Blog written by Sarah Klapstein
Saturday we did a rescue from the front lines of slaughter. We haven't done one of these types of rescues in awhile. This situation came up and we knew we needed to act. These rescues are never easy, the sights, the smells, their heartbreaking. We smile, shake hands and go into saving lives mode. Those who know me, know I have an irrational fear of birds. I always make sure the turkeys and chickens are put away before I walk through the gates at the main farm. I've been held hostage in a stall there out of my irrational fear of them. Saturday, I was amongst chickens and geese and ducks and it didn't even phase me as I had my sights and heart set on the little Lamancha standing there, covered in dried muck, shedding horribly, skeleton thin but with an unmistakable light in his eyes. I knelt down and he came up and nuzzled my face. I was in love. There are times I get attached from the minute I lay eyes on a goat, this was one of those times.
There was no question, he was coming home with us. When we arrived, I carried his little body to his new pasture and even in the dark, the minute I set him down he started to graze after eating hay the entire ride home. These poor babies were starving. After getting the 4 that stayed with me at BGC all set up with lots of food, warm water and warm cozy beds, I headed in for the night when he started to cry. Cries that broke my heart. Nothing was wrong, he was just confused and nervous. Change, no matter how good, is hard on goats. If I could have taken him into the house with me, I would have.
Ravi is starting to settle in. There is always this decompression time goats saved from these situations go through. Once they realize they are safe and can finally relax. This morning he gave me a scare, he and his roommate Zoran are the first goats I check on in the morning as they are living adjacent to the house. They were curled up together in their pool full of straw and Ravi had his head curled back, tucked into Zoran's side, eyes closed. I started to talk to them, Zoran answered but Ravi didn't. He didn't even move. My heart started to race but then he woke up, sleepily out of a deep slumber. His eyes lit up when he saw me and his sleepy little body jumped up to come greet me. I think he is finally feeling good enough to truly relax. His little body is finally getting the help and nutrition it needs. We're working our way through getting the muck off of him, he absolutely loves being brushed. He is gaining strength and that light in his eyes is getting brighter.
These front lines of slaughter rescues always serve as a reality check. A stark reminder of the neglect and fate that so many goats are suffering. These rescues always remind me of how beyond grateful I am that my boys, Nicky and Nitro, all of our bottle raised babies, all of our families, all of the goats in our care that come to us from other avenues, have never had to and never will have to, suffer that fate. It serves as a reminder of why the other side of the work that we do, the dairy babies, the retired dairy girls and seniors, the owner surrenders, of why they are all just as important. We are ensuring that they never, ever set foot in a livestock auction or suffer the neglect and fear of living at a slaughterhouse or backyard butcher operation.
I struggled with what to name Ravi. I tried so many names, goggled so many things. He reminds me so much of my little beloved Max that we lost back in 2017 but I knew I couldn't have another Max here at BGC. Then I came across Ravi. Ravi means Sun. I felt like it was fitting. The "Saved from Slaughter 6" rescue was a hard dose of reality but we saved 6 lives and the other reality is that the sun always rises. Each and every day. Ravi now has many days full of sunshine and the very best life ahead.