We often hear people comment that nothing heralds Spring like the sight of new born lambs. But a field of sheep and lambs is one of the saddest possible sights because those lambs lying close to their protective mothers or running and jumping with the sheer happiness of life, have been brought into existence to be killed.
Harming a defenceless lamb and killing them for profit is despicable. So, it is very easy to blame farmers. But they are meeting a demand for flesh and wool created by people who are not vegan. Farmers always defend their work by referring to ‘animal welfare’. So, let’s look at what animal welfare means.
Animal welfare is an industry term that defines the standard, legal practice by which animals are bred, confined, mutilated, separated from their children and families, have their eggs and milk taken from them, and are killed for profit. Look a little closer at those apparently idyllic scenes on farms around the country and the violence we perpetrate soon shows its ugly face before they are even loaded on the slaughterhouse truck.
For example, tail docking is routinely carried out on young lambs. It is one of several ‘animal welfare’ practices that involve mutilation of animals who share our capacity to perceive pain. In this case, a rubber ring is put so tightly around the spinal column of the lamb’s tail that it cuts through the skin, cuts off the blood flow and destroys the tail.
Lambs wag their tails vigorously as a form of communication with their mothers, especially when they are suckling. As tail docking is known to cause pain, it is pitiful to know that such a joyful instinct causes pain.
When young lambs come to a sanctuary like Eden, we become their surrogate mothers. They imprint on us and get their sense of safety, security and nurturing in the world through their interactions with us and with their sheep friends. If possible, we remove the rubber rings as soon as the lambs come to us. While I was feeding Sophie this week, she was wagging her little tail in satisfied happiness when it fell off.
Fields are littered with the mutilated tails of lambs just like Sophie all over the world. But unlike Sophie, whose right not to be used or killed is respected at a vegan sanctuary, they will soon lose their lives too, brutally, and unnecessarily.
There are many excellent sources of information on why we should be vegan. Check them out today.
Photos: Agatha Kisiel