In Memoriam: Sweet Pea and Clair

We are incredibly sad to announce the passing of two Tamerlaine residents, Sweet Pea and Clair.

We will remember Sweet Pea for her small size and commanding presence. During her stay in the hospital, Sweet Pea liked to boss around birds three times her size and sneak rides on the back of Jessie's wheelchair. She spent her final weeks back outside with her flock, remaining top hen despite her cancer.

We will remember Clair's very deliberate movements and independent spirit. She decided when she wanted to live in the house and when she wanted to spend time outside, with or without the other birds. S›e was very flighty when she first arrived at Tamerlaine, but slowly warmed up to the humans, to the point where she was comfortable being held and going on strolls side by side.

These two girls were survivors of the egg industry and ultimately died of the industry's lasting effects on their bodies:

They began their lives trapped 24/7 in tiny wire cages—so cramped they were unable to even spread their wings—and infested with lice. They endured hot days and freezing nights, with no comfort other than their hen sisters. At just two years old, their exhausted and manipulated bodies no longer produced eggs well enough to be profitable for their exploiters and so they were destined to be ripped from their cages, shoved into suffocating trash cans, gassed, and sent to a landfill as trash.

Thankfully, there are people in this world who refuse to see living individuals as mere objects for human use and disposal, people who will do whatever it takes to respect, value, and liberate as many lives as they can. A coalition of sanctuaries from across the U.S. did just that in the summer of 2013 and because of these efforts, Sweet Pea, Clair, and thousands of other hens were able to know freedom. These hens—the lucky few among the tens of billions of farmed animals killed each year—were able to stretch, feel the grass and dirt, and sunbathe. They were able to socialize and to have their unique personalities emerge. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide refuge to Sweet Pea and Clair during their too-short time with us. We are thankful we were able to provide a safe and comfortable home for them and to stave off the reproductive cancer all egg industry survivors eventually succumb to. It is for Sweet Pea, Clair, and all their sisters we protest the egg industry and create sanctuary. For the sake of these girls, please be egg-free.


Meet the New Chicks (Time to reconsider hatching projects.)

Hello, again!

Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple

It's been a busy, snowy winter at Tamerlaine and we're very much looking forward to the spring! Gabby is busy planning the garden where we grow food for all the sanctuary residents, as well as ingredients for sauces, jams, and (of course) hot sauce we sell to raise funds for the animals. We've brought on a few new fantastic interns to help us out with farm and gardening work, fundraising efforts, and our social media happenings. Hannah, our new full time farm intern, just survived her first week on the job! Congrats, Hannah! Peter is training for the upcoming race with his competitive vegan running team, Strong Hearts, who will graciously be helping to promote us and fundraise on our behalf. And I've been up to something particularly exciting: naming some of our newest residents! 

Kit

Kit

At least in one corner of our little sanctuary, spring has seemed to arrive early. A few weeks ago, we took in 19 baby chicks who are all really, truly, painfully adorable. They are healthy and happy and growing fast! And while we are so thrilled to welcome them to our family, their origin story is not so cheerful. 

Our little babies, sadly, came to us through a teacher who had acquired them through a hatching project he had conducted in his classroom. Hatching projects are pretty popular, and it's easy to overlook their faults. It seems like a really fun and engaging way to do some hands on teaching. Some schools use the opportunity to teach about biology.  It also seems like a great way to educate kids about responsibility and how to be gentle and treat animals with respect. However, some often overlooked aspects of hatching projects make them important to reconsider...

