Cara (May 2012 – 5th May 2020)

Cara arrived at Eden twelve years ago, practically to the day. She was born one of triplet lambs and her mother couldn’t feed her. A local farmer gave her to Eden to be a friend to Bertie (Cara is the Irish word for friend). We had no idea then how good a friend she would become to us or how radically she would change our lives.

It was my observations of these two lambs that made me recognise that they have eyes, ears, a nose, and mouth and a brain like us. They have the same senses as us that enable them to feel. This is what we call sentience but at that time it was a simple dawning realisation that the animals we use as objects or resources, perceive and feel and are aware of themselves and of their lives. When I saw them jumping, springing on their long legs and so obviously enjoying their young lives at Eden, it occurred to me that they experience emotions just like us and that their lives matter to them as much as our lives matter to us. That was the beginning of a process of mental and moral examination that resulted in Eden being a vegan sanctuary and in setting up Go Vegan World. Indeed, it is this very simple educational tool of recognition of their sentience that informs and inspires our animal rights adverts and all our work.

Cara was our friend. She was always the first of her group to get up and greet us. She was also a friend to the other animals at Eden and she was a mother to Pip and Willow and grandmother to Florence and Sadbh, who were born at Eden, either accidentally or before we understood the problems of breeding.

Everyone loved Cara. She was intelligent, alert, curious, competent, gentle, and extremely affectionate.

She developed arthritis as a consequence of selective breeding for the animal flesh industry. We have been treating her weakening hip for years with the growing certainty that her time with us was limited. For months it has been our privilege to wait on her hand and foot with as much grain, ivy and freshly cut grass as she wanted because it was difficult for her to graze.

This weekend she couldn’t stand and it was time to say goodbye. I spent the morning with her, chatting to her, scratching her head and caressing her face. Apart from not being able to move, she was very relaxed and she ate all morning.

She went out like a light, as gently and gracefully as she lived.

She has left our hearts broken.

Photos: Agatha Kisiel & Clara Mozes