T is for Turkey

Turkey    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1. large originally American bird bred for food.  2. Its flesh.

Our definition:

  • Turkeys are known to exhibit over 20 distinct vocalisations.  Including a distinctive gobble, produced by males, which can be heard a mile away.
  • Individual turkeys have unique voices. This is how turkeys recognise each other.
  • Turkeys are intelligent and sensitive animals that are highly social. They create lasting social bonds with each other and are very affectionate, rather similar to dogs.
  • Turkeys have outstanding geography skills. They have the ability to learn the precise details of an area over 1,000 acres in size.
  • Like peacocks, male turkeys puff up their bodies and spread their elaborate feathers to attract a mate.
  • Baby turkeys (poults) flock with their mother all year.  Although wild turkeys roost in the trees, as poults are unable to fly for the first couple of weeks of their lives, the mother stays with them at ground level to keep them safe and warm until they are strong enough to all roost up in the safety of the trees.
  • Wild turkeys are able to fly at up to 55 mph for short distances. Most domestic turkeys however are unable to fly due to being selectively bred to be larger than would be suitable in wild circumstances.
  • The male is substantially larger than the female, and his feathers have areas of red, purple, green, copper, bronze, and gold iridescence. Female feathers are duller overall, in shades of brown and grey.
  • The area of bare skin on a turkey’s throat and head vary in colour depending on its level of excitement and stress.  When excited, a male turkey’s head turns blue, when ready to fight it turns red.

For the rest of the T page, click here; for the whole vegan dictionary click here 😀

20 Years of Hillside Animal Sanctuary

These guys are amazing.  Not only do they provide sanctuary for over 2000 rescued animals, they also do undercover investigations into farms which lead to the exposure of horrible cruelty and the prosecution of the perpetrators.  Take a look at what they’ve accomplished over the last 20 years and support them if you can 🙂

Click here for info about how you can help 🙂

Great News!

Halong Bay bears set for rescue

Following international pressure from animal lovers across the world, it has been announced that the Halong Bay bears can be rescued by Animals Asia.  Click here for the whole story,

and to get an idea about the amazing work that Animals Asia do, look at Layla 🙂

And here she is again, having grown quite a bit 🙂 :

G is for Greyhound


Jasmine the rescued greyhound with one of her many fostered youngsters. Click on the pic

Greyhound    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Slender swift dog used in racing.

Our definition:  Greyhounds are quiet, gentle, and loyal.  They are very loving and enjoy the company of their humans and other dogs.   Jasmine, a beautiful, rescued greyhound puppy who grew up to be a permanent resident at Nuneaton & Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary and an extremely well loved member of their team, is a perfect example of how loving these animals are.   Tragically so many gentle individuals like her are exploited and abused by the greyhound racing industry.

And the G g page is done! Click on the pic or go to the dictionary in the sidebar

And the G g page is done! Click on the pic or go to the dictionary in the sidebar

We interrupt this story to tell you about ….

The Hillside Animal Sanctuary Christmas Fayre this weekend!



If you live in Norfolk or the surrounding area I highly recommend you pop over to Hillside’s Shire Horse Sanctuary for a lovely day out and a chance to help the animals with your Christmas shopping.  Hillside is a fantastic charity which not only provides sanctuary for over 2000 formerly abused or neglected animals, they also do in depth investigations into animal abuse so that perpetrators can be prosecuted.

And they need all the help we can give them, so have a great day out helping the animals that need you – get over to Hillside at the weekend.

Have fun 😀

“Pay, I say pay attention boy!”

Hey boy!  Pay attention to me when I'm talkin' to ya!

Hey boy! Pay attention to me when I’m talkin’ to ya!

What, I say what's the big idea?  Don't stand there gawkin' woman!

What, I say what’s the big idea? Don’t stand there gawkin’ sister!

Nice girl, but more mixed up than a feather in a whirlwind!

Nice girl, but more mixed up than a feather in a whirlwind!

Pay attention to me boy!  I'm not just talkin' to hear my head roar!  Get down, I say get down to Raystede and support the good work they're doin'!  Any of this sinkin' in???

Pay attention to me boy! I’m not just talkin’ to hear my head roar! Get down, I say get down to Raystede and support the good work they’re doin’! Any of this sinkin’ in???

Raystede: Giving animals a better life.

The Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare


At Raystede they rescue, rehome and provide sanctuary for more than 1500 animals each year.  It is free to visit almost every day of the year and very important to their work is their educational service, used by schools in East Sussex and beyond.  They also offer guidance to all ages on caring for animals.

