FARM ANIMAL RESCUE SANCTUARY, Warwickshire
Photos courtesy of Rob Tysall and the Farm Animal Rescue Sanctuary
Animal-lover Carole Webb, runs an amazing animal sanctuary in Warwickshire. And what makes it so amazing is that all its residents are farm animals – sheep, cattle, poultry, pigs and goats who were destined for the abattoir had Carole not intervened.
Carole, a former veterinary nurse has always been horrified by the live export trade and has strong feelings about man’s greed for profit through intensive farming methods. Back in 1988 she heard of a newborn lamb that was not expected to survive. She asked the farmer if she could adopt the tiny pathetic creature to which he agreed. She took it back home, named it Larry and nursed it back to full robust health. That was the first of many. Next came premature lamb triplets which she named the Didley family. These had to be syringe fed every few hours to begin with and then bottle fed. They also thrived.
Gradually her flock of unwanted farm animals grew. At its peak the sanctuary was caring for over 800 animals at any one time, and there have been times when Carole has bottle fed 50 baby lambs at a time. She currently has 470 farm animals all of which she knows by name.
This amazingly kind hearted and hard working woman runs her sanctuary at Woolley Park Farm, near Stratford-upon-Avon. It’s run entirely by Carole and a few dedicated volunteers and funded purely by donations. The work is hard as there’s no let up from tending the animals seven days a week all year round and in all kinds of weathers.
The animals Carole rescues tend to be ones that have been injured whilst being carelessly loaded onto transporters; or exhausted ewes forced to breed far beyond what nature intended; or tethered sows and battery hens, or other farm animals thought not to be up to scratch and therefore unwanted.
Other animals arrive at her doorstep when their owners have been unable to care for them any longer through ill health. And sometimes it’s the public who bring animals to her, such as Moonbeam, a little ewe lamb who was found totally on her own in a field. She was just a few days old, unable to walk and seriously dehydrated.
“She was found by a member of the sanctuary and it was a miracle she wasn’t killed by a fox,” said Carole who later discovered the lamb had a weakness in her back legs. “She just couldn’t get up. I used to lift her up but for months she couldn’t stand. I had her x-rayed and I wondered whether a little cart would help – the sort usually used to help dogs with leg problems. The man who had originally found her helped me buy one, and I would put her in this for an hour each day. Then one sunny day she just got up and took a few steps. Now she goes out during the day with the other lambs.”
Carole talks passionate about the treatment that some farm animals suffer and it upsets her that as man’s need for profit increases, so his compassion lessens. “All too often we hear that many farmers are accepting death as part and parcel of everyday life. And that special care for individual farm animals is considered commercially unviable.”
“Creatures that are often described as stupid and worthless show remarkable intelligence and gentleness once you have dispelled their fear. You find that they are all individuals with different personalities. Learning about them is such a rewarding and enlightening pleasure.”
Amongst her flock at the moment are Marigold and Morgan, a pair of adorable and mischievous goats; and Wallace a Ram that was left in a box outside the sanctuary gates at a week old. A former resident who has since passed away was Star, a friendly intelligent sheep who like all the others would not have survived without Carole’s care.
“Star used to go into my kitchen when I lived in Hertfordshire,” said Carole. “She allowed the other sheep in and opened all the cupboards for them. When I returned she’d hot foot it out and leave the others to get into trouble!”
I also met June, a three-legged sheep. At three months old she had her leg badly mangled by a cattle truck and was destined to be shot. When Carole heard about this she persuaded the vet to amputate the leg and save the life of the sheep.
“He probably thought I was odd asking for such a thing, but the operation went ahead and June who is now getting on in years has coped very well with just three legs.”
With such tender loving care, many of the animals go on to live to a good age. At the moment her oldest resident is Jerry, a sheep who has reached the grand old age of 19 years.
The animal sanctuary costs around £100,000 a year to keep going. The money is needed for the massive veterinary costs for so many animals, as well as food, hay and special diets for the animals in her special care barns; plus annual sheep shearing, trimming of hooves and other general everyday care, and of course shelter.
However, Carole’s belief is that life is precious and an animal should not be put to sleep just for the reason that it’s too much trouble to keep alive. “It is a hard life. I rarely go to bed before midnight, later sometimes if one of the animals is unwell, and in winter you have to break the ice on the water troughs, but it is so rewarding. And the main thing is that the animals are okay.”
YOU CAN HELP
You can donate via the website or even sponsor one of the farm animals. Each has its own unique and friendly personality and they all love to be visited. The adoption list is obviously variable but can include pigs, sheep, rams, ewes and even a bullock named Leo. By adopting an animal you are helping the sanctuary to continue its good work.
All the money from adoptions and donations goes straight to the animals. They do not pay administrative wages, which ensures every penny is used to pay for food, land rental, shelter, vets bills and on-site husbandry.
If you live locally and have a few hours to spare, your help would be very much appreciated around the sanctuary.
Please visit: www.farmanimalrescue.org.uk
And find on Facebook: FARS Warwickshire.