You may remember a blog we wrote on Hamish and Dougal the highland cattle back in June. They were saved from slaughter by kind donations following a campaign from VIVA. They now reside in an animal sanctuary, living a happy life.
Well Heidi Stephenson at VIVA has been campaigning again, this time to save to Hamish and Dougal’s brother William, a Limousin prize bull. They were briefly reunited with William before they went off to their new sanctuary in the Summer. Unfortunately William was left behind and Heidi has since been appealing to get them reunited in the happy home of the Hillside Animal Sanctuary.
With a sizeable contribution from us here at Banana Moon, here is Heidi’s story of getting William reunited with his brother’s Hamish and Dougal:
‘After a tough, epic journey (in more ways than one) William is finally safe at Hillside Animal Sanctuary! Thank you so much to everyone who helped to make this miracle possible. We arrived just after midnight on Friday 1st February and were met by Ann Vincent, the sanctuary manager for the West Runton site, who settled William into their spacious quarantine barn in no time.
Poor William is almost half the size he was when I first met him back in August. He’s down to about 800kg from his original 1.1 tonnes. William nearly died back in November. He was so ill that his nose-ring had to be removed. He’d completely given up eating apparently – and very likely, the will to live too. Having gone from the familiar place of his birth, where he was well looked after and properly fed, he had been made to breed with 48 cows already– and almost certainly on not enough feed.
Getting the second farmer to agree to sell him was a complete nightmare. He had been very anxious for me not to see William in the state he was in too, wouldn’t reveal his location, and kept telling me how “plain” William looked; a Cornish expression for ugly and unwell. When I finally got the bill of sale he insisted on adding a “sold as seen” clause – to make sure that if William were to die in the next couple of weeks (which I know he won’t under Hillside’s loving care), there would be no ‘refunds’!
With five days notice everything had to be sorted out very quickly, but our transporter Manningtree Horse-Box hire were on standby and that Thursday night Richard, their driver travelled through the night from Essex, arriving with me in Devon at 6am. After a rest and a meal, we headed off to Cornwall and finally picked William up late that afternoon.
Loading him wasn’t easy. Poor William was panicky and unsure, but once William was on board he was unbelievably calm and relaxed and lay down for a good part of his journey. It was as if he knew that his rotten ordeal was finally over and that he was in kind hands now. Kim and Richard from Manningtree Horse Box hire had made his deluxe horse-box really comfortable, with lots of straw on the ground, and plenty of haylage, nuts and water for him to access, and we were able to watch him constantly on their internal, infra-red camera system.
The boys have already helped to make a difference. In fact, they’ve become something of minor celebrities, and I’d like to offer special thanks to those who have really taken William into their hearts and helped spread the word for him: Happy Cow, Quaker Concern for Animals, Fry’s Vegetarian Foods, Banana Moon Ethical Clothing Company and the Totnes Times.
Thank you again to all of you who helped to give this story at least, a happy ending.
Heidi Stephenson on behalf of Hamish, Dougal and William’