Second Chance Animal Rescue – Giving Animals the Second Chance they Deserve

A couple of weeks ago, I got to spend the day at Second Chance Animal Rescue (SCAR) in Crockenhill, Kent, England. Hanging out with rescued farm animals is probably my favourite thing to do, especially a few days after attending a save vigil (check out my experience at Essex Pig Save here). Watching happy farm animals live out the rest of their days in peace and freedom is an incredible feeling, it reminds us of just what they are capable of. Very different to the lives most of them are forced to endure on factory farms.

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SCAR has been running since 2011, and officially became a charity in January 2016. John Ranger is the founder of SCAR, and I also got to meet Daisy who is a Trustee. They look after around 350-400 animals – some (e.g. reptiles) do not live on site but with expert volunteers. They rehome cats, small animals (e.g. rabbits, guinea pigs), hens, and ponies, only if the home is a forever home where they will live a better life than they would have here at SCAR.

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Cows have unimaginably tough lives living on factory farms (click here for more information). But the cows living at SCAR seemed so content. Thriving in their well-deserved freedom, I got to spend a lot of time with Arnold and co.

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You know something really weird? I’d never actually seen a pig in real life until my first visit to Hillside Animal Sanctuary (check out my blog on Your Daily Vegan about this here). I’d openly say that pigs were my favourite animal, but I’d never actually seen one! This is because, well, when would you? The vast majority of pigs will be living on factory farms, hidden away. Since attending save vigils, I now see pigs every couple of weeks, but not in the circumstances I would ever wish to see them. At SCAR, I got to meet a whole bunch of happy pigs – they were all curious, unique individuals…and also hilarious!

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Muddy pig snouts…is there anything better?

Surprised to see an emu happily hanging out with the pigs, I learned that SCAR really do offer a home to any animal who needs one. Mumu the emu’s story began when somebody bought a fertile emu egg online, hatched it out and raised the emu with their 30 chickens in a chicken coop. When Mumu got too large (which didn’t take long!) they got in touch with SCAR, who gave him a home where he seems to get on pretty well with all the other residents, considering, you know…he’s an emu!

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I also got to meet some beautiful racoon dogs who were cuddled up and keeping each other warm. These animal are often used for their fur, and they seemed to frighten very easily. I can’t imagine how terrified similar animals must feel living in over-cramped fur farms.

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With this amount of animals, you have to wonder, how do they do it? Well…SCAR don’t officially open to the public but have periodic volunteering events. As a charity, they rely on donations to cover the costs (find out how you can donate below). They also hold fundraisers, such as their upcoming ‘The Retro Years’ SCAR fundraiser on 24th February, find out more details for this here.

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Cows get cold too you know!

Spending time with rescued animals must definitely be good for the soul. I admire the incredible work that SCAR and other sanctuaries are doing. Each of the animals here are ambassadors for others of their kind – they show us what all animals are capable of, happily thriving in a safe and loving environment. Thank you for all your hard work, SCAR! Check out the details of how to support this amazing sanctuary below.

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Support Second Chance Animal Rescue!

Website (option to donate via Paypal).

Facebook (‘like’ for information about the latest volunteering opportunities).

Instagram: @secondchance_animalrescue (‘follow’ for insanely adorable animal photos!).

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2016 – Animal Activism Year in Review

In the world of animal rights, 2016 has definitely seen some positive changes worldwide. More people are vegan than ever before, and also many vegans have turned to activism to use their voices for animals. It has been my first full year of animal activism, and taking action for animals has became a huge part of my life. Here are some of my proudest achievements from 2016…

Essex Pig Save’s First Vigil

Read about it here.

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This was my first ever save vigil of any kind, and it was in my home county! I have always been a huge supporter of Toronto Pig Save, and was so happy that the Save Movement was expanding to the UK. This was the first of many vigils which went on to occur every month, with a growing team of activists. Our numbers have pretty much doubled since this very first vigil. We were able to bear witness to pigs entering Cheale Meats in Brentwood, Essex, and offer them comfort in any way we could. The next Essex Pig Save vigil will be held on 16th January 2017 – check out the Essex Pig Save Facebook page here for more information.

I Stand with Anita

Read about it here and here.

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This year I got to spend some time with Anita Krajnc and the rest of Toronto Pig Save as I attended a series of vigils in Canada. I also got to cover Anita’s court case, where she was put on trial for feeding water to a pig dying of dehydration. People around the world were horrified that Anita had been charged for simply an act of kindness. The trial talked about a lot more than this one incident, and ended up putting animal agriculture as a whole on trial. The case will be continuing in March 2017. Working with Anita has been a great honour this year, and I look forward to doing a lot more in 2017 to show the world that compassion is not a crime.

Japan – The World is Watching You

Read about it here.

