It started with a pig

Green Lifestyle magazine

In the midst of a factory-farming society, find solace in the animal sanctuary Edgar’s Mission, where kindness to animals is celebrated.


Edgar Alan Pig is no longer alive, but his legacy lives on in the inspiration he gave Pam Ahern to start Edgar's Mission, where the best ambassadors for changing the way people think about farmed animals are the animals themselves.


At a few hours old, Hansel was taken from his mother so her milk could be harvested. He would have been killed but got lucky, and now lives at Edgar’s Mission.


Ray the little goat suffered trauma after losing his mother, but more recently has taken a liking to roses.


Rosie the sheep is a Black Saturday bushfire survivor.


There's certainly no such thing as caged chickens at Edgar's Mission - these girls enjoy a free-range lifestyle.

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An hour north of Melbourne, just below the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, there’s a refuge that offers hope for farm animals. Edgar’s Mission is a not-for-profit farm sanctuary that rescues homeless, abused, injured or abandoned animals, particularly those suffering in factory farms.

In July 2012, Edgar’s Mission undertook Australia’s biggest farmed animal rescue, when a battery cage egg farmer decided he wanted to get out of the cruel practice, and didn’t want to send the hens to slaughter. Edgar’s Mission came to the rescue of the nearly 1,500 chickens.

“I just wish I could take every Australian by the hand and walk them through a battery hen facility, and I am sure they too would have an equally compassionate change of heart. We place people in prisons and take away their liberties when they transgress our laws but these gentle hens have done no crime, this really is so wrong,” says Pam Ahern, founder and director. At the time of speaking to Ahern, a week after the battery hen rescue, 400 of the chickens had found new homes, and they went on to rehome them all.

Aside from the recent chicken rescues, Edgar’s Mission is home to many permanent residents. “We have more than 250 resident animals at the sanctuary now, which is a lot, but in terms of animals suffering, it’s nothing. These animals are ambassadors for the ones we can’t save,” says Ahern.

It started with a pig. “An absolutely adorable pig,” says Ahern. “He was called Edgar Alan Pig, and I adored that pig like you wouldn’t believe. Edgar got me thinking that the best ambassadors for changing the way people think about farmed animals are the animals themselves.”

“Currently, an animal’s worth is determined by our use of it, our familiarity of it and what we get from it. Farmed animals are removed from our thoughts, and they’ve also been removed from our animal protection legislation; and by that I mean I can do things to a farmed animal that if I did to a cat or a dog, I would be charged with cruelty."

“Scientists or people might talk about the intelligence of farm animals, but when people actually see it with their own eyes, it’s quite profound. They start to connect the dots themselves, and I don’t have to say anything. It’s the animals that speak to people’s hearts and minds. They’re the ones that are able to change the way people believe things.”

For more info, visit www.edgarsmission.org.au