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.