Maisy

Maisy

I vaguely remember a hatching project from my own childhood. I don't recall a lesson plan or what I learned about the biology or anatomy of a baby

chicken. I remember the sticky looking heads of the new born chicks and marveling at the miracle of a new life being born before my eyes. I remember yellow fluff and the exciting sound of little peeps. I remember feeling happy. I didn't question where the eggs had come from or what would become of the baby chickens. I instinctively assumed that everyone had the best intentions in mind for such beautiful, fragile babies. I'm sure most people don't give much more thought to the fate of hatching chicks than I did when I was a kid.  Surely, anyone bringing any kind of baby into the world would ensure it's safety and well-being. But of course this is not always so. This is a lesson we all slowly learn as we grow up. For humans and animals, the world can be a treacherous place despite, or due to, the intentions of others.  I'm sure most individuals conducting hatching projects find no immediate fault with the programs. The excitement of seeing babies born, and watching children witness it with wonder in their eyes, is enormously fulfilling. But despite best intentions, hatching projects can do more harm than good.

Lennon

Lennon

Common criticisms of hatching projects include chicks being born with deformities or early fatalities if eggs are not handled properly, and the effect it can have on the children witnessing their pain. Concerns have been raised about chicks being born outside of school hours that may not get the immediate and motherly attention they require. Many educational alternatives exist to teach kids about the scientific lessons included in the project. But, of course, the major appeal is interacting with the baby chicks. Personally, my biggest concern comes at the end of the project. Where do the chicks go when the project is concluded and the chicks need homes? While some teachers find placement for the chicks before the project begins, I don't find this to be a common occurrence. The teacher who contacted us was instructed to send the chicks back to the hatchery the eggs originated from, but reached out to us when he discovered they were to be raised for meat. Understandably, many adults feel guilty sending chicks off to an ill-fated end after watching the children become so attached to them in the classroom, and after growing fond of the chicks themselves. Animal shelters report dealing with unwanted chicks from time to time—and given limited space or resources may choose to euthanize them. Working at a farm sanctuary, I'm aware of how hard it is to accommodate these chicks even if they do find a forever home. It's hard to tell how many will grow up to be roosters—and roosters like to rule their own coop. Oftentimes, even roosters raised together from birth will fight aggressively when they near their

Vincent Vega

Vincent Vega

maturity, making it hard to find them their own safe and comfy living space. Additionally, chickens have rather complex health issues at every stage of their lives. Unfortunately, they are prone to disease and can carry e. coli and salmonella (among many other contagions), making the handling of chicks risky and the introduction of new birds to any backyard flock or sanctuary a complicated process involving thorough health checks to make sure the new additions don't make other birds sick, and vice versa. While all these reasons seem to make hatching projects look like more hassle than they're worth, I think my own bottom line comes down to this: There is simply no need to bring any more animals into the world who will be in need of homes. While I am so happy to welcome our 19 chicks to the sanctuary, and they are incredibly loved here, they fill space, time, energy and resources that could be used to save animals who are already in the world and are in need of rescuing. This is not unlike the prompt to adopt companion animals rather than purchase them from a pet store. So many animals are already in need, and so many shelters are overwhelmed trying to find forever homes for animals. We simply do not need to bring any more chickens into the world. Many of our residents here at Tamerlaine were adopted from other sanctuaries so they could make room to rescue others. 

Dottie

Dottie

We made a deal with the teacher who reached out to us. Please, no more hatching projects! And in return, we'll do a presentation at his school educating kids about the animals at our sanctuary, and what they can do to help animals, too. If a sanctuary is nearby, a field trip instead of a hatching project could be an extra special way to interact with animals, and offer a memorable learning experience. 

If you know of a local school conducting an annual hatching project, please encourage them to do some additional research on why they can be less than ideal and offer some creative alternatives. 

