07 March 2012

He was just a baby, not even weaned, yet he had been bred to serve only one purpose

Shivering in a makeshift shelter and covered in his own runny feces, the tiny lamb cried helplessly for his mother. He cowered in the corner as I crawled into the shelter to comfort him. I put my arms around him and gathered him near. He snuggled in closer and turned his sweet face to mine. "Mother," his innocent eyes seemed to say, "You've come for me at last."

Sir Bertram Fancypants was just a baby, not even weaned. Yet it was spring and he had been bred to serve one purpose-- Easter dinner. Happily, a generous donor made it possible for us to purchase Sir Bertram and five of his brothers only days before their lives would have been cut short.

The donor had specifically asked us to get the lambs from this particular farm, where the sheep were sickly and provided minimal care. Our funds were limited, so we had to choose just six. We would have taken them all if we could.

All the lambs were sickly. With lots of help and support from the vet and volunteers helping to nurse them around the clock, we managed to bring five back to full health. The sixth, a sweet little baby with black markings on his face that made him look like a panda bear did not survive. And yet, how much better it was for him to leave this life in the arms of someone who loves him, than to be butchered in a slaughtering facility by cold machinery, handled only by colder hands. We are so happy to have ushered him out with love.

Today, Sir Bertram and his other four brothers (Professor Siegfried Rumbaba, Major Teehee Jones, Cap'n Snookums Malloy, and Viscount Matthias Hoitytoitytot) are full grown sheep, although we still refer to them as lambs. Every night, I give each one of them an "alfalfa cookie," as they kiss me goodnight. Every morning, they greet life with zeal, cavorting in the pasture all day, knowing they will be loved and cared for the rest of their days.
Spring blew gently in on the wind this morning, lush with hope. The unmistakeable odor of awakening earth and new life quickened my heart. Majja the Fabu, our resident peacock, did his dance to impress the lady hens, who ignored him in favor of pecking the freshly thawed soil. Already, bulbs were pushing their way from the ground; new life eager to assert itself. I knew in my bones that it was time to go out and save some more lambs from slaughter.

All around us in this farm community, animals are giving birth. It is a magical time in many ways, but also bittersweet. Most of these baby animals are bred for meat or to breed other meat animals. A whole industry is built on veal and lamb. Whilst we welcome and celebrate new life, we also face the cold reality that the number we can save is limited. We do what we can, and send prayers, love, and light to the mothers and babies we cannot help.

But oh! What a joy to save the ones we can! I do so love to bring babies back to the sanctuary. All the other animals love it, too, and a vibrant nurturing energy fills the air.

My friends, it is time again. We have space and energy to bring more lambs, and perhaps even a mother, home before Easter. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be a part of this magical moment?

This is your chance. By clicking here, you can help us raise the funds we need to save more babies like Bertie. Please give what you can, and please share this with others who may want an opportunity to save a lamb from slaughter this spring. Another way to help is to sponsor a lamb for less than $2 per day. We will send you a photo of your sponsored lamb, along with monthly updates, and you can visit your sponsored lamb as often as you would like.

Indra Lahiri | Facebook | Blog
Mehoopany, PA Indra is the founder of Indraloka Animal Sanctuary, an all-species safe haven for animals that would otherwise have been euthanized or slaughtered. Indraloka is founded on two principles: 1) the earth itself and all life are sacred and 2) we are all related. Indraloka supports animal rescue groups by providing a lifetime home for animals that are otherwise unadoptable, and also rescues farm animals from cruelty. Indra has dedicated her life to helping previously traumatized animals heal and rediscover joy, love, and trust. In the process, the animals she set out to help have become her greatest healers and teachers. 

Photo credit: Indraloka Animal Sanctuary