They say: “Our Sanctuary, with its sizeable lakes, offers a safe haven for visiting waterfowl as well as for our chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. We also offer a lifelong home for goats, horses, ponies and donkeys which are no longer wanted.”

 Raystede map


This little person is named Sweetpea, and she is sooo friendly and gorgeous! You can see in the background the fields in which the goats can go to play.


So what do you like about me

Sweetpea again, what an adorable face!


What's that (2)

This is Toffee! Isn’t he a splendid gentleman? Here he is standing in front of the stables and next to the climbing frame.



Toffee again – here he is trying to reach for a piece of paper I am holding. I love his beard!


Reach! Now he’s going for my camera.

Thats it

Mmm! Tasty. He has a lovely soft tongue, he licked my fingers.

Well hello there

Hello there! Rocky is 7 years old. He likes people and scratching.


This is Lettie - she is taller than the other goats, so she can stand on her hind legs and eat off of the trees.  Isn't she so delightfully pretty?

This is Lettie – she is taller than the other goats, so she can stand on her hind legs and eat off of the trees. Isn’t she so delightfully pretty?


Lettie again, having a good back-rub on the side of the stable

Itchy scratchy

Snowdrop having a good scratch

This is where the goats live and spend a lot of their time.

This is where the goats live and spend a lot of their time.


Sadly, while they do a lot of good for some animals, Raystede sells meat, fish, eggs and dairy in their cafe, thus paying for a lot of animal suffering and encouraging their supporters to do the same.  A two year campaign of letter writing and a petition asking them to make their cafe vegan has received no response from those in charge who seem to think they are not answerable for the betrayal of their founder’s mission to make the world a better place for ALL animals.

The inspiration behind Clarence and Luca, Part 1

These are the lives which inspired the characters of Clarence and Luca.

First, Melvin.

I was fortunate in my research to come across the blog of Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary which contains some extremely moving accounts of the lives of their residents.  The writing is so evocative, and so moving that to paraphrase it would not do it justice so the story below is directly quoted, copied and pasted, from a post by Joanna Lucas at peacefulprairie.blogspot.co.uk

Melvin, rescued turkey at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

Melvin, rescued turkey at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

He was rescued from a local flesh farm and brought to Peaceful Prairie with his five brothers when they were all very young, barely four months old, still soft in their feathers and tender in their voices – 6 newborn planets wobbling in their axes, orbiting the grasslands and the ferns with a buoyancy in their round, befeathered selves that almost felt like laughter – and, for a brief time after their arrival at the sanctuary, that first Spring, Summer and Fall of freedom, they were grounded so firmly in the hope of things, the wings of things, the rapture of things, the giddy promise of things, the endless summer of things, that they seemed inextinguishable – 6 new suns, shining the warmth of their attention towards everything in their world with such constancy, such enthusiasm, such intensity, that it felt like love. 

Melvin and his brothers enjoying their freedom at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

Melvin and his brothers enjoying their freedom at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

Everything they could see, smell, touch, taste, hear was embraced as nothing less than an earthly delight: the salty-mossy-fruity-fenny-bitter-acrid-sweet scents of grasses, the hedgerows, and the grasslands, and the bogs, the ravishing rain, the mud-luscious puddles, the iridescent hues of feathers and of snow, the sap-oozing milkweeds, the languidly stretched fields, the knotted thickets of bramble, the sweet, sapid, scintillating sights, scents, sounds of life all around them, the very dirt under their feet, and everyone walking on it. But almost as soon as they entered this welcoming world, it started to ebb away from them. Imperceptibly at first, but then faster and faster, harder and harder, punishing them where it had rewarded, pummeling them where it had caressed.

As Melvin, George, Stanley, Alfred, Elmer and Archie became progressively crippled, their genetically manipulated bodies growing around them like tumors, engulfing them in their grip, crushing themselves under their own weight, suffocating, choking, destroying themselves in the name of our “turkey dinners”, their ability to participate in life diminished and, with it, so did their openness to its gifts. Their daily cavalcades into the open fields became slower and slower, shorter and shorter, fewer and fewer, and then, eventually, not at all: George, Stanley, Alfred, Elmer and Archie died one by one, and, with each of them, a whole world of consciousness, memories, yearnings, everything each of them knew and remembered ceased to exist with him, the face of each, the scent of his body, his enthusiasm, his intelligence was gone with him.

After each loss, Melvin’s own light dimmed, as if disconnected from a power source. And, as the burden of sorrows, ailments and age accumulated, it took him longer and longer to return to bold, brilliant, demanding life.

