73 cows

Get a hanky, this will melt your heart 🙂

Thank God for Jay and Katja, may all the animal farmers follow in their footsteps.

And please support Hillside who gave sanctuary to all 73 cows 😀

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/293352305″>73 Cows</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/lockwoodfilm”>Alex Lockwood</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

*****************

vegan, vegetarian, vegan organic, vegan farming, animals, cows, animal rescue

 

Unprepared

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

They weren’t prepared for what they found.  Parked in the field, alongside the still confined sheep, was a double decker lorry.

The top deck was already full of sheep.  The farmer was there, with his dogs, talking to the lorry driver.  It was clear to the boys what was about to happen.  That’s why they were locked up there.  They were waiting for transport.  Waiting to be taken to their deaths.  Luke and Joe stood frozen at the bus shelter. They dropped their bags of apples.

“The lorry must be late,” said Joe in a husky whisper.

“Why?”

“Coz they haven’t been fed for two days, they must’ve not known it was gonna be that long.”

“It’s not late!” snapped Luke angrily, “look how clean an’ shiny that lorry is!  I bet they don’t wanna get their lorry dirty – they don’t want no poo and wee in their lorry so they don’t let ’em eat or drink before the journey.  Their last journey!”

Joe felt a lump in his throat and his heart ached.

“That’s horrible!” he said desperately, “what can we do?  We’ve got to do something!”

Luke’s eyes started to sting as he watched them send in the dogs to herd the hungry sheep onto the lorry. He picked up the biggest stone he could find and threw it as hard as he could at the lorry’s windscreen across the road.  It missed.

“There’s nothin’ we can do!” he said, grabbing his bag of apples, “unless you’ve got a thousand pounds to pay the farmer for ’em, and a hundred allotments to keep ’em on!”

Still they hated themselves for doing nothing and walked away in silent misery.

***

Friday morning at breakfast, Luke’s dad observed how cold and wet it was.

“It’s big coat weather already,” he told his wife, “it’s amazing how quick the temperature drops once September arrives.”

“Sometimes,” Mum agreed, “it’ll probably be warm again tomorrow.”  She looked at her boys.  “Your big coats need a wash to freshen them up,” she remembered, “so you’ll have to wear an extra jumper under your summer jackets for now.”

“I’m not wearin’ that wool jumper!” said Luke firmly.

“Luke, it’s cold.  If your Dad says it’s cold then you know it is.  He’s usually hotter than the rest of us.”

“Than you,” Dad corrected her.

“Yeah,” Jared agreed, “you’re the one who’s always cold,” he laughed.

“Well then, there you go, so if Dad thinks it’s cold …”

“I’m not wearin’ that jumper!  Take it back an’ get your money back!  We’re not givin’ money to farmers!”

Everyone stopped eating.  Dad was not impressed.

“Luke Eugene Walker, how dare you speak to your mother like that?  Apologise right now!”  He spoke in that slow, quiet, angry way that meant you’d gone too far.  Luke realised he shouldn’t be taking it out on Mum.

“Sorry,” he said quietly, “but I don’t want you to pay money to sheep farmers.  I hate farmers!”

Mum’s response was gentle.

“Luke, clearly something has upset you, but the fact remains, as I told you, that wool isn’t cruel.  It doesn’t hurt them to be sheared.”

Luke tried to explain it to her in a way she would understand.

“It doesn’t make any difference,” he said, “they kill ’em anyway.”

“Not for wool they don’t.  They kill animals for leather but not for wool.”

“They kill ’em anyway,” Luke said again, “they make money out of ’em for wool; then they kill ’em and make money out of ’em for meat.  They kill ’em for money and they’re horrible, nasty, evil, criminal murderers and I don’t want you to give them any of our money!”

Nobody could argue with that.

“Okay,” said Mum, “I’ll take it back today.”

***

Joe gave Luke back the books and pens he’d left in his garden the day before.

“I forgot them last night,” he apologised.

