These are but a few who survived and had happy lives
MILKSHAKE & CATAPULT
Ban the Camel Culls
We bid on Milkshake and Catapult at an auction against the doggers. A dogger is a colloquial term for a person who sells horses or camels on to a knackery. They are then slaughtered and processed, often for pet food. When I arrived at the auction Milkshake is quite possibly one of the most friendly animals you will meet, she immediately kissed everyone who went up to their area. Catapult is a lot more gentle and timid. These two are inseparable. They are 4 years old. Camels live to be 40 or 50 years old. I was determined to win my bid! Australia has the largest population of camels and the only herd of dromedary (one-humped) camels exhibiting wild behaviour in the world.
Camels are among the many victims of Australia's live animal export industry. These wild-born animals are rounded up and captured, before being subjected to an arduous journey at sea for weeks at a time. Camels are particularly sensitive animals, and deserve kindness and compassion — not the extreme stress of live export, and fully-conscious slaughter in countries that have no animal welfare laws.
Despite their frightening appearance, camels are very emotional and, in general, are more inquisitive, affectionate and attention-seeking than a horse. Treat a camel well, and its loyalty will rival that of a dog. But mistreat it, and its fury will never fade.
SUNDANCE AND WOKKA
Protect our Iconic Brumbies
Wokka was found in Northern Victoria alone and with an injury to his back foot. He is not lame, but he cannot be ridden, otherwise he would have problems later in life. Brumbies are so intelligent, curious and affectionate and approach life differently to raised horses. Sundance, our quarterhorse x paint, was always the bottom of the pecking order with any other horse until Wokka. They used to bite and chase her. When Wokka arrived they were eating out of the same bucket and spend hours nibbling each other and running around together. He did not compete for food at all, not something you need to do in the wild! Whilst Sundance did not come from an abusive start, she did suffer from abuse in her training before arriving at our sanctuary. She overthinks and is a difficult horse to ride and requires a lot of patience. Her previous trainers used spurs and older style breaking-in methods which were based on force and not trust. But now she has nothing to worry or overthink about.
All over the world, Wild Horses that we in Australia label as feral are being reintroduced into landscapes after recognising they are beneficial in maintaining a healthy and safer environment. No-one is saying these populations don't need management. One thing is clear though. Our wild horses are not being given a fair go if you take into consideration the more current understandings of a wild horse in the ecology, let alone the immense suffering of a wild animal trapped and killed in a slaughterhouse for pet food.
"Australia was made on the back of a horse"
TINKERBELL, TWINKLES, MULBERRY, OPHELIA, DAISY AND THOR
Animals are Not Products
Tinkerbell is a Jersey, and is the mother of Twinkles who is a Jersey x Frisian, who is the mother of Mulberry who is a Jersey x Frisian x Angus. Three generations. So when farmers say that they don't form long lasting bonds, nothing could be further from the truth. These girls look after each other and spend their days in a very close social bond. Once I accidentally left Tinkerbell locked in the roundyard for a few hours, her daughter Twinkles ran up to the house after the weather started to get bad and started mooing and shaking her head at me very annoyed and stressed to be separated from her mamma. It took me a few days to gain back their trust. I never made that mistake again! They are very sensitive and intelligent souls. We also have the magnificent Ophelia who is a huge Angus girl, she lets people come up and stroke her. She is so huge it is like touching some kind of gentle mythical Minotaur. Until recently we had Daisy another gentle and beautiful Angus who unfortunately passed on. She was buried in a beautiful spot and very missed. These girls are from a farmer that downsized and contacted Edgar's Mission for a permanent home as she could not bear them being slaughtered. Edgar's Mission passed on our details to her and she trusted us with her 5 beauties.
Like other mammals, to produce milk a dairy cow must keep giving birth, usually to a calf each year. If nature was allowed to take its course—calves would suckle from their mother for several months, even up to a year. Mother cows, like most mammals, have a strong maternal bond. One study found that this bond was formed in as little as five minutes. When calves are removed mother cows will frantically bellow for the offspring that they will never see again. Separated calves appear frightened and bewildered. Regardless of how this situation is handled this separation causes enormous stress for both the cow and calf. New mothers are returned to the milking herd to maximise profits. Her milk is then collected for human consumption.
Dairy industry figures indicate that hundreds of thousands of unwanted dairy calves are slaughtered each year in Australia as 'waste-products' of the dairy industry — usually at only days old. Dairy calves are not valued as they don't grow at the same rate as beef calves and their meat quality is considered sub-standard by the beef industry.
