Animal Writes
From 27 February 2005 Issue

Oliver: A Farm Sanctuary Rescue Story

Oliver was only six months old when he was rescued off of a cold Manhattan street in January. Just like his namesake, Oliver Twist, this little pygmy goat was orphaned, lonely, and starved for both food and affection when he was found. It seems the little goat somehow escaped unscathed from a live meat market in the city well, almost unscathed. Sometime before he was able to leave the horror of the market behind him, he had four bold letters spray-painted onto his side, indicating that he had been "S-O-L-D."

Oliver was very lucky, indeed, to have escaped when he did, because animals labeled "sold" at market are usually destined for slaughter. Even worse, animals slaughtered within large metropolitan communities are often killed in accordance with painful, ritual slaughter laws. Under these laws, animals killed for food must be fully conscious, and are often hanging by a back leg, when their throats are cut. Sadly, growing urban demand for meat from ritually slaughtered animals has led to an increase in the number of live sheep and goats being marketed in the city for this purpose. As a result, it is no longer uncommon to see abandoned or runaway animals, like Oliver, loose in the city.

Thanks to the efforts of New York City Animal Control officers, Oliver wasn't loose in the city for long. The officers brought Oliver to a city animal shelter and immediately called Farm Sanctuary. After a brief stay at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Saugerties, New York, where he was neutered, and treated for parasites and sore mouth, Oliver arrived at our New York Shelter. Here, he was vaccinated, treated again for parasites, and given all the blood tests he needed before he could journey to his new home out of state. He also happily received more than his fair share of love and attention from our staff, and clearly treasured each new friendship he made.

Today, circumstances for Oliver are far better than they were just a few weeks ago. He is now living with a loving family and another pygmy goat named Henry in North Carolina, and has become quite famous as a result of his harrowing ordeal. Covered by major media outlets, including the Corning Leader ( ) and WCNC Channel 6. Oliver's story has already touched many hearts across the nation. Now safe in his new home, Oliver is finding out how good it feels to be valued, not as a commodity, but just for being himself.

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