Friday, 27 September 2019

Thoughts on the personal vegan journey towards activism

If you haven't twigged yet, I follow a compassionate vegan lifestyle. I go into horrible places and situations, see horrible things and reach out my hand to care. As a family, we then support all the folk we get out of a corrupt and abusive system. In everything I do I try to ask for kindness, by being kind myself. I do not expect everyone to be kind and to stop eating other folk, there will always be those that want to consume bodies, however weird and distasteful that seems. But the hatred and spite directed at us seems to indicate clearly that eating bodies affects the mind and judgement in a lot of humans very badly. It has often been noted that eating certain foods clouds the mind, in as much the same way as alcohol. From personal experience as a misguided vegetarian for many years, I thought of myself as compassionate and aware, until it was I gave up dairy. Then the shackles were released and I could feel even more deeply, empathise with more clarity, became more compassionate, became logical without dissociation. I firmly believe from my experiences and from talking extensively to others, that consuming non human animals and their milk and eggs creates a barrier in the mind. It makes being unkind easier, if you will. If you consider for a moment the amount of hatred and violence that is directed at us, just because we opt out of a cruel system, then the extent that the general population have been brainwashed is staggering. To harm others just because they are being kind is not evolved or humane but is decidedly human.

Becoming plant based is a lovely start to a compassionate lifestyle. Veganism is another imperative step, a lifestyle that chooses not to wear, eat or use animals. However, if we stop at this point then exploitation will never end. The personal journey needs progression, for our actions and choices are not limited to personal consequences when they have such a huge , detrimental effect on others within this world.

As the demands of this worldwide movement increase and the products we need likewise, without activism from all, then the exploiters will change their products but not their mindsets. If a farmer can sell his coconuts for oil/milk/cream/ cosmetics to a growing market, he will be happy. If he/she knows that the growing market stop thinking and caring about how that product is collected, it will become inevitable that animals will continue to be used in a slave-like existence to enhance profit margins, or once ethical companies will move backwards in the goal of higher profits. Not to count the devastation caused from deforestation, the lists of animals destroyed is unimaginable, orangutans, owls, tigers, monkeys, birds, insects, reptiles.... That a biscuit considered vegan by some, (oreo) is responsible for huge swathes of tropical forest destruction.

The only way forward is to still push for an end to animal exploitation. Just following a diet, or a lifestyle with no activism, will promote continued exploitation just with usable products that can carry a vegan label. We need to question at every opportunity, where has this product been made? How was it farmed? How was it harvested? We need to let the big commercial enterprises know that a ‘vegan label’ is not enough, that we will continue to ask for higher standards, for no exploitation, for fair trade, for a kinder world. That we are not egocentric and focused on ourselves, that we care and understand that to survive, we must all walk gently. That our buying power cannot be corrupted or cajoled into looking the other way in the name of profit. Do we not want a world where we are all free? Is not the goal to be sustainable, mindful and nurture the world on whom we depend?

Friday, 20 September 2019

Clyde the peacock considers kindness

Our little haven for animals, our little torch of compassion in a cruel human system. While the outside around us keep force breeding and pushing for slaughter. Our little space in this corner fights with gentle compassion for a kinder now, for the hope of a gentle future or the hope of A future. While the farmers’ cows moo and call out their needs, our cows sit in peace knowing they have all they need. Knowing their humans will never hurt or exploit them. Knowing their humans will fight for them with everything they possess. Our peacocks regard us with an indigo gaze, do they know our hearts are true?

The storm clouds gather, the thunder rumbling in the distance like a prehistoric dinosaur. The colours darken, the air becomes thick with the taste of ozone. How long can we hope for rain to fall, for water to be available? It is not guaranteed anymore. We are all aware, you and I, that the cost to our earth is great, the cost of the choices we make. But so many still don't care, haven't made the connection, refuse to listen, refuse to change. How much do the other earthlings have to pay for humankind’s wilfull ignorance? How much do we have to pay for it? Those of us that talk every day, trying to help our fellow humans connect the dots. Trying so hard, in so many ways to reach out, to break other minds free; that sadly seem to just want to find excuses not to think, not to be responsible, to blame and fingerpoint others for the mess they are in.

We the people can make the difference, we can vote right now what is acceptable and what is not, we choose what we buy, what we condone, what and whom we follow. We are all free thinkers, we can all choose not to be unkind from the moment we wake in the morning to the moment we sleep. From the first words we use, to the first meal we cook, to whether we wear another earth animals skin, to whether we let other humans hurt and kill on our behalf, if we choose to turn a blind eye to someone else's pain, if we reach out our hand, if we give what we can, or if we keep for ourselves.