As soon as calves reach their fifth day of life (after separation from their mothers they are fed a milk substitute) Australian livestock transport standards allow the calves to be transported to abattoirs and saleyards. Bewildered calves are subjected to the stresses of unfamiliar sights and sounds and multiple and often rough handling as they are transported to calf scales, sale yards and slaughterhouses.
He was searching for his Mother
Thor literally jumped our fence. We think he was escaping from a slaughter truck or had been separated from his mother. He must have run past our property and saw the girls and leapt over the fence. I contacted the local council to make sure no one had reported a missing steer. After a respectable amount of time and no claim he was deemed ours. He is a Dexter and quite small in stature but still bosses the girls around, except for Ophelia.
Before arriving at the slaughterhouse, cows are subjected to being cramped onto trucks and transported vast distances without food or water. 48 hours without water is considered acceptable according the DAFFs (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) ‘Animal Welfare, Standards and Guidelines for Land Transport of Livestock’. Not that these are monitored in any meaningful way. In Australia, after coming off the truck and being left in often cramped holding pens, they are then further traumatised by being forced into the slaughter area (e.g. via electric prodders, or sometimes punched and kicked) where, on the kill-floor, they have a bolt shot into their skull by a captive bolt gun. This will render the cow unconscious as well as cause brain damage to the animal. Alternative non-skull-penetrating guns are also used in some slaughterhouses, which instead will cause concussion before unconsciousness. Then, the cow will have their throat slit before being hung upside-down, the blood draining from their body. For those exported overseas, they are often killed in far slower, more agonising ways.
It should be noted that there have been documented cases where the cow remains conscious as their throat is slit. Further, more than a dozen slaughterhouses in Australia have Government approval to slit the throats of fully-conscious cows to satisfy the religious practices of ‘halal’ and ‘kosher’ slaughter.
LITTLE BOY BLUE, LITTLE GIRL PINK, ANNE OF GREEN GABLE, DAVID COPPERFIELD AND TROTTWOOD COPPERFIELD
Adopted from Edgar's Mission
Pam and Edgar's Mission are my heroes. We were honoured to adopt some animals from them. Their Quote “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others… why wouldn’t we?” has always resonated with me. It basically says it all. Below are the stories written by Edgar's Mission of the 5 lambs we adopted from them. www.edgarsmission.org.au
Little Boy Blue
A tiny lamb suddenly appearing in the headlights of a late-night traveller was something this kind-hearted driver least expected. But sadly, this was no tiny baby who had simply lost their way, as a serious head wound told of a lucky escape from a predator, who dropped the hapless animal some distance from where he ought to be. But this is where Little Boy Blue’s luck turned from bad to bright, as he was taken home and a call hastily made to Edgar’s Mission. Here is a link to his story
Little Girl Pink
A call from our friends at the RSPCA in Castlemaine to assist with an orphan lamb saw us presented with one of the saddest babies we have ever met. Even her pretty pink jacket, warm bottle and a cute as a button new friend in Little Boy Blue could not stop this wee lamb crying. Desperate were her pleas for the one thing we could never give her: her mother. Hearing the frantic bleats, and seeing her desperate pacing left no doubt in our minds that lambs form the strongest bonds with their mothers, something circumstance cannot break. One of our most heart-breaking of days was the first day with Little Girl Pink, as she cried and cried and then cried some more for the mother she would never see again. No amount of sweet milk formula nor cuddles was going to cut it for her. As the days slowly rolled on, Little Girl Pink came to terms with her situation, a stoic resolve guiding her through.
Oh, how we hate winter, not for her bitter winds and driving rain (we have jackets, shelters and heaters for those), no, it is the number of orphan lambs who find themselves in often the most hopeless of situation, landing at the mercy of a kind heart. We truly thank those who support the work of Edgar’s Mission, without your belief in our work, lambs such as Little Girl Pink would have the bleakest of futures.
David Copperfield and Trottwood Copperfield
Trottwood Copperfield, although small in size, is great in courage. Perhaps a reflection of his saviour, who could have simply driven past on that fateful day when they spied the wee chap desperately trying to suckle from his sick mum, who was unable to rise. Pretty much in the middle of nowhere, and almost without a hope of kindness to save him, this could have been Trottwood’s worst day. But it wasn’t—although he didn’t know it yet. With help at hand proving to be almost as elusive as a phone signal, our kind heart could have been forgiven for giving up.