“Me too,” said Luke, taking possession of three brand new, very soggy, text books, and two exercise books in which a lot of his work had dissolved.

“Put them on the radiator,” Joe suggested helpfully.

“Yeah,” said Luke.

The bell rang and they went their separate ways.

*******************************

The story concludes on Monday but if you don’t want to wait you can finish it here now 🙂

**********************************

vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, sheep, sheep farming, wool

A brilliant plan

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

On their way home from school Luke and Joe discussed the Christmas concert.

“I don’t wanna be in it,” said Joe.

“You could just ‘ave a small part,” Luke suggested, “then we’d be together.”

“Oh yeah,” said Joe, but his heart wasn’t in it.  He was terrified at the thought of being on stage; of being watched by people.  Luke sympathised and racked his brains for a way that Joe could be part of the production without actually having to be on stage.  Then it came to him.

“You could be the scenery painter!” he said with great satisfaction.  “Then you’d ‘ave to be there, paintin’ the scenes while we’re rehearsin’.  Then I could chat to you when it’s not my scene and I could help you.  I could fetch your pens and paints and brushes.  You could tell ’em I’m your assistant so they don’t send me back to lessons when it’s not my scene.”

It was a brilliant plan.  Joe was as happy about it as Luke.

They ducked into Joe’s house for sheep food.  His mum was in the kitchen.

“Hello Joe, oh, and hello Luke.  Are we returning the favour tonight then?” she asked.

“What d’you mean?” said Joe, trying to think of a way to entice her from the kitchen.

“Is Luke staying here for tea today?”

“Oh, er, no. Thank you,” said Luke, “I’ve jus’ come to borra somethin’.”

That gave Joe an idea.

“Yeah, I want to lend ‘im my book about trains,” he said, “ya know, the one Auntie Sue gave me.”

“Okay,” said his mum without looking up from the potatoes she was peeling.

“on’y,” said Joe, tentatively, “I don’t know where it is.  Could you find it for me?”

“Haven’t I got enough to do?” she said indignantly, “what else do you want – shall I tie your shoelaces? Shall I clean your teeth for you?”

Joe shook his head.

“Find it yourself you cheeky beggar!” she concluded, and that was that.

The boys stepped back outside.  It was no use.  She’d started the dinner which meant she’d be in there for at least another hour.

“Sorry,” said Joe, “we’ll have to get somethin’ from yours again.”

“There’s nothin’ left to take,” said Luke, “Mum said we’ll have to have tinned veg ’til she can get to the shops again and coz she thinks I took it for Curly and Squirt and the damsons – typical! They always blame me! – she won’t let me watch telly for a week!”

The boys looked at each other and thought hard.  There had to be a way to get something to eat for those poor starving sheep.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” said Luke, not for the first time.  Then he had a thought.  An idea.  A good one.  It might be tricky but it was do-able.

“Remember that farm behind the pony field, next to the rec?”

“Yes,” said Joe.

“They grow salads and things, in them plastic tunnels.”

“Mmm,” said Joe, nervously.

“So, I’ve seen ’em, them tunnels, all they ‘ave to do is water ’em twice a day.  The rest of the time there’s no one in ’em.”

“But they’ve got them big dogs,”

“Okay, well, we’ll take a couple o’ dog toys, and then you can distract …”

Joe shook his head.

“I don’t want to distract.”

“Okay, I’ll distract ’em and you can go into the tunnels to get the salad.”

“That’s stealin’.”

“To save lives!” Luke reminded him, “and anyway, they’ve prob’ly got hundreds o’ lettuces and cucumbers, they won’t miss a few.”

Taking Joe’s silence as tacit consent, Luke continued.

“First, we’ll go to mine to get the dog toys; and a bag; then we’ll go to the farm and I’ll climb in to play with the dogs; as soon as I’ve got their ‘ttention, you sneak into the …”

Joe laughed.

“What?” said Luke, annoyed that his great plan was a source of amusement.