But he always did. He lifted himself from sadnesses that grew deeper and deeper with each new loss, and he embarked again on his long, burning journeys all the way from his barn to the trailer, where the visitors were, and resumed the bruising, exhilarating toil of following them around, wheezing and coughing, his lungs and heart barely keeping up with his giant body, his legs deformed under its weight. He dragged himself back to the world he loved – improbable and sublime, like a house on legs, like a ship on dry sand – and savored each of its dwindling gifts: straw-scented shade, sweet grass and cracked corn, Shylo’s friendship, Chris’ voice, Michele’s presence, visitors he had charmed, and visitors he had yet to enchant. And he loved life with all her faults, and forgave her many trespasses.

Then, one day, he did not. When Shylo, his last remaining friend, died he isolated himself in the back of the barn and refused to leave. Morning after morning, the gates would fling open and everyone would rush out to greet the day, but Melvin did not. He remained rooted in the same dark spot and refused to leave. He did not move, he did not turn, he did not look away from the wall. 

Day after day, we’d find him in the same secluded nook, alone, listless, expecting nothing, demanding nothing, taking everything without joy, interest or protest, as though it was all happening to someone else. And nothing, not the promise of treats, nor the presence of visitors, nor any of the things he had so relished, could make him want to leave his self-imposed exile. If we hadn’t physically carried him outside, he would have remained in exactly the same spot, staring at the wall in front of him from morning till night, his back turned to the world he had so loved.

He shut the world out with such finality that he seemed more crushingly, more irrevocably gone than Shylo himself. That mysterious something that had resurrected him before, that obscure and irrepressible something that had restored his great broken heart so many times before, seemed irretrievable now. His body slumped, his eyes drained of light, his spirit wilted. He stopped preening, he stopped communicating, he stopped showering the world with his rapt attention, he stood there silent and still, anchored in place by a sort of strange devotion, as if waiting for something, an end or a return. him inside the house. And that’s where he still is today, sharing his shriveled world with the shut-ins, the frail, the old, the ill, the crippled who are there for a while or for the rest of their lives. Not much has changed. Despite the constant care and attention, he is still withdrawn, still solitary, still uncommunicative, still reluctant to move.

Except on Sundays. 

On Sundays, he stirs before everyone else, aflutter with his old excitement, anticipating something good, and already singing to this good thing, strutting for it, trilling turkey tunes to it – a big, crippled bird, dancing for joy when he can barely walk, trumpeting for joy when he can barely breathe. Acting as if the lost world of green fields, endless summers, thriving tribe of turkey toms was there again, swaggering about the room with laughter about him, displaying his plumage in a magnificent show of glistening feathers, hoisting his aching body across the room, dragging himself on swollen joints, covering the 20 long, painful steps from the kitchen to the front door, waiting, stirring, shimmering, shuffling his feet, atwitter with expectation, until he finally hears the sound he’s been waiting for: Ruth’s car pulling into the driveway.

Then he kicks the door with his left foot and demands something he vehemently rejects the rest of the time: to go out. We open the door and he swaggers out in the yard in full parade gear, his wattle quickened scarlet, his tail fanned out like a triumphal chariot wheel, his neck arched like a rainbow, his wings stretched all the way to the ground and held taut with robust, muscular grace. Ruth is here! And he acts as though the miraculous, spellbinding, rapturous days of his youth are back again, alive and present with the rich, red pulse of life – not remembered like a story, but felt, known, believed like a scent, like bread baking. Ruth is here! And he follows her around, quivering and shaking on gouty legs, and issuing forth a most astonishing array of flowing sounds punctuated by percussive feather pops in the tips of his wings, his burdened heart all aglow, his lungs filled not with mere oxygen but with something else, something imperious, something invincible, a force, not a substance – a shot of livingness straight into the throbbing heart with all its folly, wisdom, ache and yearning to be nothing but loved. 

By evening, Ruth has come and gone for another week and Melvin is still abuzz, ablaze, abloom with the swarm of the day, and relives it well into the night. Of all the people he sees every day, of all the souls he shares the house with, of all the volunteers gracing the sanctuary every week, only Ruth sweetens his heart till it remembers life’s most beautiful song – is! is! is!

Melvin and Ruth at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

Melvin and Ruth at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

Thank you to all who work at and support Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary and to Joanna Lucas for her amazing eloquence.