But that was never on the cards, for they had compassion in their heart and determination in their stride as they set off to alert the farmer to the plight of the animals in his care. With him quickly recognising the demands of caring for a newborn lamb were beyond his means or enthusiasm, and with a property to manage and a large flock to tend, the task of raising a tiny male lamb was easily and quickly relinquished, whilst a pledge was made to help the ewe. Heartbreaking as it was to separate the lamb from the ailing mother, our Good Samaritan knew this was to be the best outcome they could achieve on this day.
Now, while Trottwood Copperfield is almost a dead ringer* for our little David Copperfield, there is no blood relation. However, we recognise that family doesn’t always mean your mum, dad and siblings. What it does mean is having those around you who love and care for you, those who cheer you on through your highest of highs and are right there by your side for the lowest of lows. And that special family is exactly what dear little Trotwood has found as we have welcomed him, too, into our lamb clan of 2017!
*‘Dead ringer’ is Aussie slang for lookalike.
David Copperfield was found trying to nurse from his long dead mother.
Anne of Green Gable
Dear little Anne of Green Gables, and her ever-present smile on her sweet face, reminds us daily of the vulnerability of her kind. And also, the goodness of the human heart. From the vantage point of her country home, the feeble cries of an abandoned and newborn lamb saw our hero swing into action as night time was quickly descending and wily foxes were no doubt surveying their quarry—awaiting their time to pounce. This was most definitely a case of finding the right place at just the right time for little Anne of Green Gables.
Alerted ahead, we had thawed our stored colostrum and readied yet another space in our nursery for wee Anne. Despite being only hours old, she was feisty and determined, yet endearing and gentle, and we couldn’t love her any more if we tried, nor could her new BFFs, Little Boy Blue and Little Girl Pink.
BONNIE AND CLYDE
These two babies ended up at our sanctuary after their mother had died giving birth to them. The farmer who had owned them wanted them to go to a loving home after she had raised and bottle fed them. They were straight away adopted by Little Boy Blue who saw a kindred spirit in his fellow Dorpers. They were so lucky because he is the leader of the flock! So they did not endure the normal love bumps and head butts from the flock to integrate into the pecking order. Sadly, Clyde was bitten by a snake and after a battle we lost him. Bonnie stayed close by and we made sure she got the chance to say good bye to him before he was cremated. We were worried about how she would cope without her beloved Clyde, but Little Boy Blue to the rescue again, they are together all the time.
Despite their reputation as being simple “followers”, sheep are intelligent animals with incredible memories. In nature, sheep travel long distances in complex, close-knit families. Each herd will cooperate and stay together for survival and protection, similar to many other animal species who travel together in packs.
Just like dogs, a sheep can learn their own name. Far beyond this, they also have highly developed facial recognition skills. A team of British scientists has shown that sheep are able to recognize the faces of at least 50 individuals and continue to remember them after years of separation. "If sheep have such sophisticated facial recognition skills, they must have much greater social requirements than we thought," said Keith Kendrick, of the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, England. Sheep also form close friendships with one another. Researchers believe that just like humans, sheep will often think of each other when they’re not around, and show signs of distress or depression when their preferred companions are missing. As we continue to discover more and more about these intelligent and emotional animals, it appears the common belief about sheep being “mindless and simple” has been shaped by our own lack of understanding.
Born on the way to a slaughter house
This beautiful boy was born on the way to a slaughterhouse. An animal activist rescued and raised him at home. He was bottle fed and raised in nappies. When he arrived at our sanctuary it was quickly obvious that he just loved cuddles, attention and kisses. He was quite lonely until Abbie arrived as the 5 amigos above were quite a close knit group. Now he and Abbie are inseparable.
Each year, around 33 million sheep are killed for their flesh in Australia: approximately 13 million adults and 20 million lambs. “Lamb” is the term used for a sheep that is less than one year old. Flesh from sheep older than one year is called “mutton”.
In Australia, the most common breed of sheep farmed for their wool are ‘merinos’. Merinos are specifically bred to have wrinkled skin resulting in more wool per animal. Much like our hair thins as we get older, after a few years, a sheep’s wool production will also begin to decline. When this happens, it is no longer deemed profitable for the industry to “care” for them, and so older sheep originally farmed for their wool are sent to slaughter and sold as cheap meat.
Born in an abattoir
Abbie is on the right in this photo and was rescued from an abattoir and bottle fed. Abbie craved company and love and her rescuer knew she needed to be a pet and be loved. She arrived at our sanctuary and straight away fell in love with Bryce who was so thankful to have a pal.