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At the start of this year I took part in the London Against Taiji Dolphin Massacre March. We marched through the streets of London to the Japanese Embassy, using our voices to stand against this barbaric tradition that happens every year in Taiji. Documentaries like Blackfish and The Cove have meant a huge fall in profit for companies such as Seaworld. It’s so important that people know that every time they buy a ticket to a marine park that uses animals for entertainment, or partake in swim with dolphin programmes, they are actively paying for this yearly dolphin slaughter. The workers seek out the ‘Flipper’-like dolphins that have become so popular, while the rest are trapped in the cove to be slaughtered the following morning, and sold as dolphin meat. Many people in Japan don’t even know this is happening. Please don’t be part of it. Boycott Seaworld, marine parks and all swim with dolphin programmes.

Fearman’s ‘Pork’ Show No Mercy

Read about it here.

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Not long after returning from Canada myself, I watched this heartbreaking event live, as it happened, outside Fearman’s ‘Pork’, where I had protested earlier this year. Although the events of that day were completely incomprehensible, the stories of the pigs who died will never be forgotten. The incident gained worldwide media coverage, and people began to question whether eating meat can ever really be humane. A special thanks to all the activists who were at Fearman’s that day, and later organised a candle-lit memorial for all those who suffered such cruelty, all because of human greed.

Vegfest London 2016

Read about it here and on The Vegfest Express.

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In the build up to this year’s Vegfest London, I interviewed some of the speakers appearing at the Vegan Activists Summit – including Kate Strong, Rebecca Fox and Marta Zaraska. I’m so pleased that Vegfest is just getting bigger and better every year. I thought the speakers this year were particularly inspirational, and it was great to listen to such heroes as David Smith MBE talk about how a plant-based diet has changed their lives.

Ink Activism

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This year I also got my first ever tattoos which have been great conversation starters, and have also enabled me to visit some of the best vegan tattoo studios! My first was the animal liberation symbol, which I had done at Fifth Dimension in London. My second was the word ‘compassion’ which I had done at James Spooner’s Monocle Tattoo studio in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, I do have the tattoo bug now and have heard of some other great vegan tattoo studios which I plan to check out in 2017!

Protesting with Emily from Bite Size Vegan

Read about it here.

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I attended an Essex Pig Save vigil with popular American YouTuber and blogger – Emily from Bite Size Vegan this summer. This was a very hard day as we said goodbye to truck-loads of pigs entering Cheale Meats to be slaughtered. But later on, I went to London to watch Emily’s speech, and my dedication and hope for animals was truly restored. Emily talked about the importance of bearing witness, and not turning away from what is happening to animals, but instead doing all we can to change it. I’m a huge fan of all the work Emily is doing.

Fiona Oakes – For The Animals

Read about it here.

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Also at the start of this year, I got to meet champion marathon runner and all round superhero for animals – Fiona Oakes, along with all the animals at Tower Hill Sanctuary. It was great to hear Fiona’s story and how she has managed to achieve so much for animals. Tower Hill looks after over 400 rescued animals, which is no easy task! She also uses her extreme marathon running (she has run a marathon on every continent, and the North Pole) to promote the vegan lifestyle… destroying the stereotypical view of vegans as ‘weak’.

Other mentionable animal activism achievements this year include attending the first East London Chicken Save vigil, meeting Renee and all the friendly folk at Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, Texas, and volunteering at Piebird Farm Sanctuary in Canada. Overall, I’m really pleased with what I have accomplished this year, the world is definitely beginning to wake up to the realities that so many animals are forced to endure at the hands of humans. The Save Movement has grown rapidly in 2016, there are now 24 groups in the UK alone! It seems that ignorance is no longer bliss. I am looking forward to achieving much more for animals in 2017.

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A New Future for Colombia’s Only Animal Sanctuary

A few months ago, I wrote about the heart-warming story of Juliana’s Animal Sanctuary for Your Daily Vegan. Owner Juliana has been on quite a journey, and one thing that is impossible to ignore is her sheer dedication to rescue and care for animals in need. You can view my article about Juliana’s inspiring journey here.

Unfortunately, Colombia is not the safest of places for animals. In the capital city of Bogota alone there can be up to 900,000 street dogs and cats, with government-sponsored organisations that believe killing up to 25,000 animals a week is the answer to managing the problem. Aside from this, bullfighting is still legal, animal abuse is frequent and common, and the government offers no help to animal charities. Opening a vegan animal sanctuary here certainly doesn’t come without its challenges. Juliana aims to educate the people of Colombia on important animal issues, as well as caring for animals in need.

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Juliana with Perla the pig.

Here’s where you come in…

Juliana’s Animal Sanctuary need to raise $250,000 in order to purchase a place of permanent  residence for their 65 sheltered animals. They have found a 10,000 square meter property in Colombia that will provide somewhere safe to care for the animals, and to expand the sanctuary. They plan to open the property to the public so people will be able to interact with the animals, educate people about animal welfare and the benefits of a vegan diet, conduct vegan cookery classes, and run Food Yoga Health and Wellness Retreats.

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Anything you could give to help Juliana’s Animal Sanctuary would be hugely appreciated. You will not only be helping to care for rescued animals, but also to spread the message of compassion for animals across Colombia, where it is desperately needed.

For more information, and to donate, please click here.

Thank you.

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Happy Pola, enjoying the sun at Juliana’s Animal Sanctuary.