“Look over there,” said Joe, pointing to the bottom of his garden.

There stood two heavily laden apple trees.

“Or,” said Luke, “we could take some apples.”

They emptied the contents of their school bags behind the water butt and replaced them with apples. With no time to lose, they headed to the muddy paddock.

*******************************

The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

**********************************

vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, sheep, sheep farming, wool

Make sure no one’s watching

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

When they got to the bus stop they stood under the shelter and looked carefully in every direction to make sure no one was watching.  Then they hurried across the road and emptied their bags into the muddy paddock.  The sheep didn’t trust the boys and they crowded against the opposite fence.

“These’ll give ’em water as well as food,” said Luke, “I hope they like ’em.”  He was a little disappointed that they didn’t seem too keen to tuck in.

“I think they’re frightened of us,” Joe suggested, “p’rhaps we should go back over the road and watch from there.”

Luke agreed and within a few minutes the sheep bravely and hungrily partook.  The boys were extremely relieved.

“That’s good,” said Joe, “we’ll jus’ feed ’em every day ’til they let ’em out.”

“Yeah, but tomorrow we’ll get the food from your house or my mum’ll catch on.”

“Okay.”

Then they went to visit Curly and Squirt, before popping in to Joe’s house to tell his mum that he was going to tea at Luke’s.

***

On Thursday Mr Beardsley said that Year 5 were going to be responsible for the Christmas concert this year.  He said they were going to put on a musical production of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

“… so for any of you who are aspiring singers or actors, the auditions are being held on Friday after school.”

This was interesting.  It was a good story.  The Muppet Christmas Carol was one of Luke’s favourite films.  He’d never thought of himself as an actor and the idea of performing did not really appeal to him. However, when Jared was in the school play a couple of years ago he said they had to rehearse so much that he missed loads of lessons.

“What parts?” he blurted out suddenly without thinking.  Mr Beardsley was writing on the board.

“I’m sorry?”

Luke felt a bit embarrassed.

“er, sorry, what parts are in the play?”

“Oh, er, well, lots.  Scrooge, Scrooge’s nephew, Bob Cratchit, the Spirits, Tiny Tim, …”

“They’re all boy parts,” said Tania Spriggs, one of the new girls.  She was understandably disgruntled.

“Oh, there’s lots of girls’ parts too,” said Mr Beardsley, trying to think of one. “Oh, er, there’s Mrs Cratchit, and er, the Cratchit daughters, and Scrooge’s sister, Scrooge’s nephew’s wife,” he was on a roll now.  But then he realised he wasn’t.  He couldn’t think of any more.

Tania huffed.

“The wife, the sister, the daughter!  All minor roles!” she said, dispirited, “I look forward to a school play with a strong female lead!”

“I tell you what, talk to Ms Robinson at the auditions.  She’s adapting the story into a script so I’m sure she’ll make sure there’s plenty of good roles to be had for both sexes.”

Luke gave it some more thought.  He liked the idea of being one of the spirits.  The really scary one.

Mr Beardsley resumed writing on the board.  Maths.  Again.  Luke pictured himself as the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.  He’d have a long, black, hooded cape; his face would be painted white with black cavernous eyes; he’d have sharp talons for fingernails and …

“Luke. What’s next?”

Luke, brought abruptly from his reverie, had no idea what was being asked of him.  His bewilderment was visible.  Mr Beardsley banged the pen on the board to draw Luke’s attention to the sum written there.

“Four thousand, two hundred and seventy nine divided by twenty two.  Long division.  Max did the first part.  What’s next?”

Luke shook his head.  He really hated it when someone interrupted his train of thought.  He was in the middle of something.  What was it?  He turned to ask Joe but Joe wasn’t there.  Oh yes, the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, that was the part for him.  Then he had another thought.  If Joe was in it too they’d be together again.  He wondered what part Joe would like.  Mr Beardsley moved on to Katia.  She didn’t know either.