Sammy the sheep was neglected in life and rescued and agisted on our property by his devoted rescuer. She adored him and visited him every day. You could not help but fall in love with him he was so sweet and gentle. Sammy was unused to sheep as he had been secluded a lot of his life, so was initially quite scared of the flock and had to be kept separate. He befriended the Alpacas in the end, not the sheep, as we suspect they had been in his company in the past. Unfortunately some months after he arrived he developed a rapid growing tumour and could not be saved. He was surrounded by those that loved him as he was put to sleep. Taken from us too soon.
ARAMIS, D'ARTAGNAN, PORTHOS AND ATHOS
The Four Musketeers
We adopted them from Edgar's Mission, they happily roam with our sheep. Their story from Edgar's Mission is below. “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others… why wouldn’t we?” www.edgarsmission.org.au
The four of us …
With the sale of the property on which they roamed and the farewell of the humans who had been charged with their care, four sweet alpacas became inherited “goods” of the new but absentee tenants. Athos, Porthos, d’Artagnan and Aramis did what all alpacas do best—that is, eating, chilling out and growing their fleece. The first two things raised no concerns for a kind-hearted neighbour, yet the third most certainly did, for the neighbor knew that should the animals remain unshorn, their welfare would be severely compromised, and so our assistance was sought.
Proving yet again what lovely dispositions alpacas have, the four hairy lads were ushered into the float, then into our sanctuary. A pedicure, shear, drench, vaccinations and vitamin shots later, the boys’ makeover was complete—not only transforming, but no doubt life-saving as well. Their story is a timely reminder that animals come with the responsibility of a lifetime of care, not a fleeting moment of novelty.
Porthos passed away from cancer in my arms on 6 December 2021.
Until we meet again beautiful boy.
ARCHIE, DIEGO AND KOSKO
The Three Amigos
Archie and Kosko (white alpacas) were raised by an elderly couple, who also later rescued Diego when they discovered he was being neglected on a nearby property. When the couple could no longer take care of them they sought help from Matty's Sanctuary. We adopted the alpacas from Matty's Sanctuary when they did a call out for help as they do amazing work rescuing so many animals. The three amigos had quite the welcome from the 4 musketeers and sheep above and are quite inseparable now.
MAJOR TOM AND HIS GIRLS
The process of making and passing an egg requires so much energy and labor that in nature, wild hens lay only 10 to 15 eggs per year.
Major Tom was saved from being put in the pot from a breeder as he was considered old and they wanted to use his son for breeding instead. We are the lucky ones, he is so gentle with the girls. We also have Kuzu who came to us because she was not getting on with her fellow chickens and was a little bossy.
Over the years we have had 18 ex battery hens. They arrive featherless and have to learn normal behaviour like perching on branches, fluffing in soil and chasing insects. I love watching how they evolve and grow. It really is the most rewarding rescue as they are literally so happy. But it is also one of the saddest because these girls get all kinds of medical issues, because they should not be genetically bred to lay eggs every day.
The unnaturally high rates of labor intensive, energy depleting egg production that modern hens are forced to sustain means that even on small farms and backyard chicken operations, hens are virtual prisoners inside their own bodies. Overproduction of eggs is responsible for numerous disorders in hens, including often fatal diseases of the reproductive tract; osteoporosis and accompanying bone fractures; and, in some cases, total skeletal paralysis, sometimes referred to as “caged layer fatigue.” Osteoporosis and bone fragility from unnatural lay rates are also greatly exacerbated by lack of exercise: more than 95% of egg laying hens in the U.S. spend their entire lives confined in battery cages so small they cannot even spread their wings. By the time hens reach the slaughterhouse at 18 months to 2 years of age, their wing and leg bones are frequently riddled with painful breaks. Reproductive disorders in egg laying hens include tumors of the oviduct; peritonitis; egg binding (large eggs getting stuck and being slow and painful to pass); and uterine prolapse, a condition in which the lower portion of the oviduct fails to retract back into the body after oviposition, or the depositing of an egg. Like egg binding, prolapse is commonly a result of small birds being genetically manipulated to lay an unnaturally high rate of unnaturally large eggs.
Wild chickens can live for 10 years depending on the breed. My ex battery girls live it seems for around three years. There are many tears every time one dies. It is so unfair.
