If factory farms are hell…

Sheep at Edgar's MissionWe were lucky enough to visit Edgar’s Mission yesterday to see all the animals…oh, and pick up their poo!

Edgar’s Mission is a sanctuary farm, about an hour’s drive from Melbourne, where rescued animals can live out their lives free from fear and cruelty.

We decided that if factory farms are hell, then Edgar’s Mission must be heaven!

It was a gorgeous morning as we got out of bed at 6.30 am to get ourselves organised for the farm. To be honest, I was a bit nervous about the whole thing. Even though I’ll fight for animal rights, I’ve never been exactly comfortable around animals, even though I’ve wanted to be. I’ve never really had much to do with them—until we got our gorgeous doggy 12 years ago.

My daughter, on the other hand, was born adoring all animals. She’s never hesitated to pick them up or pat them, or to talk to them as if they’re her best friends. 6 years ago, when we were holidaying in Ireland, we visited a woman whose dog had been tied to a post for the weekend while she went away visiting. She warned us not to go anywhere near the dog because he was cranky and would bite (I wonder why!). We looked over a few seconds later to see our 11-year-old daughter lying on the ground next to the ‘vicious’ dog, who was lying on his back having his belly rubbed!

She is the reason we got our own dog…and our (now deceased) rabbit…and our (now deceased) lamb. She is the reason we are now vegan, and she was also the reason that we were headed up to Edgar’s Mission to help out with the rescued animals.

After a quick stop at Mr Nice Guy  for cinnamon scrolls and hazelnut milk hot chocolates (YUM!), we headed up the highway.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. The website makes the farm look like a farm animal wonderland, with storybook-cute friendly animals, bright artwork, and tear-jerking quotes on signs. I was actually shocked to find that the website wasn’t exaggerating the gorgeousness of this place!

Within minutes of us arriving I heard the shout, “Boots is out!” A mischievous little goat kid jumped up on a parked farm vehicle and stood triumphantly on top until someone could get there, lift him gently down and deposit him back in the goat yard. We could almost hear him giggling at the fun of it. Have a look at Boots and see how gorgeous he is!

Next, we newbie volunteers had a tour of the farm. We all gasped and squealed as 2 little pigs came running towards us in the bright morning sunshine. Have you ever seen a pig run? I hadn’t. With the long shadows across the grass, they looked so…joyful, I think is the best way to describe them. Running pigs are now one of my favourite things in the world. If you’re on Facebook, check out this picture of 3 of the pigs running.  These aren’t the ones we saw in the morning—but we did work with these 3 in the afternoon. They’re very cheeky and covered us in mud.

There were so many highlights of the day I can’t even list them all, but they included:

ex-battery hen, with feathers missing, wandering freely at Edgar's MissionOne of the most touching things for me was watching ex-battery hens, with seared beaks and still partially de-feathered and raw-looking, wandering around freely and dust bathing in piles of compost. They were happy, but their physical condition gave away the horrors they must have experienced. It reminded me of when I worked as a visiting nurse about 20 years ago. Occasionally I’d be helping an average-looking elderly woman get dressed, and I’d notice a number tattooed on her arm or chest, and realise that she’d been in a concentration camp. I was always stunned, and in awe of the way they could go on in life appearing no different to anyone around them, even though they’d experienced such horrors in their past.

After a huge chicken rescue in 2012, Edgar’s Mission is almost over-run with chickens. These rescued hens can be adopted—if you’d enjoy some real cruelty-free eggs! Contact the farm for more information.

We were so lucky to be able to go up to the farm for a volunteer day. If you’re thinking of visiting, remember it’s a working farm, so we can’t just pop in anytime. You’ll need to arrange a time, visit on an Open Day or join in a volunteer day. Find out how to visit the farm.

If you’d like to meet some of the animals and join in their 10th birthday celebrations, come along to Princes Park, North Carlton, on 13 April. I understand Mr Nice Guy and Lord of the Fries might be there too. It looks like it’s going to be a fun day.

If you can’t make it, check out their website, read their inspiring stories, buy some merchandise, make a donation or become a best buddy, and get your own little slice of heaven.

3 thoughts on “If factory farms are hell…

  1. Oh what a wonderful day you had! I am very envious that you met Boots and Charles Darwin! My sister ‘sponsored’ Boots for my children for Christmas. We have the cutest photo of him in my daughter’s bedroom.
    A visit to Mr Nice Guy sounds like a perfect start to the day.

  2. Pingback: Newby vegan’s dilemma | The Lentil Institution

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