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goose down


October 24, 2014

I had an interesting experience this week. I was looking at a coat which had a puffy layer, and said to the saleswoman “This isn’t lined with real down, is it?” “No, I’m sorry, it’s synthetic” she replied regretfully, thinking she’d lost the sale. “That’s great!” I said, “because I wouldn’t buy it if it was real down.” She looked surprised, and asked me “Why?” I explained that the cruel down industry often plucks ducks and geese alive in order to get the down (the soft layer of feathers closest to the bird’s skin), which is excruciating for the animal – similar to someone ripping all of the hair out of our head. I told her I’d seen videos, with the geese screaming in agony as this was done. (The videos are horrible, so I won’t post them here, but you can google if you must.) “OH, I wish you hadn’t told me that! I buy down products!” she said. And when I was checking out, she said again “I wish you hadn’t told me. How am I going to get that out of my head now?” I found this fascinating. Not “I wish I hadn’t bought down” or “I’ll never buy down products again”, but “How can I forget so that I can buy down without guilt next time?” All I could say was “Well, maybe now that you know, you’ll make a different decision next time you shop.” And you know what? The coat with synthetic lining is beautiful and warm – we simply don’t need to cause this agony in other living creatures. I really do hope she’ll make the compassionate choice next time, and that is also my hope for other people reading this post. :-)



Michael and I have been relaxing at a Bushland Resort in rural Australia this week. It’s been amazing to glance out the window of our villa and see wild kangaroos grazing right outside, or to go for a walk and have them bound across our path. Yesterday we came home and there was a group of TEN roos right at the end of our drive. As I type right now there’s a beautiful pair of kookaburras sitting outside the window. I love the wildlife here! We’re heading back home today, and I can’t wait to see my babies… but I’ll miss this!

wendyl sparky


October 22, 2014

Recently we were thrilled to have Wendyl Nissen (the well known “Green Goddess” and media personality) come to spend a day at The Animal Sanctuary. She’s absolutely lovely, and I enjoyed introducing her to the resident animals. You would have thought I’d paid them extra to be particularly sweet and charming! Wendyl helped to feed an injured kereru, sat on the ground with ducks snuggling on her lap, had a tui land on her arm for a drink, gave the donkeys a good brush and the pigs a great belly rub, etc etc. But the best bit was when she overcame her nervousness about how large Sparky is, and gave him cuddles. Magic!! Wendyl has been wonderfully supportive of our work, and is helping us to promote our new book “The Animal Sanctuary”. She is writing an article for the NZ Womens Weekly, and will include us in one of her newsletters, which has over 12,000 readers. !!! We very very much appreciate her support and her kindness. BTW, if you want to purchase our gorgeous fundraising book full of fabulous stories and photos, you can use this link to buy direct and provide maximum support to the animal sanctuary: (NZ only) Cheers!



October 15, 2014

Many of you will remember at the beginning of the year when we did a battery hen rescue, and a very very high percentage of the hens had broken legs, broken wings, and hideous bruising. We were told about purposeful abuse of the hens from the battery farm workers. Some hens had to have wings amputated, and others with both legs broken had to heal in slings: The suffering was terrible, and unlike any other farm we’ve rescued from. ( Well, the same company, Craddock, now wants to build a massive new battery farm in South Auckland… which would hold 310,000 caged hens. If it goes ahead, it will be NZ’s largest intensive egg factory farm. We are petitioning the shareholders to reconsider, as the vast majority of NZers DON”T WANT BATTERY FARMS! I’ve written a letter to the shareholders, and I’m pleading with you to sign my petition and share as widely as you can. There are so many facts which show it’s a bad decision to invest in another battery farm. Please help us gather thousands and thousands of signatures from caring people like yourself, who say NO to caged eggs. Thank you, on behalf of the animals, Shawn Bishop
(Click on this link to sign the petition…


Happy Adoptions

I’m so pleased. Yesterday and today I placed a number of animals up for adoption… and they ALL found great homes. Some of them happened so quickly that I never even got them posted on this website! I worry about every animal that people phone me about rehoming, so it makes me really happy when I know they’ve been adopted and will go to loving, safe homes.



October 13, 2014

I’m so tired of being on the receiving end of deliberate cruelty towards animals I’ve just had a phone call from a local vet. Someone brought in an oystercatcher that was just sitting weakly on Omaha Beach. It is severely dehydrated and emaciated. An x-ray showed an air-gun pellet lodged in its throat. We agreed that if they operated and were able to remove it, we would take the bird for aftercare. It may have an infection already, so it’s chances are 50/50. We’re not sure yet if it’s a pied oystercatcher (the more common type) or a variable oystercatcher (the endangered type). Either way, we’ll give it daily meds and tube feed it pureed fish. Makes me so sad!



October 10, 2014

My husband often complains that I say “YES” to anything anyone wants to give me. But honestly, I always find a use that will help the animals. Recently our wonderful supporters Gaye & Bruce gave me 4 fully contained, cave-like kitty litter boxes. “But we don’t even have cats!”, Michael exclaimed. Ah yes, but we do have rescued battery hens who’ve never had a moment of privacy… and guess what? They LOVE to use them as laying boxes! When I go over in the morning, there are literally two hens in each box, and several more patiently lined up waiting to go in. Gaye and Bruce also gave us a number of concrete tiles and bricks and pavers, and I can’t tell you how handy they’ve been over this wet muddy winter. They formed a lovely dry entrance to the sheep’s house, and a safe walkway all the way around the compost boxes, just to name a few. Thanks so much, G&B, I really appreciate your support!



October 9, 2014

Wow, I’m so impressed with our Facebook Friends. Within moments of posting an urgent plea for someone to board gorgeous Toffee (below), we were swamped with helpful replies. Several people immediately offered to board him, others quickly directed us to professional services, and many people shared the story to spread the word. A1 Transport even offered to transport Toffee and his cages if needed. What a blessing this wonderful animal-loving community is!! Deni said she was “gobsmacked” at the response, and called it “Absolutely brilliant”. Toffee now has a great home to board at (Thanks Debs!), and Deni can cancel her heart attack. Thank you to everyone who responded so positively. You’re wonderful!!