Open rescue reported by Igualdad Animal (click here for a photo gallery from the action):
"Various activists from the Animal Equality Open Rescue Team have entered a farm in Catalonia which exploits sheep and lambs for meat, milk and wool, to rescue three animals from their state of exploitation and pending death sentences.
After having inspected the farm several days beforehand – that same morning we witnessed a lorry taking away scores of sheep to the slaughterhouse – and already having set up a suitable place for the animals to be rescued, we risked our freedom that night to help other animals, believing as we do that justice and solidarity with others does not depend upon species.
We decided to rescue a mother that we found penned-in together with her two newborn lambs, with their umbilical cords still attached. Taking advantage of the fact that they were separated from the others, it was easy to pick up the mother and carry her towards a waiting van that we had parked alongside. Although she was initially anxious – perhaps worried that we would hurt her or her children – once in our arms, she remained still and let us move her without any problems. Her lambs, carried in the arms of Sonia and Ivan, were reunited with her moments later. A few hours later they arrived at their secure home where they will now be safe from harm. We removed the ear tag from the mother that had marked her as human property and we watched as she adapted to her new home.
It is no surprise to learn that the consumption of lamb's flesh, sheep's milk or sheep's hair (wool) has terrible consequences for the sheep and lambs that are denied their freedom, mutilated, separated from their families and often forced to live in deplorable conditions, before finally having their throats cut in the slaughterhouse. That's why Animal Equality urges you to reject the consumption of animal products and go vegan, including using clothes made without the fur, skin or hair of other animals.
Nana, the mother sheep we rescued, would have had to suffer, as a “breeding ewe”, the terrible experience of being separated from her offspring over and over again. The successive pregnancies that she was subjected to would have always been followed by the almost immediate separation from her lambs - those children that she loved and tried to protect since birth.
Although we don't often think about it, humans are not the only animals that suffer when they are forcibly separated from their offspring. Sheep are social animals who form strong emotional bonds with each other, and their lives, and the relationships that they establish, are as important to them as ours are to us. In addition to the suffering and anguish she had to go through from these separations, she was mutilated – without anaesthetic – when her tail was cut off along with several vertebrae at the same time, and with the goal of easy identification her ear was also cut lengthways with a blade as can be seen in the photographs.
Her offspring would not have been any more fortunate. The female lamb may have gone on to experience the chamber of horrors set up by humans for “breeding ewes” as a means to obtain more victims. Her brother, once he reached 22 kilos, would be separated from his family and packed into a lorry to be sent on a journey of some hours to a regional slaughterhouse. Once there, and surrounded by other frightened lambs bleating for their mothers in search of her protection – as has been witnessed and recorded by Animal Equality – he would receive kicks and blows to force him to move forward with the others towards his executioner. All this time he would be able to see how one by one the rest of his group were led away. He would be able to see them struggling for their lives and hear them bleating while they were shackled and hoisted upside down, and see and smell the powerful odour of blood as it began to cover everything.
The slaughterhouse worker, tired after hours of killing, would not bother to stun him and would hang him by one of his legs with a chain to hoist him upside down, until robotically, he would be stuck in the throat with a knife and left to bleed to death over several minutes.
Fortunately, neither Nana nor her two offspring, will have to go through any of this. Now they are living in a safe refuge being cared for by responsible people who will ensure they have a full, happy life.
Nana is a mother in every sense of the word. She spends her life concerned for her two lambs (a boy and a girl), watching their movements and calling to them when they wander too far. They cannot contain their excitement to explore the world they have so recently entered. They are at the moment in which their desire to feel protected at their mother's side is starting to be overcome by the curiosity they have for everything around them that grabs their attention. If we mimic their bleating – something we especially love to do – despite having such a different appearance to them, they can't avoid coming closer, intrigued by the call, but always under the watchful eye of their mother, who has already started to trust us.
Now that the most intense moments for everyone have passed, we are satisfied to see them at peace, far from the horrors that awaited them– and that their mother already had to face. Unfortunately, many more ewes, rams and lambs will not have this opportunity. If we consider that, according to the Ministry of the Environment, and Rural and Marine Affairs, in Spain alone more than 13 million sheep and lambs are killed every year - without counting those that die before reaching the slaughterhouse – it might seem that rescuing two lambs and one sheep is something symbolic that at the end of the day will not change anything. Even though there are reasons we cannot ignore the tragic reality, at Animal Equality we believe that we ought not to forget that each animal is an individual, a someone. For these animals, the change in their fate caused by being rescued from a centre of exploitation in which they were prisoners, is total. For her or him, we are dealing with, quite literally, the difference between life and death.