*******************************

The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

**********************************

vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, sheep, sheep farming

Some calls may be recorded

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

“Oh no!  He prob’ly dint tell no one he’d locked the sheep up without food ‘n’ water, and if he’s dead, no one’ll know they’re here, and they’ll starve to death!”  His eyes were wide with alarm.

“Call the RSPCA!” said Joe suddenly, “this is cruelty to animals, lockin’ em up without food or water!  The RSPCA’ll rescue ’em!”

“Yesss!” said Luke and the two of them rushed back to his house.

Luke found the number in the phone book and decided, for privacy, to use the phone in his mum’s bedroom.  He put it on speaker so that Joe could hear.  It rang for a few seconds before being answered by a recorded message.

“Thank you for calling the RSPCA.  Please note some calls may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.  To proceed press 1 now.”

Luke pressed 1.

“Thank you.  Please say your postcode.”

Luke was flummoxed.

“What’s my postcode?” he mouthed to Joe.

Joe shrugged.

The recording tried again.

“Please say your postcode out loud or key it into the keypad.”

Luke pressed some random keys.

“Thank you.  Now please key in your house number.”

He pressed the seven and the one.

“Thank you.  Your address is 71 Broomhill Drive, Glasgow, Scotland.  If this is correct press 1; if this is incorrect press 2; press 3 to return to the main menu.”

Luke was exasperated.  No, it wasn’t correct but he wasn’t going to tell them that or he’d have to start all over again.  He pressed 1.

“Thank you.  Now say your name out loud.”

“Robin Locksley.”

“Thank you.  If you have called because of an animal in distress, please choose between the following options: If you’re worried about a dog in a hot car, press 1.  If you’ve found an abandoned …”

Luke threw his head back in frustration.

“We ‘aven’t got time for this!  Jus’ let me talk ta someone!”

“It’s a good job you’re not on a mobile,” Joe agreed, “Janet’s always runnin’ out of credit on hers.”

The machine listed several options before concluding with:

“For anything else, please hold for an operator.”

“Finally,” Luke mouthed and the ring tone began again.  After a minute or so, a live person answered.

“Thank you for calling the RSPCA.  How may I help you?”

“There’s some sheep locked in a muddy paddock with no food or water,” Luke told her.

“Are they in distress?”

“Wun’t you be distressed if you hadn’t eaten anythin’ for a whole day an’ night?  Or drunken anythin’?”

“It’s only been one day?”

“And a night.  More ‘n that now,” Luke said.

“Are they injured?  Do they look like they’ve been abused or neglected.”

“Well, no, they don’t seem to be injured.”

“I’m sorry but I don’t think any of our inspectors will come out if they’re not injured or in distress.”

“They haven’t had anythin’ to drink or eat since yesterday! They’re really hungry and they’re locked in there!  You’ve got to let ’em out!”

“I’m sorry.  Perhaps you can ask the farmer to check on them.  Do you know who the sheep belong to?”

“We think the farmer might be dead.”

“Who are you talking to?” Mum stood in the doorway.

Luke disconnected the call.

“Nobody.  We was jus’ pretendin’,” he thought it best not to involve Mum.

“I heard a woman’s voice.  Who were you talking to?” she persisted.

“Somebody.  Don’t matter who.”

“I beg your pardon? You’re in my room, using my phone and I insist you tell me who you were speaking to!”

Luke looked momentarily at the floor and then back at her.

“Joe’s mum,” he lied again, “she said Joe could stay for tea.  We’re goin’ to check on Curly and Squirt.”

Mrs Walker decided to pretend she believed him.

“Okay,” she consented, “back by six please.  And in future, ask before you use the phone.”

While Mum stayed in her room to sort the laundry, Luke and Joe rushed downstairs.

“We’ll feed ’em ourselves!” Luke decided.

He handed a shopping bag to Joe and opened the fridge.  Luckily, Mum had just been shopping.

