When Counting Sheep Gives You Nightmares

Every year in Australia an almost unbelievable 10 to 15 million newborn lambs die of starvation, neglect and exposure within 48 hours of birth. If you lined up all the dead newborns head to tail, the line would cover more than the breadth of Australia. This mass death is a routine, but hidden, reality of the sheep industry.

Farmers practice winter lambing in order to produce the highest number of lambs at the lowest cost. Sheep are impregnated so that they give birth in winter months and their babies are weaned in spring, the times that pastures are most fertile. This means the mothers have richer feed in winter, and the surviving lambs grow fatter more quickly in springtime. The result of this is that lambs are born in the harsh conditions of winter, and up to a quarter of them do not survive their first few days.

In most cases, sheep and their babies are not provided sufficient shelter from the wind, rain and frost, or protection from predators, resulting in massive mortality during the harsh winter months. For farmers, the millions of deaths are an acceptable consequence of reduced feed costs and heavier spring lambs.

Image credit: Animal Liberation Victoria / Emma Hakansson

When flocks are not monitored regularly enough, as often is the case, dead lambs are left amongst live sheep and lambs. Their bodies lure foxes and birds of prey closer to the flock, and this endangers those who may already be vulnerable due to difficult births, downing, hypothermia, starvation, neglect, or orphaning.

Downed ewe mothers and struggling babies are then more likely to be preyed on and attacked, suffering through this while still alive, yet unable to protect themselves due to their poor condition.

This cruel cycle is anything but natural.

Saving Lives

Every winter rescuers and foster carers save the lives of newborn lambs. Many lambs are orphaned as their mums are too sick or did not survive the birth. They are found on the brink of death, freezing cold, starving, weak, sometimes injured or partially crippled.

Once rescued from the paddocks where they were abandoned to die, the rescued lambs are taken to foster carers who work around the clock for months, often at great cost, to get them healthy and strong. They are cared for until they can go to a sanctuary to live out the rest of their lives in freedom, never to experience the horrors endured by their mothers.

You Can Help

This doesn’t come easily though – keeping these babies alive requires regular feeds that continue through the night, many kilograms of formula, nutrient supplements, probiotics, electrolytes and colostrum substitutes, and often medications and vet visits. Those on the brink of death need critical care as they fight for their lives.

Money or Goods

With so many in need of help and with our limited resources, your generous donation will go directly towards saving their lives, by allowing us to rescue and care for even more of these orphans.

Please also take the time to get to know our rescued orphans. By sharing their stories you can help open hearts and minds, and raise awareness about this horrific industry.

There is a better way – veganeasy.org

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