Change comes from one person, joining another and another, you are all significant in the process. You can all make the difference between getting better, being kinder, healing our world or continuing with traditions, cultures and beliefs that have led us to the point of wars, collapse, extinction.. you are the change. The rest of the natural world is waiting for humans to change, some of them just clinging on to survival, the whole world is watching us, are you taking note? Thousands of species have died in my lifetime, I don't want to part of this problem, do you? As they die in their billions, their voices clamouring to be heard, can you hear yet? Can you change to be kinder? We have such an amazing, beautiful, achingly exquisite planet to call home, why insist on destroying what we need to survive?

So we sit and we ponder, Clyde and I, how best to reach the chained hearts and grey minds. As the storm clouds roll in, I wish they could wash away the heinous choices my fellow humans continue to make, people that have the ability to be kind - just choose not to be about what they eat. We are all of this world, we all pay for the choices you make. 

Friday, 13 September 2019

Blossom and her pig friends

Pigs love company, they love cuddles and interactions. They prefer to be clean and have clean beds. They defecate in one area and only wallow in mud when the sun is hot and bothersome. They talk continually to each other and anyone else that will listen. They are all individual, with unique likes and dislikes. A better place to relax, a welcome conversation, a certain place to be scratched, a favourite gate to control. The best ball to play with, their preferred human or other earthling friend. When you look and begin to see pigs for who they are, there is no hilarity to be found in the ‘bacon comments’. These folk have all learned quicker than dogs, they are cleaner, they play and talk just as much. They are loyal and trusting. There is no need to treat them with such cruelty. They understand death, they have fears, they understand meaning. There is no farrowing crate, tail mutilation or tooth removal that is done with any pigs best interest at heart within farming. Farming sees these wonderful folk as a profit and needs them to get fat quick in a small space with the least loss.

Pigs make wonderful, caring and protective parents, the boars playing a unique and fundamental role in the family structure. Protector and babysitter in one, and so observant and gentle. To say otherwise is to spread propaganda just treat pigs badly for profit. When is it ok to gas someone alive? to boil their lungs? Well it’s ok as long as you say it’s humane and people continue to pay for it to happen. Please choose kindly and wisely, there is no need for this to happen.

Blossom is our lovely pink lady. Her hair is so soft and she is so sweet, always ready for a cuddle. Always kind and gentle. If she hadn't found her way to our sanctuary, she would have been killed by thumping her head on a concrete floor at two weeks old. Her crime? To not have been strong enough to suckle properly as she couldn’t reach her mum in her prison of a farrowing crate. There is no kindness given to pigs within farming. No acknowledgement of their intelligence and character. Just horrible fake news to try and justify the mutilation and abuse. Blossom was riddled with ulcers and abscesses, she couldn't walk due to the deformities these caused on her limbs. She was unable to heal as she was given no care and treatment and kept in "standard approved" conditions. Lying in her own filth and that of her mum and siblings. Infected and weak she came to us, lost and grief stricken without her mummy. Her mum and siblings will already be human faeces now, without a thought the lives stolen. Blossom is our family now, precious and loved. Please stop eating other folk, it really isn't a nice way to behave.

We have many pigs here looking for sponsors, please get in touch. Help a pig to enjoy their life rather than paying for someone to be gassed.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Update: Azra needs wheels!

A few weeks ago, we posted the story of Azra our beautiful, golden girl, white muzzled with a gaze clouded by time. She had just undergone major surgery and was back at home, under the watchful caring eye of Wynnie. Her journey back to health finds her at last sitting on the sandy shores of the lake. She can potter about in her wobbly way, but time has caught up with her and decided her wandering days are over. Following her huge operation she now only manages about six meters at a time. Putting her into the car with her going out bag of bowl, chews and teddy, she sat up proudly –  maybe memories of yesterdays flooding back – when vehicle rides meant action and adventure. We wonder when we sit quietly with her as she sleeps, her feet running in her dreams, is she chasing someone from her service days? running along streets away from dog catchers? or running with our pack through the sunlit countryside? she has had so many different episodes in her life. Does she still wonder why she was thrown onto the streets? Does she still remember the days of no food or shelter? Or, is a dog’s memory as patchwork as my own, brief snapshots in time, overlapped with recent memories.

