Total: £3,017 raised
1 February 2013: William reaches Hillside – and sanctuary!
11 December 2012: We reached our fundraising target, we'll update you with more news as soon as possible.
26 October 2012: William's story appears on Happy Cow. Hopefully - with your help - William will be happy soon, too!
There was a bitter-sweet postscript to Hamish and Dougal’s rescue story, which I didn’t report at the time, as the situation was unclear - and looking pretty hopeless; but I can tell you about it now – and, thankfully, it’s in our power to turn it around...
Hamish, Dougal and William temporarily reunited
To make the loading of Hamish and Dougal easier back in August, the farmer had moved them from their field into a barn four days before I went down to collect them. What no-one had told me was that they would temporarily be reunited with their big ‘brother,’ William, the farmer’s prize Limousin bull.
Overjoyed to see each other
They hadn’t seen him for two years, since they were all calves together (the three grew up as brothers and were completely inseparable apparently) and their recognition was instant. Not many farmers will credit ‘their’ animals with having complex emotions or memory, but he reported to me that they were overjoyed to see William again; they were leaping about, “gambolling” (and William’s a big boy, weighing over a tonne) licking each other, calling out etc.
William was left behind, then sold
The only heart-wrenching part of the whole trip was seeing William’s distress at the boys being loaded, and Hamish’s determination not to be split up from him. He tried to jump the bars that separated them, in fact. The farmer’s words “He’s not coming with you lads,” have haunted my sleep all summer. I called the farmer as soon as I got back from Norfolk, but he had already sold him on!
A miracle happened - I've found William
Now for the miracle... I wrote to British Cattle Movement Services, detailing everything and begged them for their help to try and track William. I had to reunite those boys somehow! Against all odds they agreed to co-operate; the new farmer has now been traced, they have contacted him on my behalf (they wouldn’t give out his details) and have reported back that he would be “willing to sell the animal “William” in a couple of months time.” Hillside Animal Sanctuary has offered him a home. My local newspaper in Devon will run their story. (They have already made Hamish and Dougal bovine ‘stars’ and have brought quite a few meat-eaters into the fold!). The first farmer sold him to the second for £2020.00. Money will be needed for transport – possibly up to £1000 as William’s size and weight could prove too much for Manningtree’s horse boxes. A £3000+ target – but where there’s a will, there’s a way...and we’ve done it once!
I know they are only three individuals and that the whole rotten system needs to end, but Hamish and Dougal have already become powerful ambassadors for the animal kingdom, connecting people to them as conscious, sentient, relational beings who deserve a lot better. (It’s all too easy to gloss over that abstract reality of 60 billion anonymous victims a year, unfortunately.) If William is given a chance, I know he will play his own important role.
Thanks for listening.