Sid Vicious

Sid Vicious

We'll be getting you acquainted with more of these babies as they grow, but in the meantime we have an exciting opportunity for you! All but four of our munchkins have been named, and we are letting our fans and supporters come up with names for our remaining chicks. To help raise funds for the additional supplies we need to care for them, we're requesting donations of $5 or more for each bird you'd like to submit a name for. To submit names, please visit our donation page for complete details

Amelia Earhart 

Amelia Earhart 

Amelia was the first chick we named, and it came pretty naturally. Amelia is named after the daring world explorer, Amelia Earhart. At just about two weeks old, she was gracefully flying up and perching on the edge of her little coop, well before any of the others. And it seems Amelia is a pretty good teacher. We split the flock in half after they started getting bigger, and quickly noticed that three or four other birds were eagerly flying their coop with Amelia, while the chicks in the opposite coop stayed cautiously on the ground. While we assumed Amelia must have a serious case of wanderlust, it also turns out that she just likes spending lots of time with us humans. When we sit down in their larger play area, she'll fly up onto our backs and trot her way onto our shoulders, to sit and curiously watch the others. When she perches on the edge of her coop, she doesn't search for a way down like the others, but looks up at us as if she wants in on our conversation. "Hey, guys! Whatcha talkin' about?" She is a sweet and fearless little bird, and so lucky to have found a safe place to live her whole life through. 

Fern

Fern

Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt

Gidget

Gidget

Mrs. Mia Wallace

Mrs. Mia Wallace

Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton

Keiko

Keiko

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Stay tuned for more introductions to the animals here at Tamerlaine, and some exciting plans for Spring! We will be eager to have volunteers to help us out once the weather improves, so if you are located near the tri-state area, consider a weekly trip to the country!

Until next time, chickpeas :)

Love, Maddie

New Kid on the Block!

2.14.15

Oh, hi there! It's been a little while since we've updated the blog. A busy, snowy winter has brought a lot of excitement and a few new faces to the farm- human and otherwise :)

I guess it's about time that I introduce myself. I'm Maddie, the newest (human) addition to the Tamerlaine family. With a new flock of rescued chickens that found a home here in October, some extra help was needed on the farm. So, in a leap of faith, I went from part time volunteer to full time animal caretaker. I quit two jobs, packed up my things and my fluffy room mate, Buttercup, subletted out my apartment in Greenpoint, and relocated my life to Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary. Accepting the offer to work and live here was incredibly exciting, and also completely terrifying. I felt it would be a huge turning point for me- in my personal life and my activism- and I was right. It's almost been 3 months since the move, and it's hard to believe how much can happen in such a short amount of time.

IMG_9350.JPG

The animals have completely taken my heart hostage. They have been a source of inspiration and strength- encouraging me to be a louder, more confident voice on behalf of all animals. They have been a source of happiness and laughter- like when the cornish hens saw snow for the first time :) They have been a source of profound fullfilment- knowing that the work I do, every day, is helping animals in such a meaningful way. They have been a source of comfort- on particularly hard days, and when the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl. That was rough... And they have been a source of sorrow, too. Factory farmed animals are not bred to live long, happy, healthy lives. Even when they are rescued, they still often face a slew of health issues. Every time a member of our family passes away, it feels like a devastating loss. It never gets easier. And you still have to face the day, get the job done, and care for the other animals knowing that you give them all a safe and loving home for as long as they are here, and that's an important role to fill. My job is often hard, but always tremendously rewarding. And you'll be hearing a lot about it :)

Today, I am the luckiest girl I know- getting to celebrate Valentine's Day with 66 happy rescued chickens. This morning I greeted Lucie, one of our sweetest girls, by squatting down in the doorway of the barn and calling her name. She walked right over to me and into my arms for a hug and a good belly scratch. Oh, my heart! I'd take chicken hugs over chocolate and teddy bears any day :) It's crazy to me that I ever used to eat these sweet birds. On Valentine's Day, it seems fitting to say that if you love animals, the best way you can show them is to keep them off of your plate! 

While blogging on behalf of Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary, I'll be sharing lots of stories about the animals and about what it's like to live and work on a farm animal sanctuary. I'll most likely share some thoughts on current events in the animal rescue world, some links, some recipes, some conversations with like-minded friends and colleagues, and some other fun stuff and important info. 

Next week, I'll be introducing you to some new residents that will most definitely make your heart melt- so stay tuned!

