This is Autumn. She was recently rescued from a factory farm and is only now experiencing life's simple joys for the very first time.
Autumn is quiet, but when she chirps, she sounds like a baby. She never knew her mother, but constantly seeks comfort and protection from those around her.
Until recently, the only life she knew was inside the walls of a factory farm. She never saw the sun. She had no room to move, and lay in faeces covered litter every hour of every day.
Autumn was valued only for how much meat she could produce. Her body was bred to grow many times faster than nature intended. At just 30 days old, she already carries the weight of an adult, and struggles to walk.
Chickens like Autumn are not designed to live past six weeks. Soon Autumn is likely to succumb to lameness or heart failure. But in her last weeks or months, she is discovering what brings joy and meaning to her life. Her eyes close in delight whenever the sun hits her face. She has developed a profound love for watermelon. Yesterday, she learned to dust bathe...
She enjoys time with her feathered companions. In fact, she becomes distressed if she and her best friend Summer lose sight of one other.
Last week the chickens Autumn grew up with were packed into crates and trucked to slaughter. This week they will be on supermarket shelves.
Autumn lives on, and if you share this, so will her story.
She is someone, not something.
Thanks to Tamara Kenneally Photography for providing Autumn's photo and providing sanctuary for her to live out her life in peace. And thanks to you, for caring. Every meal is a choice. Animals like Autumn are depending on us to make compassionate ones.
UPDATE: Sadly, Autumn passed away in late July. Rescued and given a loving home, her last weeks of life were filled with
simple joys that most chickens are never given the chance to discover. Brought into this world only two months ago, trapped in
a body that was designed not to sustain life, but to grow unnaturally
fast. She was just one of millions who grow up in factory farms across
Australia. Farewell Autumn.
Meet Olivia. Not only is she absolutely adorable in a way that only bunnies can be, she is also extremely lucky. She was recently rescued from a rabbit factory farm with 300 of her friends, who are probably right now having the mother of all parties at Big Ears Sanctuary.
Olivia has taken to exploring the nooks and crannies of the sanctuary.
Tommy has discovered the joys of burrowing and rolling around in dirt.
Goofy, living up to his name, as he plays with a turkey feather.
Roger is a friendly and inquisitive bunny, eager to meet visitors to the sanctuary.
Free at last! Relaxing in the sun and enjoying grass under their feet for the first time.
Sweetie needed to have an abscess removed from her head, but is recovering well.
Apple: Her leg abscess has kept her indoors. But not for long.
Like all rabbits in factory farms, Olivia was not able to enjoy the simple pleasures of rabbit life such as burrowing and was forced to toilet in the same space that she lived.
Respiratory diseases have been reported to kill as many as 30-50% of rabbits in factory farms in Australia.
Olivia and the other rescued rabbits had been confined in tiny wire cages, similar to the ones battery hens are kept in. In these conditions rabbits suffer from all kinds of health problems and injuries. They're eventually then killed and sold as meat. They're not given the space or opportunity to do rabbit-y things like exploring, making friends, digging, eating fresh grass and annoying Elmer Fudd.
When news spread earlier this year that a rabbit farm in Tasmania was for sale, Big Ears Animal Sanctuary, Radical Rabbit and Freedom for Farmed Rabbits hatched a plan to save the rabbits from slaughter or being sold onto another farm. They teamed up to purchase Olivia and her 300 bunny buddies. Then began the huge task of treating the sick and injured and getting them all to their new home at Big Ears Sanctuary.
Olivia and her floppy-eared friends are now experiencing the great freedom of the outdoors. They're also enjoying nestling into the laps of anyone who visits them. Yep, I'm thinking the same thing as you - what's the absolute quickest way to get myself to Big Ears Sanctuary!?
Factory farmed rabbits in Australia suffer much of the same cruel treatment as their carrot-loving cousins in Europe. Compassion in World Farming (a colleague group of Animals Australia) recently completed their investigation into the reality of rabbit farming across Europe. It doesn't make for pleasant viewing.
While you and your mates perhaps can't scrape together enough dosh to buy up old rabbit farms, you can make a difference to rabbits stuck in the same situation as Olivia was. By being kind to bunnies, rejecting factory-farmed, and choosing cruelty-free alternatives you can help ensure rabbits like Olivia live a natural, happy and full life.
If you think Olivia's story is better than Peter Rabbit's and Brer Rabbit's COMBINED, then you'll probably wanna head straight to this website (www.bigearsanimalsanctuary.com/rabbit-rescue.php) where you will spend the next half hour having your heart melted by adorable photos of fuzzy bunnies. Fact.
As Australians, we love the underdog. We cheer on the unlikely hero, hoping they'll overcome all odds, and get the happy ending they deserve. When I heard of the mass cow breakout in Broome earlier this week, there was part of me that couldn't help but cheer the heroes on.
Of course, I realise that when cows are on the loose their own welfare is at risk. But sadly, where they were headed before they escaped was likely to be much worse. And their dash for freedom was a little reminder that if animals had a choice, there would be no live exports and no slaughterhouses.
Broome is an absolutely beautiful place. Unfortunately it's also a loading port for Australian cattle being sent overseas. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that animals who are exported don't have much to look forward to. The journey is stressful enough, but even that doesn't compare to being slaughtered fully conscious in a country with no animal cruelty laws. (btw, you can help end the trade with just 30 seconds of your time).
Now, cows aren't dumb, so it's no big surprise that some of them made a daring moo-ve (awful pun, sorry) to escape. In a stirring moment, around 50 of the bovine rebels made a break for it! Some dashed inland, some headed to the coast.
This story of animals making a break for freedom is one that occurs many times throughout the year. Sometimes the lucky escapees even get to live full, contented lives on sanctuaries. This particular incident is tinged with sadness though. Of the cows that escaped, 16 headed out to sea, with only seven able to be rescued. The rest drowned.
On the flip side, around 20 of the "Friesian Fighters" (a nice pun for the cow fanciers out there) are still livin' large, roaming the scrublands around Broome! How long they'll be free for is anyone's guess, but I've got my fingers crossed that they never again see the inside of a truck, ship or slaughterhouse.
Maybe the Broome escapees had found inspiration in this song?
n.b. Of course, I'm not suggesting that cows be armed with rifles. That would be ridiculous -- like suggesting that 12 year olds be allowed to go hunting by themselves (or tbh ... at all!). That'd be nuts! Oh wait ...
We’re supposed to let you know that the ideas expressed here are the views of the individual authors, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Animals Australia or Animals Australia Unleashed. So now you know.