GALAHAD, MAAB, UTHER, MORGANA (RESCUE), FREKI, JOAN (RESCUE) AND ATREYU
Rescued Irish Wolfhounds and their Pack
We love Irish Wolfhounds and try to rescue them when we can. They are such gentle and noble giants. Galahad, who was not a rescue, used to visit the Royal Children's Hospital for Pet Therapy. Beautiful Maab, our Scottish Terrier and Uther, our cheeky Parson Jack Russell also joined Galahad at the Hospital, they were his life long companions. Galahad was an animal actor in films, adverts and videos. He could change a room and uplift it by his mere presence. He rescued many people in his lifetime, including us. A link to his work is here on his facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GalahadPetTherapy/
Joan our latest rescue is 2 years old, her owner took her to the vet to be put down when she was under a year old. Her reasoning was that she was too big and as a puppy had chased her horse. Obviously training, love and nurturing had not occurred to her. Our companion animals, be they horses, cats or dogs, are too easily relinquished. All creatures, including humans, need forever homes and families. Luckily the vet knew a breeder who looked after her until she found her way here.
Before Joan, we had rescued Morgana, age 6, another Irish Wolfhound. Galahad loved her. She had arrived to us with cancer and only survived 10 months. She was relinquished by her owners who wanted to only keep her daughter. We were devastated for her for many reasons, including the separation from her daughter. We fought the cancer and gave her the most spoilt life we could. She was loved until the end.
We then got Galahad another Irish Wolfhound companion called Freki (not a rescue), who was amazing with all our animals and such a sweetheart. She loved running with the chickens and lambs. She totally stole our hearts. She died of congenital kidney disease at 2 years of age. Very deeply devastating to lose one so young.
When Joan arrived to keep Galahad company in his old age they bonded immediately. We were very blessed to receive Joan in our lives. Joan has now been joined by Atreyu another Irish Wolfhound (not a rescue) who is a puppy and a bundle of joy. When they say the best psychiatrist in the world is a puppy, they were not wrong!
MAPLE AND MAX
Mother and Son
Maple (black face) was found down in a paddock during winter lambing back in 2019. Not far from her side protected by a pile of sticks, her new born son Max was seen hiding. Maple had an extreme case of black mastitis. With the help of strong hearts farm sanctuary, Maple made a full recovery while continuing to feed Max despite the pain she must have been feeling. While she is quite reserved, Maple loves to be hand fed carrots and will never say no to a weetbix or 5. She is a true warrior and left many vets baffled after all she overcame.
Max, born that day 15th of August 2019, is a very cheeky, chonky boy who believes he is a dog. He gets over excited about weetbix and loves butt rubs and using people as scratching posts.
Our Oldest Sheep
Also rescued in 2019’s winter lambing season (along with Maple and Max above), Karina was found barely able to walk, falling to her knees every few steps. Along with having contracted tendons and hooves desperate for a trim. Karina was also battling a nasty infection that unfortunately took the life of her lamb Cara. Karina underwent treatment for her legs, and after time in a sling and constant wrapping, she made a full recovery. Though she is very old, she is as happy as ever living out the rest of her life surrounded by companionship and love.
At Raphael’s previous home, his carer was looking after some lambs and was soon approaching the day to move them from inside the house to out in the paddock. With the concern of foxes, bringing an alpaca to the rescue seemed like a wonderful option. After much searching, Raphael was found on gumtree looking for a new home. He came with his friend Gabriel who has unfortunately since passed away. Afterwards, without a mate, Raph bonded closely with his sheepie friends and often skipped after them in the paddock.
Once Raph moved here he was so happy to be surrounded by fellow alpacas again and has closely bonded with Athos.
Sven and Elsa
So Damn Cute!
Sven (black nose) and Elsa (pink nose) were both born during 2020’s winter lambing season. Both orphaned, they were raised inside the comfort and warmth of a house and lived the good life, falling asleep on a queen size bed (often upon the faces of those sleeping in it). Elsa is a very independent sheep and likes to do her own thing while Sven is very people orientated. Having been rescued the day he was born, he sees himself as part human. Sven will spend ages beside you soaking up any love and affection he is given.
Chevy and Montgomery (Monte)
Chevy (top centre and left) is an outgoing fella with a very loud, unique, fog horn sounding baa. Before finding sanctuary at his previous rescue, he had broken his left hind leg and had it set wrong by the vets. This injury caused his leg to hang in on an angle, making Chevy often appear to be walking with a limp. Despite this, he has no trouble running around and still plays just as boisterously with the other sheep in the flock. Chevy was also likely orphaned as he was raised on the bottle alongside Montgomery.
Monty, short for Montgomery (bottom centre and right) is such a sweetheart and loves kisses on his nose and face. He is extremely demanding for attention and will be sure to tap at your leg with his hoof if he isn’t receiving enough pats and scratches. His exact rescue story is unknown but it is likely he was left orphaned as he ended up being raised in human care.