Much love, on this special holiday. It's so nice to meet you! I hope you get a lot out of what I have to share :)

-- Maddie


People's Climate March NYC

If you live in New York, you probably heard about (or attended) the People’s Climate March on Sunday, September 21st. The date was carefully selected as a prelude to a UN summit where leaders from all over the world met to discuss climate change. The goal of the march was to spread awareness about the causes and dire impacts of climate change, such as the millions of people who have already been affected by these global upheavals. We attended the march as an example of solidarity as well as to influence these leaders into supporting a global agreement to reduce climate change pollution.  

Photo By: Shadia Fayne Wood

Photo By: Shadia Fayne Wood

More than 400,000 people turned up on this grandiose day, sporting themed T-shirts and signs bearing clever slogans. (One of my favorites: “Frack off, Gas-holes!”) A plethora of causes and organizations were represented at the march, from anti-fracking advocates to church groups to international ambassadors. The diversity of people present was awe-inspiring.

One of these represented groups was…. The vegan group, of course! Animal agriculture is hugely relevant to global warming, and many people are starting to make that connection. In fact, animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of global pollution, and going vegan is the number one way to reduce your personal carbon footprint.

Where does all this pollution come from, you ask? Many aspects of animal agriculture pollute and degrade the environment. Jonathan Safran Foer writes in his book Eating Animals that between transportation, methane, and production, omnivores are responsible for seven times the amount of greenhouse gases that vegans are. Fossil fuel energy is a crucial input for many farms, and their activities result in the release of carbon dioxide, emissions of nitrous oxide from inorganic fertilizer, and methane emission from cattle digestion and manure. That’s A LOT of output. And for those arguing for sustainably raised grass-fed beef: free-range cows actually produce double the amount of methane as factory-farmed cows. (When it comes to global warming, methane traps about 20 times as much heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide).

And these are just the environmental issues pertaining directly to climate change. Other environmental concerns include the volume of waste produced by farm animals (130 times that of humans), the negative impact on our water and food resources, trophic level inefficiencies, and more.

So what better place to promote veganism than at the biggest climate event in human history? There were many vegan and animal rights groups marching together, spreading awareness to a relatively receptive crowd.

Photo By: Nell Alk

Photo By: Nell Alk

As with any event of this magnitude, it was crowded and people left trash behind and not everybody was there for the right reasons. Unfortunately, some media personalities pointed out that a lot of litter was left behind by those attending the march without calling attention to the fact that this was the biggest march for climate change in human history. Any event with such a huge number of people is going to result in an abundance of trash. Since more people showed up for the climate march than were expected, perhaps organizers underestimated the amount of trash receptacles that would be needed. And is it entirely the fault of the attendees that they had disposable coffee cups and had to take a fossil-fuel powered train to get to the march? It seems to me that we can primarily blame the systems in place rather than the individuals, as we do with many other environmental issues. One wouldn’t blame a single person for the vast amount of damage caused by the palm oil industry, just because that person purchased a tub of Earth Balance. That would be unfair and unproductive. These problems should not be attributed solely to individuals, but rather to the systems and policies and structures we have in place.

Photo By: Robert van Waarden

Photo By: Robert van Waarden

 

But I digress. Ultimately, it was hugely moving and reassuring to see such a wide range of people mobilizing for this cause. I couldn’t help but get misty during the poignant moment of silence at 1:00 pm. To be in a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people, linking hands overhead and standing in absolute silence, whatever the reason, is bizarre and emotional and awe-inspiring. And I’m convinced that those world leaders at the UN this week can still hear the voices of 400,000 people ringing in their ears from the noise that was raised afterwards.

