My photo
I ran away from teaching to the country to grow veggies. There are also some chooks and a pair of troublesome goats who were so much trouble they had to go! My simple green life isn't always as simple or as green as I'd like...but I keep trying!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What can you do?

What can you do if you are an injured one-eyed horse headed for the knackers?  

Or what if you are a cow born with three legs?  

Or a 'bobby' calf...that is a calf born to a dairy cow to bring her into milk.  You are an unwanted by-product of the dairy industry. You will need to be disposed of.  You are even called a bobby calf because in the old money you were only worth a bob (one shilling) are worthless really.  You might be sold as veal or end up in dog food.  You can disappear quickly because, by law, you can be transported at five days old.

Maybe your owner is a breeder of miniature ponies and you don't fit the bill because you are a little bit big and he needs to get rid of the evidence...i.e. you?

What can you do?

You could also be a rooster with cerebal palsy or a blind sheep.  How long will you survive on the average farm?

What if you are a mistreated goat or a sheep?  Maybe you will be lucky and be rescued by the R.S.P.C.A. even appearing on the TV in 'Animal Rescue'...but then what can you do?

Maybe you are an ordinary sort of foal whose dam is offered as a foster mother to a much more important thoroughbred orphan.  You too are dispensable, after all you only came into being so your mum's owner could be paid $3000 for her services as a wet nurse. 

Who is going to feed you and teach you how to be a horse?

You might be someone's faithful horse slipping into old age....what use could you possibly be?  If you are a slow racehorse you have no hope.

What if you are a cattle dog, but not too farmer is going to waste dog food on you?  Maybe he even takes you out to the paddock and holds a gun to your head... In this case you CAN look at him in such a way that he has to find another solution to the problem that is you.

You may have had a stint as a movie star may have even walked down the red carpet with Dakota Fanning.  
Once they have finished with your services will you just end up as bacon or perhaps as an old ham?

You could be a deer, burned in the Black Saturday Bushfires and have been severely dehydrated.  Someone made sure you were treated...but where will you live?

Even though you are splendiferous like Mr Peacock here...what if someone dumps you...what does your future hold?  Your tail might get you a girl but it won't feed you. 

You could also be a battery hen, a factory sow, a mistreated starving alpaca orphan, or a pregnant pig wandering the streets of Hobart.  What can you do?

If you are VERY lucky
you could end up at Edgar's Mission.

Edgar's Mission is a refuge and farm sanctuary near Kilmore in Victoria where all of the animals mentioned above...and many more, have found safe haven, kindness and compassion in it's paddocks, sheds and stalls.  

The farm is not just a place for unwanted or mistreated animals though.  Obviously they can only take so many.  From their website:  Edgar's Mission is a not for profit organisation that seeks to create a humane and just world for humans and non-humans.  We endeavour to achieve this by education, advocacy and empowerment. 

Edgar's Mission was established by Pam Ahern.
 Edgar the Pig was her inspiration.
Edgar led a full and worthwhile life making appearances and educating people.  Unfortunately he died earlier this year, is buried on the property, and fondly remembered.

Pam and her team of volunteers have pledged to carry on in Edgar's name.

Now, you may well ask why I am blogging about this.  Well if you have been reading for a while and have taken the time to read my profile, you will know this blog is about change.  Primarily it is about my desire to change the way I live and the impact I have on the planet.  As consumers we owe a great deal to others...and this includes the animals.  'The Market' drives the system that often exploits animals and other humans.  Take the time to think about what you consume, where it came from, how it was produced.  Even if we all make small changes we can reduce our impact and make a difference to the lives of others and the future of the planet.  

So all this sounds too hard?  Why not start small?  At the end of our visit to Edgar's Mission the 4 year old was handed a card with some simple ideas.  It was entitled:

10 ways to show you care.

