We are sad to report that Stephen Colbert passed away last week. He will be missed very much by us all. Stephen Colbert came to SASHA Farm in the Fall of 2007. A tiny pygmy goat kid, only a day or two old, he’d been taken from his mother and was being auctioned off by the pound for meat at the local livestock exchange. Through the help of a friend Stephen came to SASHA Farm where he would live out his life free from harm and in the company of other goats. Through the years Stephen became an iconic figure here at the sanctuary. Loved by the staff and many volunteers, Stephen became one of the most photographed goats ever at SASHA Farm. We have fond memories of calling out his name and having him bleat back at you. We miss Stephen but we know he moved on to other sunny pastures. Thank you for your support and sponsorships of Stephen over the years.
Here is a video we made of Stephen and sent to the TV celebrity Stephen Colbert.
Can you give one of these sweet dogs a forever home for the New Year?
Once in awhile we get asked by other sanctuaries and shelters for help placing an animal. We recently were asked to take some dogs to help get them adopted. The shelter they came from has many dogs and are no-kill so they asked for our assistance. Whether you can adopt or simply spread the word, we need your help. We will require a home visit by one of our volunteers or staff and references, including one from your veterinarian. If you are interested in one of the dogs you can call us or email us for more information. We would love to start the New Year off with loving homes for these dogs!
Veganuary is a great way to try going vegan for a month and get the tools to continue beyond that month. Pledge with thousands of others to go vegan and reduce the suffering of billions of animals, help the planet and adopt healthier eating choices. TheVeganuary website packs so many useful tools for the newcomer to going vegan:
Around the beginning of December we became aware of a situation involving two very young piglets at a pig farmer’s home needing to be rescued. We were asked to get involved because the piglets were suspected to have been stepped on by the mother. They had injuries that were believed to be hematomas on their legs. Since they were not nursing from the mother or growing as fast as the rest of the litter they were not going to be receiving medical care.
After coordinating their rescue to bring them back to our sanctuary we took a short road trip to get them. We took them straight to the MSU Large Animal Hospital. As we held these adorable piglets in our arms we felt hopeful that maybe these injuries were not as bad as they appeared. We imagined we would take them back to SASHA Farm and give them a good life with our other rescued animals. Our volunteers and staff would shower them with love and care for their needs. We could not have predicted the outcome of that visit. As all the different doctors and staff surrounded us and examined the pigs their findings made our hope start to fade. The piglets both had a fever and were septic. Their tiny little snouts were already turning a dark purple. The piglets were very lethargic. Healthy piglets do not readily sit so still in your arms. When it came to their “hematomas” the doctors determined that it was actually infection in their joints. The pigs were taken down to the radiology department for more information on the joints. The radiographs revealed infection into the bones in their legs. On the female piglet the infection in the bone had progressed so much that the bone had eroded away in one spot. This area of bone would not grow back. The damage to their joints and bones was causing pain and lameness that would last their lifetime. The male piglet was improperly castrated and that may be a likely cause for his infection.
As one can imagine this was overwhelming to hear all this. Another doctor had stopped by to give her feedback on the condition of the piglets. The male piglet had labored breathing which was due to adhesions on the lungs. Many of the symptoms the piglets had mimicked a disease that is highly contagious if they had it. One of the piglets had pressure sores likely the result of trying to nurse and not being able to gain access to the mother. Piglets will try to push their way into the mother’s nipples and get these sores. As a result of not being able to nurse the piglets did not receive colostrum. Colostrum is made up of antibodies passed on from the mother to help the piglets build up immunity. This was a definite answer to one reason the piglets were malnourished. The piglets were also not vaccinated which could have helped their chances to fight an infectious disease common in pigs. The doctors did not estimate that they would live more than a few more days. The piglets were humanely euthanized as we wept along with some of the staff. It did not seem fair that this happened to those piglets. They only got to live a few weeks. We returned to the sanctuary with the piglets to bury them in their final resting place.
Almost $500 later we were unable to save the piglets but were reminded of a very important lesson. Commercial pig farmers do not care for the overall well-being of the pigs. They are a commodity, a dollar sign. Pigs are a “something” not a “someone” to the farmers. Vaccinating is often not done due to their lack of concern and cheapness. Castrations are often not done in the safest method. The only reason the piglets made it out of that farm was because of the farmer’s wife. She did not agree that they should stay there and continue to suffer without medical care. As, we close that sad chapter of our rescue experiences we now look forward to a happy ending with another pig rescue this week. We recently were told of a pig in Iowa that likely fell off a transport truck. The pig was found in a ditch with injuries. A woman found the pig and contacted us to see if we could provide a home. We were happy to help. We arranged transport and picked up the pig in Iowa and brought him back to Michigan. 1500 miles round trip in 32 hours. Our new pig’s name is “Johnny Cash” and he is just a few months old. Johnny Cash will join the other rescued pigs at SASHA Farm as being one of the “lucky ones”. Many pigs suffer from illness and disease at commercial farms. Recent undercover videos reveal horrific abuse by slaughterhouse workers. Female pigs are confined to Gestation crates unable to turn around or be closer to their babies. Teeth and testicles are removed and tails cut off without pain medication. This holiday season please keep pigs off your plate and go vegan. Please consider a donation in honor of SASHA Farm’s Lucky ones. Your contribution will help us provide care for our new pig Johnny Cash and all the other rescued pigs at our sanctuary. We know you will agree that pigs are someone and not something.
