Light rain refreshes the green weeds outside my window as I write this first post for the new Eastern Shore Sanctuary blog. A feral hen hustles her two chicks under the shelter of a large-leafed plant. Two black-and-white ducks — former foie gras factory inmates — stretch their large wings to catch every drop of the rain that has been too scarce this month. A group of adolescent White Leghorn hens and roosters — survivors of an ill-conceived hatching project — hide out from the rain in the woodshed along with a couple of barn cats, themselves refugees from domestic violence.
Last year, the rain didn’t fall at all. The water table, already depleted by over-pumping by the farmers who “grow” birds for the local poultry industry, dropped precipitously. Our pump worked harder and harder to bring up less and less water, finally giving up.
Thanks to donations from friends of the sanctuary near and far, we were able to install equipment extended the reach of the pump along with rain barrels and other water conservation measures. But there were some long, hot weeks of hauling water in from elsewhere that made the impending worldwide water emergency much more real to us.
A year later, the yards have recovered from the drought and the sanctuary — now in its ninth year! — is still going strong. While we had to back off from educational activities for a while in order to concentrate our limited resources on direct animal care, we came roaring back at AR2008 with three new reports intended to strengthen the capacity of the animal liberation movement to create substantial change. Our revamped website will be going live any day now. And here’s our new blog, which we’ll be using to share sanctuary happenings as well as news and views of interest to our supporters.
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