeness, he will happily pass on a lick to the forehead quite regularly.
He has taken on a protective role with the other animals, it is clear he cares for them deeply. So where would David be now if he was still at the dairy farm? Unfortunately, one of the realities of the dairy industry is that male calves are considered useless, they will never give milk. They are taken off their mothers so the milk can be used for humans. He would have been shot and used for dog meat. I am glad David is safe and happy and is enjoying his new experiences. David is a healer and loves to show his toothy grin when he is really happy. I wish him a happy and fruitful life.
Lily came from a Piggery not far from Byron Bay, this piggery houses over 2000 pigs, all destined to become ham, sausages and bacon. On July 8th Lily came to us, she was 4 weeks of age; she had just been taken from her mother and was living in a small pen with quite a few other piglets her own age. She would have lived indoors her entire life, moving through a variety of growing pens, with the sole purpose of being fattened up.
Lily still likes to eat, she loves her food. She also loves to run. She is so fast when we go for walks. She adores David, I would say he is her favourite thing in life, and not being with him will entice her to squeal just as loud as she does when she is hungry. She looks at him like he is her hero and each night cuddles up to him. The first few nights we had her indoors as the outdoors may have been too cold her for after living in artificial heating at the piggery. After the third night she was fed up and would have it no more. Did I mention how stubborn and demanding she is? So she had her way and cuddled up to David. I have given up putting jumpers and blankets on her, or snuggling a hot water bottle next to her, Davey is all she wants and she keeps very warm next to him. She is more weary of people than the others, though she is getting to know that a good scratch from a human can be very enjoyable. Lily scores high on the intelligence scale. She is looking forward to her role, working with humans to make a difference for her species. She can look through to find the truth in anyone, and sort out to find out who they really are.
Normally Lily would live for close to a year at the piggery. She would spend her whole life indoors; in group stalls with a few other pigs, never seeing the light of day. She would be fed an unnatural diet and never have the chance to root in the ground or make nests. Her mother was kept in a sow stall, one of the cruellest inventions ever when it comes to pigs. Mothers who breed more pigs to become meat for humans are kept in a sow stall, where they can only take one step or one step forward. Sometimes they gnaw at the metal bars due to boredom and frustration. When they are close to giving birth, they move to a crate where they are forced to spend most of their time lying down and are unable to move. They give birth, not able to make a nest as they would like, and their piglets are in a run around them, able to suckle on their mother’s teats but they are not able to provide the nursing care they would prefer.
Dear little Tom was picked up from a hatchery near Lismore, also in Northern NSW, on July 4, 2011. He was born the night before, so was only a half-day-old. He went straight into a box with a heat pad and was transported to Byron Bay, where he would begin the first two weeks of his life. He was very big on Day 1, in fact a friend of mine and I were commenting on how big the eggs must have been that he was born from – quite incredible really. That’s because Tom was destined to be a broiler chicken, that is a chicken used for meat. They are bred to grow unnaturally large and fast these days.
Tom loves to feel safe and nurtured, and is pleased to be around any of his friends, he will happily follow myself, Wayne the dog, or David. He loves to roam free in the grass and loves the feel of sunlight, and likes to splash around in his water dish. He has such a big heart, and is very happy to share his love. He will climb on anyone sitting on the ground, and if crouched down loves to come and huddle under you as if you were his mother hen. Tom chirps and sings a lot, his young voice is clear and in tune. He dreams of spending time with children and feels he has the capacity to bring the dreams and talents out of any young child who is too scared and shy to express their true voice. He is ready to give roosters a good name!
Tom would have spent the short six weeks of his life at a broiler farm. He would have lived in a large windowless shed with around 10,000 other chickens. He would have been fed antibiotics to make sure he stays alive in these disease-ridden conditions. He would have more than likely had problems with his hips and leg joints from growing way to quickly. Hopefully the freedomto run in the grass and being fed an organic natural diet will ensure he has reduced problems in his adult life. At 6 weeks of age Tom would have ended up at the chicken abattoir at Byron Bay, and eventually on someone’s dinner plate.
Instead Tom will live out his life in a loving environment with his dear friend Hannah. Hannah was rescued on the same day and has been with Tom ever since. She is sweet and a bit more exploratory than Tom. Hannah is a true mother hen; she has very maternal characteristics and is keen to look after everyone who comes into contact with her.
The sheep industry is an interesting and complex one. Whilst factory farming has not invaded this industry, sheep are of course still used on a wide scale for both their flesh and their wool. They are so deeply sensitive and many of their everyday realities as part of a farming community are extremely stressful to them.
Dear little Lucy the lamb joined the Our Place on Earth team on the 4th August, 2011 at just 2 and half weeks of age. She is very sweet natured and immediately bonded with her human friend Kelly, and seeks companionship from David and Wayne, the quieter two. Lucy came from a sheep farm at Warwick, SE Queensland, too young to know her exact fate, and heartbreaking for her to leave her mothers side. From this particular farm she may have ended up as a Sunday roast, a woolly jumper, or possibly even entertainment for children for a period of time before she ended up as meat, or even at a local university for animal experimentation. Lucy will grow old with us, experiencing love and freedom.
For the coming months we will get to know each other, and collaborate on the type of environment that would provide a utopia for humans and non-human animals to live in harmony with each other; and enable us to interact with as many people as possible to outline how awesome 'farm animals' really are and help to bring an end to factory farming.
When we have property and are able to establish animal camp, we will be doing animal rescue on a larger scale, have access to an animal ambulance for farm animals, a re-homing program, and a farm animal hospital. We know we cannot take them all in so we would like to collaborate with other like minded organisations and individuals to be able to help as many farm animals as possible.