  1. Buy and use only cruelty-free products.
  2. Don't disurb wild animals and respect their homes.
  3. Recycle - it helps animals by reducing people's negative impact on their world.
  4. Pets should be desexed and secure at night.  Do they have fresh water, a warm bed and lots of exercise?
  5. Collect blankets, toys and food for your local animal shelter.
  6. Put out water for the wild birds and animals.
  7. Hang an artwork in your window so birds will not fly into them.
  8. Don't give animals away as gifts and don't keep wild animals as pets.
  9. Speak up for animals - report animal cruelty.
  10. If you truly love animals...why eat them? 

Now those are easy things most of us can do.  If you are not ready to be a vegetarian or a vegan...maybe you could become a more discerning omnivore/consumer and find out where your food is sourced from and cut back your meat meals. Buy locally, go to a farmers' market, be willing to pay more for meat that is produced ethically, buy free range eggs (make sure they are really free range) or keep a few chooks, grow a few veggies.

Here are my New Year's Resolutions:
Eat less meat (Maximum of 3 per week- but aim for less)
Always choose vegetarian options when eating out.
Carefully source any meat I buy to ensure it is ethically grown/produced.
In the case of chicken, only eat free range chicken.
Increase our chicken flock.
Grow even more veggies.
Volunteer to work at Edgar's Mission.
Work in the local Op Shop.
Continue to work diligently to reduce my ecological footprint.
Be a positive role model in all these things for my grandchildren.

There ARE things we CAN all do.


What can you do? __________________________________


  1. Obviously I have no time to work in the op-shop or at Edgar's Mission despite thinking what a great idea both are.I do most of the others although cannot kill my own meat.I buy locally produced products as far as possible, recycle, reuse, rehome, rethink and have downsized all requirements for a happy lifestyle.I support local businesses, try not to buy imports, am not on mains water and use solar energy for part of the needs.Solar puts more heat back into the atmosphere than it collects, wind power is time limited, seasonal and dangerous for birdlife and human life.The alternative is to cut down on power consumption and use alternatives.Heating is done by wood taken from fallen trees cut on the property and gardens are not watered in Summer.I belong to a local barter group and strongly support the idea of barter and alternative currencies.I don't fly or take long journeys, use the library and swap books with others.Any honey consumed is produced on the property by a friend and it often replaces sugar is cakes etc.I sell goose eggs to restauarants at $1 each in season and sometimes a small number of geese to start a new flock in an orchard - my geese are not edible!
    I have what for me is a perfect lifestyle, eat well and am fit and happy.As a retiree I have time to write and am occasionally published in magazines whose ethics I can agree brings me in subscriptions,copies of the publication and other payments in kind.I'm an amateur photographer and do occasional small projects for people I know, payment is in kind.
    I am surrounded by people who live the same way so it's no hardship and it's not unusual.
    Go Hazel on your resolutions, onya!!

  2. Hi Hazel; some very noble thoughts here. I already follow some of the tenets you advocate, and I think I shall be adopting a few more. Following a sustainable, environment-friendly lifestyle is a lot more difficult in the urban environment though.

    For one anxious minute when I saw the thumbnail of your post, I thought you had acquired your own one-eyed horse. Maybe one day...?

  3. I love the pig's epitaph, I'd like something like that for me... leaving out the pig part though... how about "Ali - some gardnener!".

    I too thought that you had acquired a pony, I love your ideas, I tend to have noble thoughts and little follow through, I must remember to try harder.

  4. Every little thing you do makes a difference.. Little steps.
    Nice blog.
    Liz Watts

  5. I stumbled across your blog a few days back, and I'm glad I clicked on this post! My husband and I don't eat meat (I eat local eggs on occasion), and we live a cruelty-free life. We've even saved goldfish from being thrown in the trash at a big chain hardware store. To us, every life is precious! Thank you for posting your thoughts on this issue. Though I don't expect everyone to stop consuming meat, it is nice to see when consumers make a conscious effort to buy their meat from humane sources.


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