Straight from our Articles of Incorporation:
RescEwe’s purpose is to provide rescue, sanctuary, rehabilitation, and rehoming of abused, neglected, or abandoned sheep, or other farm animals, and to further the welfare of, and prevent cruelty to, sheep and other farm animals through education of the public… Animals in our program would ideally have been removed from a situation of abuse, neglect or abandonment by law officials, or voluntarily surrendered by owners incapable of appropriate care of said animals.
This all came about from seeing the pleas for help on behalf of abused or neglected sheep across our nation, and a feeling that even though there are very few cases reported in our region, there may be more than reported. When we researched a bit, we found that there was no rescue group working with sheep in our area. There were local groups working with horses, goats, and pigs, but sheep had been overlooked. When talking to professionals working with sheep and wool, we heard over and over again that there was a need for a sheep sanctuary. This feedback led us to believe they were seeing things that we did not, and that there really was a need. Even if there was no current need , there should be a rescue organization in place if the need arises. So we were formed.
The progress has been slow but fairly steady, our goal from the beginning was to found a rescue/sanctuary that will be relevant, stable and robust. We want it to outlive all of us.
It has been an odd and guarded type of acceptance we have received. Many find it odd for us to be trying to help sheep, animals that have a long history of being on the menu or worse. One of our anonymous benefactors, when we first explained our purpose, and the plight of abused and neglected sheep, replied, “Take them to the butcher.” However, that same person has repeatedly donated grazing land for us to use. There is something about seeing grazing sheep, that people enjoy and find fulfilling. We have walked a fine line trying to be the organization we are, and still work with commercial agriculture, and animal rescue groups.
It has been awkward to say the least, to deal with commercial agriculture. They fully expect us to be carrying hidden video cameras, and lying about their operations. We have felt from the beginning that we can do more for sheep as a whole by working with the commercial shepherds, than against them. The lamb mortality statistics out of Australia bear this out. The producers, together with the Australian people have made great strides in reducing this tragedy in their country. There are still things that need fixing, but a problem was identified, remedies found, and then the life of many sheep got a little bit better. Similar tragedies are happening in the US, but there are no accepted verifiable statistics on it, so we have no idea how prevalent it is beyond anecdotal evidence. Additionally, here are many sheep that fall though the cracks in the commercial realm, and their plight typically goes unrecognized. By giving the majority of producers credit for being good people that care about their animals, we can build strong bridges.
On the opposite side of the street, we have had a problem being accepted by other sanctuaries, and rescues because unlike most sanctuaries and rescues, we are not exclusively vegan, and do not actively promote a vegan lifestyle. In fact, before we started RescEwe, One of our shepherds wanted to adopt two sheep in need from an established rescue. They were disqualified for adoption, simply because they were not a vegan. At RescEwe we do not believe that a shepherd’s diet should keep needy sheep from a good caring home. That kind of policy assumes that omnivores are as a whole untrustworthy, and can not be trusted with pets. Taken to the absurd extreme, one could argue that an animal shelter should only send dogs and cats to vegan households. A person can be trustworthy and caring regardless of what their diet consists of, and we refuse to discriminate against anyone that cares about sheep. That is why our educational purpose is about educating shepherds to better care for their flocks. If they happen to be vegan, good. If they are not vegan, just as good. Diet is as irrelevant as race, gender, or religion in deciding who will make a good shepherd. We just want them to be good people that take good care of their sheep.
RescEwe continues to search the light and dark corners, looking for sheep in need, and finding ways to help them. We are committed to the good of all sheep, not just the ones in our flock. However, without you, RescEwe can not continue to help sheep in need, or grow in order to help even more. If you would join with us in this worthwhile cause, consider volunteering. If you can not volunteer, or even if do volunteer, consider praying for us. Pray that we are effective in our mission, and continue to grow. That my friends, is how together we will change the world.