Meeting Fiona Oakes, Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary

Last weekend I visited Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary in Asheldham, Essex, England. This is the nearest farm animal sanctuary to me, so I wanted to check it out and meet some of the animals. I was also really excited to meet Fiona Oakes, who runs the sanctuary with her partner, Martin. It was a cold, rainy day which made me realise that running a sanctuary of over 400 rescued animals couldn’t be easy.

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Fiona is a dedicated marathon runner and a committed vegan. She challenges the myth that vegans are weak and do not have the same strength as carnivores, and does so by completing extreme marathons, for which she trains every single day. Since 2013, she is the fastest woman in the world to run a marathon on all seven continents, she has even completed marathons in destinations such as the North Pole!

Fiona leads by example, and promotes a vegan diet by showing the world that living vegan certainly doesn’t mean being weak; quite the contrary.

Fiona’s mission is to show that her lifestyle choices with respect to her diet are not prohibitive to performing in sport as the popular portrayal of a Vegan is a weak and pasty individual. *

Fiona has set up The Fiona Oakes Foundation which enables people to support her marathons, so she can continue to widely promote the vegan message, and in turn help the animals she cares for. Take a look at The Fiona Oakes Foundation website for more information about her running adventures.


At the heart of all Fiona’s fantastic achievements and everything she does, is the animals. After meeting her, I felt completely astounded that such a dedicated athlete could also care for over 400 rescued animals! Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary is where animals in need are provided with a safe, loving home, free from the torments they endured in their previous lives.

A lot of the animals living at Tower Hill are unwanted and the person previously caring for them is no longer able to do so. A large number are also victims of the meat industry. Fiona explained that many of the animals living at the sanctuary were regarded as ‘spent’ by slaughterhouses. This means that, as a profit can no longer be made from them, they are no longer of ‘use’ to the industry. This is often the case with chickens who are no longer able to lay eggs. By keeping a civil relationship with some of the slaughterhouse workers, instead of ‘disposing’ of these animals, they have been handed over to Fiona who cares for them at Tower Hill. I was touched to see these animals that were once deemed as worthless, to be thriving here, and enjoying the rest of their days in peace.

There were quite a few horses at the sanctuary, and one who was impossible to miss was Rupert. Rupert is by far and away the biggest horse I have ever seen. He was rescued from the meat industry, and is known as a ‘gentle giant’ due to his kind nature.

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‘Gentle Giant’ Rupert.

William unfortunately was no longer wanted due to having lost an eye, but now lives happily at Tower Hill.

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William had been through a tough time before coming to Tower Hill.

Winston and company show how different types of animals become friends at Tower Hill. Just like people, these animals want to live freely, and are now finally able to do so.

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Winston enjoying some time-out with friends. You can adopt Winston as part of Tower Hill‘s Animal Adoption Programme here.

Spotty is a new addition to the sanctuary, but seems to have settled in very quickly.

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Spotty enjoying his new home.

Luckily, Stan was on hand to over-see the tour of the sanctuary. Stan is one of the Christmas rescue turkeys – one of fifteen who were saved after being destined for Christmas Dinner. They now live happily at the sanctuary.

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Rescued turkey, Stan.

‘Cosy corner’ was another part of the sanctuary where different animals team together to enjoy each other’s company.

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Looking cosy in ‘Cosy Corner’.

By the end of the visit, I could see that caring for a sanctuary with this number of rescued animals in all kids of weather conditions was definitely a challenge. Fiona explained that a huge amount of money goes on veterinary bills, as well as everything else needed to keep the sanctuary up and running, and care for the animals.

You can help to support Fiona Oakes and Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary by visiting the following links:

Website: http://www.towerhillstables.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/towerhillstables

Fiona Oakes Foundation: http://www.fionaoakesfoundation.co.uk

Watch the new video ‘Fiona Oakes – For The Animals’

Fiona Oakes is a huge inspiration and, having recently started running myself, I will be taking part in a sponsored run later this year to raise money for Tower Hill. I hope you will join me in supporting such a dedicated sanctuary, empowered by an incredible advocate for animals.

* Information from http://www.fionaoakesfoundation.co.uk/sponsor

F.R.I.E.N.D Farm Sanctuary Update

Last summer, I visited one of my local sanctuaries – ‘F.R.I.E.N.D’ in Kent, England. I was lucky enough to have a tour with owner Mark, who runs the sanctuary with his partner, Marion. I met all the animals and left feeling inspired by how this couple have devoted their lives to rescuing them. You can read about my day at F.R.I.E.N.D in my article for Your Daily Vegan by clicking here.

Today I was sadly informed that Marion had passed away. Marion was an incredible advocate for animals, she worked tirelessly to spread the vegan message, and provide a safe sanctuary for the animals that needed it the most. You can view a message from Mark about the extremely sad passing of his wife here.

F.R.I.E.N.D now needs your support more than ever to carry on the fantastic work they do. You can donate towards a lasting legacy for Marion and to help towards running the sanctuary here.

On behalf of animals everywhere – thank you, Marion, for being a fantastic animal advocate and for changing the lives of so many farm animals that were doomed to be victims of the meat industry. Rest in Peace.

 

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