On a mission to spread kindness

Sophia Grewal, Edgar's Mission community engagement manager with a rescued kid goat. (Damjan Janevski) 251260_06

Oliver Lees

In the Macedon Ranges, an animal sanctuary is reminding everyone to take a moment from their busy lives to spare a thought for animals.

For the past 11 years, the first week of October has marked Be Kind to Animals Week, an initiative developed by Edgar’s Mission animal rescue.

Stretched across 153 acres just outside of Lancefield, Edgar’s Mission has provided a sanctuary for farmed animals since 2003.

Edgar’s Mission founder Pam Ahern said Be Kind to Animals Week was developed to start a conversation about how changes to our daily routine can make a positive impact in animals’ lives.

“You can support your favourite animal welfare charity by volunteering or donating, organise a beach or park clean up, leave water out for local wildlife and so much more,” Ms Ahern said.

As part of the week-long campaign, Edgar’s Mission encourages the community to make a kindness pledge.

This pledge can take a variety of forms, such as committing to a random act of kindness, using products that don’t test on animals, or using plant-based products instead of meat.

This year, the Be Kind to Animals campaign is aiming for more than 5000 pledges, with the site already notching up close to 4000.

To help get them over the line, Edgar’s Mission has enlisted the help of human and animal ambassadors to spread the message.

Among the furry helpers is kangaroo Brad Pit, who was rescued from an abandoned mineshaft by the Five Animals Rescue shelter based in Trentham.

Brad Pit was saved from the seven-metre shaft by Five Animals Rescue founder Manfred Zabinskas.

As reported by Star Weekly in June, 2020, Zabinskas led a rescue team which included Ms Ahern and five others. Brad Pit was saved, rehabilitated and released back into his native environment weeks later.

As for two-legged advocates, DJ and wellness enthusiast Dara Hayes (also known as DJ Tigerlily) has thrown her support behind the Be Kind To Animals Week ethos.

“Research has proven that animals feel pain and emotions, share languages, family bonds, and rituals,” Ms Hayes said.

“They are just as deserving of our kindness. Switching to a plant-based lifestyle was the best decision I have ever made. It is empowering to be a voice for the voiceless and to live a life that is causing no cruelty or harm to other beings.

“It costs nothing to be kind.”

Joining Ms Hayes is TV presenter Marieke Hardy, actor Martin Dingle Wall, plant based nutritionist Tammy Fry and others.

While life has slowed down for many industries during the pandemic, Edgar’s Mission has remained busy. In the past 18 months, Edgar’s Mission has rescued 196 animals and cares for between 400 and 500 animals at any one time.

Among them is Kiki Dee, whom Ms Ahern describes as one of the smallest lambs the sanctuary has ever received.

“Kiki Dee’s eye had been pecked by a bird, but a kind heart brought her to the sanctuary,” she said.

“Today, after lots of love and care, she is a happy and very affectionate sheep. It just goes to show the power of kindness, and it also speaks to the range of emotions all animals feel, no matter what they look like.”

To celebrate Be Kind to Animals Week, Edgar’s Mission will be hosting a number of talks led by Ms Ahern.

Edgar’s Mission is also offering the chance to win a hamper full of ethical goodies.

For more information, visit: www.edgarsmission.org.au

To make a pledge, visit: bekindtoanimalsweek.org.au