These little sweethearts were transferred to us from Michigan Duck Rescue and Sanctuary last Thursday after they were found on the tarmac at Detroit Metro Airport. The people who found the chicks at the airport said the mother and a few chicks were run over. These 13 chicks remained there. We would like to thank Matt at Michigan Duck Rescue and Sanctuary for taking them in and keeping them safe until they were brought to SASHA Farm. Now we begin deciding on airline-themed names. 🙂
Each of us can remember moments in our lives that we know have changed us forever. Most of those moments are ones that we hold dear to our hearts and never let go. If you ever met Helen at our sanctuary that was probably one of those moments for you. On Monday, May 18 we lost our beloved Helen. By far, it was one of the hardest days ever at the sanctuary. Although we are dealing with her loss her story brings inspiration. Helen was born on a dairy farm in Northern Michigan. After 3 weeks of birth it was discovered by a veterinarian that Helen was born very different. She was diagnosed with Cerebellar Hypoplasia, a neurological disorder that can cause jerky movements, tremors and generally uncoordinated motion. Her condition prohibited her from being able to get pregnant and be hooked up to the milking equipment. In most cases, a cow born like this would be sent to slaughter or euthanized. A compassionate person at the farm worked to spare her life and find her the right home for her special needs. Helen came to live at SASHA Farm in 2010 and although she found a new home with us she still had challenges ahead. Walking for Helen was the biggest obstacle. How we would sometimes describe her movement was like watching “Bambi on ice”. Over the years Helen learned to walk in a way where she could compensate for her disability with each step she took. She made it work so it awarded her as close to a normal life as she possibly could have had. Helen’s need to be close to people brought her many friendships. Her unusual strut did not slow down her desire to love and be loved. Helen’s life at SASHA Farm was filled with an abundance of attention. Helen has left a profound impact on all who knew her. Overcoming the odds against her, Helen has shown us that an animal’s desire to live is as real as ours. We would like to thank everyone for their support for Helen over the years. It has always been through the compassion and generous support that we have been able to rescue animals like Helen and we hope we can continue to help more. Helen may no longer physically be out in the pasture but her memory will always be. Rest in peace sweet Helen.
Yesterday California’s foie gras ban was overturned today by U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson in Los Angeles. “He ruled that the ban, passed in 2004 and in effect as of 2012, illegally encroaches on the regulatory domain of the federal government. The Poultry Products Inspection Act, which is a federal law, regulates the sale and distribution of the bodies and body parts of tormented birds, and unfortunately, forbids states from imposing particular conditions on production.”
Foie gras producers shove pipes down ducks’ throats to force feed them far more than they would ever eat. The force feeding can cause bruises, lacerations, and sores. The duck’s livers may grow to ten times the normal size. (Humane Society of the United States)
An appeal to this ruling is possible but we will have to see what happens. Please try to educate others about this inhumane practice.
Before Thanksgiving we received many phone calls about two sheep “on the loose” in Ann Arbor. With the help of some Ann Arbor residents the SASHA Farm staff caught Sherry after a few weeks of patience and building a corral. Sherry had been marked with paint indicating she was meant to be slaughtered. Sherry’s partner is still out there. He has access to food so we hope he can survive until he is caught and brought to safety. Now Sherry has settled in and is just one of the gang when she struts around with the rest of the flock. We are so pleased to have her at the sanctuary.
UPDATE: As of Wednesday, January 7 Sherry’s companion, the other sheep has been seen again in the same area of Ann Arbor. With temperatures dipping to single digits with wind chills of up to -15 degrees we are concerned for his well being. We hope to catch him soon and get him into the warm shelter of a barn at SASHA Farm.
Late Sunday evening we were called out to rescue 12 domestic turkeys. They were left behind at a house where the owners had a domestic dispute. The people had not been living in the house for some time. We loaded up the turkeys and brought them back to the sanctuary to feed them and warm them up as it had been a chilly and rainy evening. They are very sweet and super curious birds. We will be doing a special sponsorship opportunity for these guys so stay tuned. More info coming soon.