So here she sits, damp from her paddle in the lake, gazing out at the children playing, sandy paws and remembered dreams. Gwynnevere runs to her often, playing sandcastles with her old doggy, both staring out across the water together in a shared stillness that seems timeless. Azra is her guardian, once so powerful and strong, yet still with a heart full of gentleness and courage. Wynnie is her guardian in return, young body, yet still with so much to learn, they compliment each other in their different strengths and love. A friendship without barriers, timeless. One that many of us yearn for; that remains elusive in its rarity. At the end of the evening Azra was lifted into the strong arms of Jerome and carried back into the car. All of us sandy, having shared moments of happiness together and sandy sandwiches. Once home, she dozed on her bed next to the fire, a younger version of herself running in her dreams while her old grey feet jump across her bed.

Azra needs wheels!

And now, Azra is needing everyone’s help. She needs some wheels to help with her mobility and enable her to enjoy many more days at the lake, playing with her friends. Despite our best efforts at changing, modifying and making do, Azra just can’t use the thirdhand, old and used-to-bits wheelchairs we have, they are both so broken and too small. You can see in the photo that she is uncomfortable and it is totally unsuitable. Despite two days of trying to modify the frame, she remains squashed in and her back isn’t straight. The wheels are not repairable and the harness clips are hanging on with tie wraps and two broke just while she was standing still, let alone moving.

After lengthy discussions with Becky at Wheels for Dogs we have come up with a solution that suits her ability now and will support her in her unrelenting slowing. Our aim is that she remains as mobile and as comfortable as she can for the time she has left to share with us. We are using any second-hand harnesses Becky has that she feels are suitable and she is also giving us a 15% discount. This outlay of the wheelchair is extraordinarily massive, until it is put into mind that this will allow our golden girl to be mobile with the pack again. The large frame can also be used for three of our other large dogs who are progressing towards their golden years, as and when the need arises.

Azra needs a walking wheels large frame quad wheelchair costing £540, two rear lift walking harnesses, which will allow one to be in the wash and drying as she is doubly incontinent, £60 each, a walking frame belly support £30, two bootie splints at around £90 plus the delivery cost. Unless there is someone who wants to visit us here and volunteer for a few days and bring the wheelchair with them? :) So we are at a minimum estimate of £830 for the total without delivery and without final costing.

So friends, we are turning to the outside world. We make do and mend wherever possible, but for this chair, we have tried and failed and need your help to get her supported. Azra has fought to recover after her total mastectomy and she is courageous and determined. Can you help us to get her back on her feet for long strolls in the countryside? She can potter about now, but it is only for very short distances, so need her wheels as soon as possible. 

If you are able to help, please send payments via PayPal marked Azzies chair to

Azra only has two monthly supporters, so if you would prefer to help with her ongoing needs every month please shout. Alternatively, she needs incontinence pads and treats, which are on our Amazon wishlist x

Friday, 6 September 2019

Meet the Big V Sanctuary family

Here we are, Jerome and I, with three of our cherished ones, Gwynnevere, Louis and Blossom. Having a sanctuary is life consuming, our moments are shared continuously with our extended family. There is not one conversation or thought or action that does not involve someone else, their needs, their story, their day, their feelings. In the quiet moments when everyone is settled I try to focus on nobody, but we have so many faces here that jump into the mind, that it proves impossible. Did we do this or that? how can we make this better, make it more comfortable, make it safer? When I do the night rounds to check the fences and gates have not been vandalized my thoughts turn to those that are waiting to find sanctuary within our walls; or those that have passed me in the trucks that are out of my reach of compassion.

There is no greater purpose than to be kind and compassionate, to share safety and sanctuary to those in need. To reach out and protect folk that are scared and injured. To continue to walk the path against the tide of cruelty and be a light and voice for those that are hurting to turn towards. To be courageous in the path of violence and stand firm against oppressive behaviour. My dream is to extend our walls and our arms to enfold more into safety. To continue to spread our message of kindness and compassion into the darkness of the human minds that hurt others and pay for their deaths. We are a little human family, with a huge non-human family, but we are part of a network of kindness that is growing. Live how you would want to be remembered, stand up to injustice lest you be the one in need. Mirror the actions of others that are kind until it becomes your nature. Listen to the voices of those close to you and shun ignorant and cruel statements, do not remain quiet to keep the status quo. We are all powerful to promote change, we can all be kinder. Surround yourself with those that want kindness and love with abandon those that are in need.