"I realised that a bit of elbow grease and sweat could make a difference" Angela
Volunteer Angela loves her idea that she is making a difference for farmed animals. She describes how she came to volunteer below.
"I first met FAR President Brad about eight years ago – a friend told me about a talk he was conducting at Brisbane city library, so I went along and heard all about this sanctuary he'd set up near Dayboro. He spoke with great passion about things I felt strongly about, and I just thought, "Fair play that man – he's doing something I haven't got the guts to do". I think I must have started following him on Facebook, or checked out the website, something like that, and not too long afterwards visited the sanctuary. I have a terrible memory, so I can't remember whether we (my partner Gary and I) went on a tour or just signed up to help. I know it was very early on that we helped to clear the lower paddock of a dreadful weed that was taking over the pasture.
I also went along to hear James Aspey conduct a talk at the sanctuary not too long after he completed his year of silence. It was inspiring to be a little part of what felt like action... in amongst it, as it were.
I started to volunteer through guilt, I suppose, at what so many animals suffer (and have suffered for my choices in the past)! I could see this was an initiative that needed help to keep saving more and more animals, and it felt amazing to be able to do something to physically help out animals that had escaped the hell of factory farming.
My partner Gary and I met Mary and Oliver and Joshua, and Bubble and Squeak, and fell madly in love and just wanted to help in some small way to ensure their lives could carry on being happy and free. And it was clear that it didn't really matter that I wasn't skilled in anything physical. Just a bit of sweat and elbow grease could make a difference, or helping out on the till, or directing cars on tour days.
What I love best about my work is knowing it helps, even just a little bit, all those beautiful animals to live out their lives free from suffering. And when you're helping out at the sanctuary, you get to spend time with some of them, and that's such a privilege. I've also enjoyed being able to use my professional skills in a very small way to help out, with a bit of leaflet production and a bit of editing.
It's also great to meet so many people prepared to give their time up (no matter how little) to help animals. It restores your faith in humans a little.
Sometimes I struggle when looking at the animals, and I can't stop my mind flashing back to what they've been through. And when I was producing the set of flyers and posters detailing the abuses suffered by the different types of animals, it was hard because it's all just so horrific to think about and see in imagery and audio visual. I had to bring myself back to the now, and watch them living in their happy place.
And I just wish I had a spare million dollars to give to FAR and make things a bit easier for everyone. But I don't!
I love this gorgeous photograph of Cale, when he was a tiny calf, licking my partner, Gary's face. I think Cale is awesome.
I love the big boss bovine Murray. Oliver the goat also held a very special place in my heart and it was so sad when he died. Mary, too – she was the matriarch and it just felt wrong without her there. Plus Heather, of course – she's an absolute legend! I've always related to her huffy nature, though she's not as grumpy now as she once was, I understand.
There was a hen called Becky who sat on my lap for ages one day, and she was just so sweet.
I think I don't necessarily look like the "stereotypical" vegan. And I'm pretty grumpy, so I think people are always surprised that I care about animals. Gary and I foster dogs at home, and that always seems to surprise people.
I'd like to be able to do more to help FAR, but even just a little bit is better than nothing, so if people want to help out in some way, they really shouldn't be shy – just put your hand up." Angela