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NEWS - January 2017


Happy New Year. A little bit late, but for a good reason.

We have a lot to celebrate, while we've been busy coping with the awful weather, the mud, the cold and gale force winds, we have also rescued thirty-one new sheep. All of the ewes came from the same small neglected, flock we wrote about in the summer.

The same flock that in June, with the help of an RSPCA officer, our vet and our local police we were able to remove 11 ewes from who were suffering from severe flystrike, abscesses and dehydration. Two of them were close to death; maggots had destroyed large areas of flesh which had become infected. They were also full of worms.

This was one of the worst cases of neglect we'd seen or heard about relating to sheep, and while we were happy to have been able to remove eleven of the worst affected sheep who all survived, we felt frustrated that we had to leave the others behind. They looked miserable, they were underfed, but we had no choice but to leave them. Legally we couldn't remove them as their condition wasn't bad enough and our offer to buy them was rejected, not in a pleasant way. The case eventually went to Court and the owner received a lifetime ban on keeping livestock and a sixteen-week suspended prison sentence, plus a fine. He was ordered to "dispose" of all his animals.

As a result, we were able to buy them and help bring to an end the farming activities of this particular farmer. The ewes are now looking contented, well fed and relaxed. Thirty of them are in lamb. If they were still in the previous owner's possession they would have been left out in the field with no shelter, no care, no supervision and very little food. Had we not bought them they would all have been sent to market and then most likely would have gone straight for slaughter because of their age. Miserable lives followed by a miserable death.

We're now preparing for weeks and weeks of sleepless nights as we await the births, but just thinking about those ewes with their lambs, sheltered and safe will make the effort more than worthwhile. Our team here are providing the excellent care these ladies need and we'd also like to thank our colleagues at Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries for all the help they have provided taking in some of our animals to make way for this new flock some of whom they also helped safely deliver to us.


We've also been back to a local market, monitoring welfare standards, and came back with 8 sheep. One, a friendly little Ryeland Ram, has since been named Rowland. Rowland went to touch the hand of a dealer with his nose and was rewarded with a hard smack across his face. A solitary nervous ewe was pulled to the floor by a buyer when she tried to jump out of her pen in fear. Three thin, bedraggled lambs huddled together. The auctioneer announced two of them had been running with the ram, and three old ewes, one with a bleeding, damaged foot all came back home with us. A happy new year for all of them.

I shouldn't forget our little one-legged hen, who suffered an unrepairable injury to her leg. She's a very agile little hen, now named Peggy, what else?

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