He pronounes his name "Shmunshmine" but you can call him Sunny. Sunshine is a beautiful boy who is strong, healthy, funny and loving. He and all of the other goat friends have celebrated personalities and live free, joyful lives on a vegan agri-tourism farm & animal sancturary in Ontario.
As with most farms that produce milk (small or large) babies are disposed of via slaughter if male. Lucky for Sunshine he found his way to Piebird Vegan Farmstay & Animal Sanctuary as a wee one.
As a baby, Sunshine lived with Sherry & Yan in the house for several months while they nursed him from pneumonia. With lots of herbs, love, a bed close to the wood stove, exercises and short visits to the goat pasture he would eventually grow strong and confident enough to stay with the herd. When his tiny horns started growing in, they were fragmented and splitting -- a sign of his earlier nourishment stresses. Sherry wrapped his new horns in herbal compresses and salves to help them heal. They did physiotherapy, neck & shoulder strengthening exercises, all to get him ready for life in the herd where horn interactions (from subtle nudges to full on battles) are part of everyday goat-communication. Sunshine indeed found a loving home.
Many people who have had experience with goats before would come to look at him in the beginning and share that they truly didn’t think he could make it. But he sure did! It was a great day when he was strong enough to spar and play with the other goats -- and heartwarming how they would “battle” gently with him to teach him how. He eventually grew into being the strongest of the Piebird herd and enjoys that position today.
It took a while for baby-Sunshine to be named, waiting for his personality to develop fully. Once out in the pasture with the other goats Sherry & Yan noticed he was always in a sunbeam, always glowing, always radiant. He truly is a Sunshine.
An "eradication program" operated jointly by the Canadian Government (Canadian Food Inspection Agency, CFIA) & the dairy/meat industry contacted Sherry & Yan in February 2014 wanting to kill him "for testing" -- I'll remind you that he is a healthy, happy, member of their family on a vegan farm / animal sanctuary. The CFIA has an imagined threat that his alleged genealogy is linked to a farm that reported a rare goat degenerative disease ("scrapie") in one goat. This apparently threatens the industry's export ambitions*. Yeah, I know, this whole thing is so crazy. They assured Sunshine's family that it is non-transmittable to humans and of course that after they kill and test (the test is performed on the brain) that it will come back as negative.
* Being a vegan farm, we are of course in no way a part of this industry
All the goats on that dairy farm were slaughtered for testing in January 2014 (so sad!) and now they are targeting these healthy goat-friends on a vegan farm / animal sanctuary. Sunshine & the rest of the Piebird goat friends need your help and they will love you forever for your kindness (they already do love you all, because animals love without any judgement! Hooray!).
With recent foreign trade agreements Canada has jointly boosted the powers of bureaucracy as well as the powers of the meat & dairy industry. This eradication program was set up "in collaboration with the sheep and goat industries." Interestingly, this government department "only provides a guiding hand in ensuring that the program retains key requirements to meet international standards. The day-to-day management and verification is placed in the hands of industry."
The goal of this eradication program is to "open up market access domestically and internationally," and to "maintain current trading partners and gain new ones." It will ensure that Canada "remains competitive and maintains market access." This is all done under the laws of "animal welfare," which is seems ironically named when it reaches out to animals like Sunshine who are healthy and loved.
You may find it upsetting that federal funding compensates farmers for "destroyed animals" (amount varies with market prices). These goats are Sherry and Yan's family, being a vegan farm they are of course not part of any "market".
This is Sunshine's story but you can make it your story too, you can get involved.
Sherry & Sunshine
Yan & Sunny
Sunny loves to smile!
Daily barn chores at Piebird include snuggles
This campaign is to provide Sherry & Yan with support and to allow the community to hear this story and think of ways to help.
"We are being cooperative with the agency but honestly it is hard to acknowledge the authority of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in this matter because our animal friends are not food and they do not produce any product: no milk, no babies, no meat, no fibre/wool. Our animal friends do not leave the farm: no shows, no 'servicing', certainly no slaughterhouse. They live here on this vegan farm, as do we; We live here together, we are family," says Sherry of Piebird.
"We first want to secure the safety of the lives of our goat friends without any interruption to their stress-free and peaceful life. Secondly, we hope to somehow secure our rights to continue governing our vegan farm and animal sanctuary without limitations set upon it by the meat and dairy industry or a partnering government department. Ear tagging, live testing (or standard kill then test), quarantine, burial limitations or body desecration (after their long, happy, natural lives), adoption restrictions imposed upon our sanctuary, etc do not adhere to our loving practices of animal friendship as identified ethical vegans," says Yan of Piebird.
"It should be well understood that the holistic nature and care we provide is much greater than the industry could ever recognize or understand. The animals on our farm are not livestock, they are not commodities, they are fellow residents. Their unique personalities are celebrated by many. They are very heathy and very well loved. They are part of our family," says Sherry.
"We'd be happy to explain to this government department and the dairy/meat industry the rights we have in identifying as ethical vegans and the role it plays in our farm, life and business -- But we'd honestly prefer they just leave us and our animal friends alone and remove this great stress that has been put upon our peaceful life," says Yan.
Imagine an industry & government wanting to come and kill your friend or child or pet or loved one. Sunshine & his herd have already been freed from the stresses & suffering that many animals endure -- this should not be happening. Now they need your help.
A Springtime snuggle
Roy & Sunny are friends
Acorn & Sunny are friends too
Sunshine has many friends, some are human & some are animals.
He loves the cats & chickens -- and it's not unusual to find him out in the pasture with a butterfly resting on his back.
Frolicking in the wildflowers
Sherry & Sunshine in the sunshine
Sunshine in the far pasture