I want to close with a powerful quote about the environmental ramifications of consuming animals. Gernot Wagner wrote in his book But Will the Planet Notice?: “Don’t eat animals. Saving the planet is in a different league altogether. It’s not something that can be resolved by yourself, or in a personal conversation between you and your God. It’s between you and the seven billion people breathing the same air, drinking from the same interconnected water system, and looking to the same sun for light, energy and heat.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here Come The Tomatoes

I am so excited for this years tomato crop.  After raising tomatoes in my bedroom on top of our dressers last year (much to my husbands dismay) I was very disappointed with the crop.  The weather was just plain crap from the beginning.  My poor tomatoes that I had watched and carefully watered and pampered for three months were not happy once planted in the ground.  There was an actual frost the first week of June and then rain all summer which made for mealy tomatoes.  I did make a lot of sauce and paste!  Just finishing up the last jars from last summer.  I will be making my eggplant lasagna for my memorial weekend guests.

This year my husband graciously let me use his ping pong table.  I set up a new grow room in our brand new cellar.  We have over a hundred tomato plants.  Here is the list.  

Hillbilly Tomato - is an heirloom cultivar originating from West Virginia in the 1800s. This fruit is considered a beefsteak tomato weighing 1-2 pounds. It is round, heavily ribbed and its skin and flesh is orange- yellow with red streaks. The flavor is described "sweet and fruity" and is low in acid.

Ramapo Tomato - I am so excited to be growing what is the epitome of the true Jersey Tomato. here is an excerpt from the Rutgers University Website.

 "When it was introduced to commercial growers and home gardeners in 1968, the Rutgers-bred Ramapo tomato quickly became a favorite. And no wonder, even among a field of great varieties, this hybrid was easy to grow, robust, and prolific. Plus, the fruit was plump, round, red—and most of all—flavorful. For some gardeners, the Ramapo became the Jersey tomato, summer in a bite.  But from about the late ’70s through the ’80s, commercial growers shifted their favor to firmer hybrids that could better weather the trip from farm to market. In pursuit of that remembered flavor, desperate home and commercial growers would beat a path to the one place that still had the seeds—Rutgers.  For years, the university doled out small batches of seeds, but fell far short of a demand that grew as more people looked for the tomato of their memories.  After years of searching for a commercial partner, Rutgers found a company in Israel that could produce the seed on a large scale and reintroduced the Ramapo in 2008 to much fanfare and attention."

Oxheart Tomato - Oxheart tomatoes are large old fashioned heirloom tomatoes that are yellow, pink or light red in color.  They have wonderful tasty fruits that are good in sauces, cooked or eaten fresh.  I will be using these in my sauce!

Tomatillo Verde -  Anyone who has had my tomatillo sauce knows that this was a logical choice.  I cant wait to make my Tempeh Chimichurri and walk out to the garden and pick my tomatillos fresh off the vine.

Yes! Hampton Creek saving the world by taking the egg out of the equation!

Transient

I have been waiting for my local Whole Foods to put Hampton Creeks's first product "Just Mayo" on the shelves.  Everything that I have read and seen about this product assured me that it would be amazing and it is!  As Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods said, "It tastes just like the mayo that my grandmother used to make."  It is truly the best mayo on the market first because of the taste and second because of the billions of chickens it has the potential to save.  About 90 percent of eggs produced today are not sold to eat as the egg itself but are sold for the millions of baked good and products like mayonnaise that are on the market.   And they are not stopping there, oh no!  Hampton Creek will be coming out with a product that you can actually scramble, omelette, frittata or anything you would want to do with your typical "Egg Beater" type product.

Funded by prominent Silicon Valley investors and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Hampton Creek Foods seeks to disrupt a global egg industry that backers say wastes energy, pollutes the environment, causes disease outbreaks and confines chickens to tiny spaces.

Nile Cappello of the Huffington Post did a taste test by baking cookies with real eggs and another batch using the "Beyond Eggs for Cookies."  

These were the results.  "Overall, it appears that this vegan egg substitute is generally a competent fraud -- and, according to many editors, even a bit better than real eggs. And unlike real eggs, Beyond Eggs have a longer shelf life, are less expensive than their battery-produced counterparts, and have added health benefits (in addition to the whole animal-cruelty-free thing)."