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NEWS - August & September 2017

Cruelty Case

Why do sheep need a sanctuary, a question that we're asked many times. We're told it wouldn't make sense for anyone to breed and keep animals and not look after them?

There are good animal keepers and there are bad animal keepers. This year we have taken in 55 sheep from one of the latter. We took 41 thin, ragged looking ewes and lambs in February, most of them suffering from severe lameness, with bleeding, rotting feet, or a painful eye infection, which, if left untreated would cause permanent blindness. Some of the animals were suffering from both conditions.

In June we removed a further 12 ewes and lambs from the same person. These had maggot infestation so bad that large patches of raw flesh, still covered with newly hatched and adult maggots were easily visible, the soiled, rotting fleece having peeled away. Lambs were finding it painful to walk, maggots having invaded the flesh inside their back legs. One lamb had an abscess the size of a grapefruit on the inside of a front leg. He was only able to hop on three legs for a short distance before pain caused him to lie down again.

hope-before

Hope on arrival

The worst of the ewes, a skinny little black faced girl, lay against a wall with her eyes closed and her head pressed into the dirt. Her body was covered in buzzing blowflies, she was frothing at the mouth, we all had the feeling that we'd found her too late to save her.

Six weeks later we were able to turn out into the paddock twelve happy, healthy ewes and lambs. Lameness had gone, eyes were bright and clear, flesh had healed, although some of the worst affected ewes would carry the scars for the rest of their lives. The little black faced ewe, who had been named Hope, looked a picture of contentment.

hope-after

Hope looking better!

All thanks to the dedication of our staff, who looked after these animals around the clock, the skill and advice of our Vet, and the rapid response from our shearer, all working together to save the lives and care for animals who weren't considered to be worth treating. The evidence has been presented to The RSPCA, thanks also to the RSPCA officer who responded to our call. We're all hoping to proceed with a prosecution and hopefully that the owner responsible for causing these animals so much suffering will be banned for life from keeping animals.

Jersey Calves

calves

In July we were asked if we could find room for 6 Jersey bull calves, they were a few days old and were due to be shot. Like many dairy male calves, they were the unwanted product of the dairy industry, the easiest way to deal with the problem was to have them shot.

When their owner was contacted he was more than happy to let them go to another home where they'd at least have the chance of a life, he prefers that to having them shot and taken away. Consumer demand for milk and dairy products means that milk cows produce for their newborn calves is needed for human consumption, calves have to be taken away from their mothers when they are a few days old.

Jersey cattle are a small breed, they are known worldwide for producing milk particularly rich in valuable cream, which is why their milk is so much in demand and more expensive than milk from other breeds. Allowing male Jersey calves to have what is rightfully theirs is not profitable, these calves don't grow into veal or beef unless after weaning, they are fed a large amount of expensive rations, not a viable option.

Our calves arrived when they were three to four days old, looking bewildered and stressed. Suddenly no mum, being taken into a trailer, arriving at a strange place, little wonder these babies looked bewildered and tired? The smallest one curled himself up in a corner, at feed time when he was offered his bottle he showed no interest. He was given fluids and antibiotics, to our joy he was up and about in a couple of days and drinking from the milk bar with the others.

They will live out their lives with us, in the spring they'll join the rest of our small herd out in the fields, they must be the luckiest little Jersey calves in the world.

New sheep

ted ed and lamby the sheep

New sheep Lamby, Ed and Ted arrived in July from their home in Wales, where they'd lived for most of their lives as much loved pet sheep. Lamby, the white ewe is head of the household, the two boys always watching Lamby and waiting for instructions. Except at feeding time when its every man for himself. All three sheep are friendly, confident and cheerful, just how sheep who have never been part of the commercial world will behave when given the chance.

bobby

Bobby and Billy the lambs arrived from Lancashire two weeks ago. We know little about their history, except that they were orphaned at birth, were bottle fed and like all castrated male lambs were destined for the slaughterhouse. They were given the chance to live out their lives when a chance encounter with them melted someone's heart. They were bought from the farmer, brought to us, settled into a pen, where we checked them over. We were horrified to find that they both had severe footrot. Billy had live maggots in one badly infected foot and both lambs were walking on their knees because of the pain.

billy

They've both responded well to treatment, they're friendly, cheerful little chaps, they've soon learnt to appreciate a scratch on the head and a Rich Tea biscuit.

The Big Barn

barn

At long last, following our very successful appeal to help us purchase a new Barn, an appeal launched by our Patron Joanna Lumley last year, the building is now only a week away from completion. This winter, our elderly sheep will be living in light, draught free, roomier accommodation, no more than they deserve. We thank everyone for their generous donations to make this possible, we've been dreaming about having a new barn for many years, miracles sometimes do happen.

Pay Roll Giving

duck-goose-sheep

We are constantly in need of donations to help with our running costs. Pay Roll Giving is a good way to set up a monthly donation. If you would please consider this take a look at www.payrollgiving.co.uk. Thank you.

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