“Take these,” he said, “and these, and these,” and he handed him about twenty carrots, two cucumbers, a cabbage, a lettuce and sixteen apples.  The bag was heavy.  Luke grabbed another one to share Joe’s burden and they left.

*******************************

The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

**********************************

vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, sheep, sheep farming

At the end of the day …

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from last Friday:

*******

At the end of the day Luke couldn’t find Joe so he walked home alone feeling very sorry for himself.  Then he saw something which took his mind off it.  Across the road sheep were being rounded up with two dogs and a quad bike.  They looked scared and tried to run in all directions but the dogs and the motorbike kept heading them off so that in the end they had no choice but to enter a fenced paddock at the edge of the field.  Unlike the grassy field, this paddock was nothing but mud.  There was nothing to eat and nothing to drink.  Luke watched from the bus shelter as the quad bike rider locked the gate, ordered the dogs onto the back of the bike, and then rode away.  When they were out of sight Luke went over to the sheep.  There were thirty or forty of them who recoiled as he approached.  Luke wanted to release them but wondered if he should.  He couldn’t understand why the farmer would lock them in there like that without even a water trough, but maybe the sheep needed some medicine that had to be taken on an empty stomach.  It would be wrong to act without knowing all the facts.  He felt it best to come back and check on them later and decide then what to do.

***

Luke opened the back door, dropped his book bag on the kitchen floor, kicked off his shoes and reached for the biscuit tin.

“Erm, did you forget something?” said Mum, suddenly appearing from the pantry.

Luke stuck his feet back in his shoes and shuffled them out of the kitchen.

“Sohhy,” he said, his mouth full of gingernut.

“Don’t tread the heels down!” she reminded him wearily, “and that’s not what I meant.”

He looked back, confused, and then noticed his book bag.

“Sorry,” he said again, picked it up and started to walk away.

“That’s not what I meant,” she said again, in a sort of sing-songy tone of voice.

Luke stood still.  He was tired.  It had been a long day.  Could she not just tell him what she meant?  Did they have to go through this trial and error game every time?  He turned to look at her.

“What?” he asked, “what did you mean?”

Mum gave him a look which meant he should modify his look.  He did.  Then she told him.

“Shouldn’t you ask before you take a biscuit?”

“Can I have a biscuit please?”

“You may have two biscuits,” she said smiling, “how was your first day back?  Did you like your new teacher?”

Luke slumped into a chair in the dining room.

“He’s alright,” he said unenthusiastically.

“He?  I thought you’d be with Ms Robinson this year.”

“Yeah.  So did I.”

“So, how come you’re not?  Who are you with?  Mr Green?”

“No.  A new one.  Mr Beardsley.”

“Oh.  What’s he like?”

Luke appreciated his mother’s interest but really wasn’t in the mood to recap the day’s events.

“He’s alright,” he said again, “I’ve got to do me homework,” and he lifted himself sluggishly from the chair and headed upstairs to cover his new books.

***

On Wednesday afternoon Luke was able to find Joe at the end of school.

“What’s it like in Muz Robinson’s class?” he asked jealously.

“‘s’alright,” said Joe.

Luke was surprised to get such a tepid response but realised that Joe was just being considerate, not wanting to rub it in.  He appreciated that and gladly changed the subject.

“We need to go home by the main road,” he told his friend, “I’ve got to check on some sheep.”

When they got there Luke was very concerned to see they were just as he’d left them the day before.

“They must be so hungry,” he said, “and thirsty.”

The boys crossed the road.  Joe was equally worried.

“We should let ’em back into the field,” he suggested, “there’s grass; and a water trough.”

“Yeah, I think so too,” said Luke, “but I can’t open the gate coz o’ the padlock.”  He tugged pointlessly at the hardened steel lock.  “Where’s the farmer got to?  I thought he would ‘ave let ’em out by now.”

“P’rhaps he’s had an accident,” Joe said anxiously, “he might be dead!”

Luke hadn’t thought of that.

***********************************

The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

**********************************

vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, sheep, sheep farming