If you haven’t considered giving up meat before, please consider it now in the light of the knowledge that the individuals slaughtered for your plate feel and love as you do.


rescued goose

Written by Cheryl Bernstein (Gauteng, South Africa)

It was a hot summer Sunday and my husband and I decided to take our two grandchildren with their bicycles for a ride around our local lake.  Of course, a visit to the lake wouldn’t be the same without taking brown bread and feeding the multitude of ducks and geese that inhabit the lake and its island. There are probably around 200 geese and ducks at the lake. They are all hungry, surviving only on the grass that surrounds the lake.

My two grandchildren, armed with their packets of bread, began feeding the geese and were soon overwhelmed as the birds left the water and surrounded them, squaking and grabbing bread out their hands. Then, in the midst of all the noise, feathers, ducks and geese swimming about, swam a tiny, yellow gosling.

He could not have been more than two days old. He was desperate for something to eat and tried to grab a crumb or two of bread from the water, but the adult geese would have none of it. They pecked his tiny head and some even tried to push his head underwater. He tried to get away and climbed out onto a rock. I walked down to the water’s edge and grabbed him. Immediately, he put his tired little head onto my shoulder and closed his baby eyes. He was exhausted.  I felt his crop and it was empty. His tiny body was just skin, bone and fluffy down. This baby was starving.

My husband, the children and I decided to walk around the lake and look for other families of geese who had goslings to which this baby may belong. We walked and searched in the reeds for about an hour, eventually realizing this baby was abandoned and alone. We decided to take him home and raise him.  I made a gruel of finely grated carrots, carrot tops, celery tops, mashed duck pellets, crushed fresh corn and water, but the gosling didn’t recognize this as food and would only eat tiny crumbs of bread. This isn’t a balanced diet for a water bird.

I had done some years of bird rehabilitation in the past and I knew how to tube feed a bird, so I found the bird hand rearing mixture and tubed him. I then put him in a basket with a hot pad, and he fell asleep, cuddled on top of a fluffy toy I had given him for comfort.

The days passed in a blur of feeding, talking to and raising Goose. I sat with him for hours talking to him and pointing out juicy patches of grass to him. Goose grew big and strong, started eating on his own and his fluffy down was soon replaced with magnificent white feathers. His voice grew from a squeak to a squak and I watched with pride, as he developed into a beautiful bird. The intention was always to release him back onto the lake.

He had imprinted on me and would not let me out of his sight. When I was doing chores in the house, there was Goose — often lying down on the carpet and falling asleep until I was finished.

He followed me into the bathroom and when I showered he showered too with the little droplets of water that landed on his feathers.  He discovered TV and watched with his head to the side. When he got bored, he waddled outside to the pond where he declared his total ownership of the water and would not allow the other ducks to use it. He was very grumpy when he couldn’t get into the house and be with me, and would squak loudly and jabber in a grumpy goose voice till I came out again.

He loved his food and when I brought out his dish, he ran up and down the garden, wings out, screaming with delight. He particularly loved watermelon, and he got a quarter every day. At night, he would sleep outside against my glass bedroom door, chipping to me all night, just letting me know he was there. But come morning he would tap at the glass to be let in.

Decision day came about Goose’s future. I visited the lake again and was really sad to see hardly any geese or ducks on the lake. They had almost all been culled. There was a sinking pit in my stomach knowing that Goose could have been killed in that cull too. Releasing him back onto the lake would spell certain death for him in many ways, mainly being that he would likely be caught up in the next year’s cull. Besides, he was used to being fed a good diet regularly, and didn’t live mainly off grass. He wouldn’t be able to find food for himself.

He was a happy bird, strong and lively, and had the run of a very big garden and pond. But something was missing from his life – and that was companionship. So one night my husband brought home a big cardboard box and inside was the answer to our prayers. A big, beautiful grey female goose. At first Goose showed no interest, nipping her and chasing her. But she was persistent and followed him everywhere, and she eventually won him over with her charm.

Today, Goose is a happy and healthy goose, king of the garden and his duck herd which consists of his lady goose and two ducks,  who follow him around. He knows his feeding times and calls me loudly if I am a minute late with his food. He still comes into the house and plods after me, he sleeps as near as he can to me at night, on the step of my glass bedroom door, and chirps to me. He is probably bigger than most geese due to a balanced diet and regular food.

I visited the lake again on the weekend, and there are hardly any geese on the lake. As much as I would have liked to see Goose on a lake with his own kind, he is loved and cared for in my garden — and much more than that, he is safe.

He will live out a long and fulfilled life, with no threat to his life, ever.

rescued goose

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/starving-baby-goose-falls-in-love-with-his-rescuer.html#ixzz2mosrMlJA