Back in August a lovely lady contacted Lotus Animal Sanctuary to ask if we could take eight cows from her, as her and her husband were going to be moving from the north east of Scotland for warmers climates abroad and would be unable to take their mini herd with them.
At this stage the couple would prefer to remain anonymous so I am going to refer to them as Jack & Jill.
Jill was married to Jack, who was a farmer, but they gave up actively farming in 2009. The reason they gave up farming was due to a combination of their age and the financial constraints created by the economic crash. Jack began farming in 1977. His background was in Bio-dynamics, and although he was never able to use this approach, he did practice Conservation Farming measures; developing an extensive system that was respectful to the environment and its denizens.
The farmer said that cattle are the soul of the land, and so the couple decided to that they would keep a small herd as companion animals because they couldn’t bear not having a few cattle around them. That just shows the love and companionship these beautiful animals can offer when people cannot bear to live without them. It’s been said before and I will say it again, the only difference between a dog and a cow, a pig and a cat is human perception!
Now the couple have chosen to move away from the land and obviously cannot take their beloved herd with them. They feel so sad that they have to part company with the cattle, but they desperately know they need to do what is right for the animals. They told me that the idea of them going to a sanctuary and knowing they will live out their days in peace and happiness will make their parting less difficult.
Cattle are herd animals and their need to connect with each other is unbelievably immense, so it was important to the couple that these beauties will not only be kept together, but they may have the chance to mix with more animals too, as they are aware that for cattle, the bigger the herd they are in, the happier they truly are.
When they contacted Lotus in August it was to ask if we could take them. I explained to the lady we haven’t acquired our land as yet, but she explained there was no urgency as they weren’t moving for a year or two, she was simply was forward planning to make sure she found a loving forever home for her beloved mini herd. I told her we would absolutely love to take the 8 of them and to leave it with me and I would get back to her.
I was hopeful with all that time to play with, Lotus would acquire land in time to take the cattle and we could launch Lotus with a healthy herd of 10 + cattle – Prince and companion would be there too obviously.
However, due to health issues with the ex-farmer, it became apparent in September that we would need to look for a new home for them quicker that we had originally thought. They asked if Lotus would still help, and of course, that just went without saying!
We immediately began to look for the closest sanctuaries within Scotland, but sadly each one met us with a no, or the offer to take only 2 of the cattle, therefore breaking up this herd. Cattle can become severely depressed when they are split from their herd, so this was something we knew would only ever be an absolute last resort. I knew if they were going to be leaving Scotland, the best chance of finding them a forever home where they could not only remain together , but also become part of a massive herd, would be with Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norwich. I contacted the Hillside founder Wendy Valentine and she immediately said yes. There were no questions about age, size, sex, breed, no requests for photos – just a loving straightforward “yes we will be happy to take them”! Hillside don’t discriminate against any animal, they just implicitly know, that all animals deserve to live, to be happy, safe and content.
I personally have supported Hillside for many many years, and was definitely inspired and motivated by them too in relation to opening a sanctuary in Scotland. Wendy has been very helpful in providing me with help, information and support in relation to opening this new vegan animal sanctuary in Scotland; a true spirit of being in this for the animals and no other reason at all.
Some of you may have seen the stories this year about Hillside taking in a whole herd of 63 cattle from farmer Jay Widle when he became vegetarian – his story was all over the media and even made an episode of Country File. This isn’t the first time Hillside have taken cattle from farmers either, and I doubt it will be the last.
I would ask you to think about supporting Hillside as they care for literally thousands of animals in their Norwich based sanctuary. Visit their charity online shop, make donations, pay for hay bales for the animals, share their page on your social media – there’s so much that you can do to help. Xmas cards are a nice gesture, as not only are you supporting the sanctuary, but you promote the it with every Christmas card you send. Visit their shop here http://hillsideanimalsanctuary.mybigcommerce.com/gifts/cards-notelets/
Since I told Jack & Jill the good news, they have been researching Hillside and its reputation. They said they would not consider anywhere for their cows that wasn’t transparent about its practice and Hillside really do tick all the boxes.
Here’s a bit of background on who will soon be Hillside’s newest residents – their story makes such lovely reading.
There are four cows – Nutmeg is 11 years old, she is Simmental/Murray Grey cross, she was an orphan calf who was bottle fed by Jill, and in consequence is seriously ‘mumsiefied’. Rasin is 11 years old; she is a Charolais/Linousin cross, Spotty Tongue is 15 years old who is a Simmental/Limousin cross, and Amber is 15 years old and she is a Limousin cross – but not sure what other breed she’s crossed with as she was a calf at foot with a bought in heifer. The next 2 are the children of some of these cows. Star is 8 years old and is the daughter of Spotty Tongue, and Boy George is also 8 years old and he is Amber’s son. Daphne & Rupert are twins and are also 8 years old – they were referred to as the ‘county set’. Sadly their Mum is no longer with us, but they’re well looked after by the rest of their family now. The father of all the young ones was a Murray Grey bull called Hercules. So there’s the family tree!
So this beautiful herd are safe and are lucky to be going to such a great sanctuary. However, the 2 locations are currently almost at opposite ends of the UK – and moving cattle is an expensive job. This would be over a 1000 mile round trip and the driving time alone would be over 10 hours each way, so obviously this will have to involve an overnight stop. The cattle have to be handled by experienced people and driven by a driver who is used to working with and driving animals of this size. Therefore, it’s clear we cannot try to cut any corners and we must pay someone to do this properly. We need to raise £1200 to move these sweet and beautiful beings from their current home up in the north east of Scotland to their new home in Norwich.
Please help in any way you can; donate, share the story, take it to the press, talk to people about it – believe me, every tiny little thing helps.
The work which has been done in the past 10 months really shows the importance for Lotus to finally obtain the land and open its doors! Apart from highlanders, ALL the cattle Lotus have been involved with rescuing; have had to made the long journey south to a English vegan animal sanctuaries – Scotland desperately needs this sanctuary to open.
The idea Lotus came into fruition really was all down to cows.
It’s almost one year since the first rescue took place – the young son of a dairy cow who was being raised so people could eat his flesh, is almost 1 year safe. He was rescued last autumn just in time for his 2nd birthday, I think you can guess that is Prince. This is the boy with the personality to meet that of his brother who is Nipper the Jack Russell – yes a JR –the dogs with possibly the biggest personalities and characters in the dog world, and Prince can match his personality hands down!
Prince’s 3rd birthday is almost upon us, so please give some thought as to how we can help him celebrate. Lotus is his number one priority.
Follow Prince on social media – Facebook @PrinceMooMoz & Twitter & Instagram @Prince_Moo_Moz – he really is a huge character! Once Lotus is open you can come and give him big cow hugs and kisses.
Please help Lotus to help rescue and support Scottish cattle like the eight in this herd who are in need of rescue. Share our story and volunteer to help get the sanctuary up and running.
You can contact Lotus via Facebook @LotusAnimalSanctuary or email Lynn@bohemianhippy.com