Sep 182015
 

feltchicksheep2By Pete Stevens.

Danger! Danger! Breaking News! There has been an unsettling development within AV. Most people think these initials stand for ‘Aberdeen Voice’ but recent reports, received by cable, have indicated that the initials actually stand for a secret organisation known as ‘Alcoholic Vegetarians’!

The aim of this organisation is simple. They will tackle the horrors of the meat industry and their first aim is to systematically end the trade of animals bred for meat.

We are told by a source, beyond repute, who advertises the huge medicinal benefits of marijuana on their personal face-book pages that their first target is to tackle the 8,000,000 sheep bred in Scotland each year.

Rather than focus on any of the major farms in the area, this evil group have decided to concentrate their efforts on a small producer. Their master plan was to gain maximum public sympathy by targeting a local animal rescue charity and discrediting them, thereby endearing themselves to animal lovers everywhere.

How they did this is unclear, but somehow they managed through an operative, a well known alcoholic animal abuser known only by her initials as S.K. (Sheep Killer?) Was to plant true information in the public domain.

Her first cunning plan to discredit them was to inform the public about their secret background. It appears that their so called ‘animal haven’ was simply a front for a small scale sheep rearing facility which raised 20 or so sheep each year raising hundreds of pounds possibly reaching as much as a staggering £1,000.00.

By highlighting the history of the havens owner, a known fraudster with a criminal record she made her second blow by targeting this poor unfortunate, who suffers from a range of disabilities including a brain tumour, emphysema and some other stuff, by attacking her fund raising campaigns to save animals!

Having managed to obtain copies of her public twitter accounts and go fund me adverts she discovered that most of the photos in these appeals displaying ‘animals in need’ were in actual fact other peoples pets, either living happily, or whom had been put to sleep years ago in foreign countries, or even in one instance a real animal somebody actually wanted them to take!

Pictures on their face-book pages also revealed happy healthy animals at their farm, but sadly these proved not to be rescues but simply other innocent animals bred for either slaughter or the public’s pleasure and enjoyment in seeing pictures of cute young baby animals.

S.K. and her many, no doubt drunken vegan cohorts, are seemingly responsible for endangering this ‘safe haven for all farm animals’ by printing facts and therefore responsible for causing public resentment resulting in Death Threats not only against the owner, of this safe haven (now suffering fits as a result) but are also responsible for threats against a group of 6 rescued unknown, unseen Shetland ponies with their babies held, despite all odds, in safekeeping at a secret location somewhere, by somebody who nobody knows!

Feltiesheep1However, all is not lost and support continues for this brave band, against the evil cohorts of ‘anti carnivores’ and the cry has gone out, (no doubt tongue in cheek) for an AK47 to fight off this evil troll who carries a vendetta against honest farmers simply doing their job producing animals for us to eat so that they can save some other animals which we might or might not want to eat….but deserve not to be eaten because they just don’t!

It seems that the will of this ‘not for profit’ but ‘just the same as a charity’ group has decided to hand back the funds they have raised, (just like they handed back the money they defrauded before being found guilty of benefit fraud and sentenced to 180 hours community service, which they ‘only did to save the farm’) has been broken along with the heart of their AK47 loving father who is left pining after the sudden ‘re-homing’ of some of their rescues back to their original owners and no doubt other local rescues.

We can only wonder what they will do with the many donations of goods and services ranging from cctv cameras used in the lambing shed and incubators for raising chicks which were of course only used for the rescue and care of the animals in their safe haven and which had no practical or commercial use at all for the farm side of their business.

We can only hope that the real victims in this sad situation are not the animals, real or imagined, and that justice will prevail and the truth ‘be out’.

Meanwhile we have been informed that during the past two weeks over 300,000 sheep have been slaughtered……but hey! We all gotta eat…Don’t we?

Photo Credit: Fred Wilkinson. Permission granted to photograph animals by new owners Mike and Pat Rae even though the pics were taken before they bought these animals from Fred Wilkinson. The animals depicted have gone to good, loving, permanent homes and their condition will be monitored by the previous owner whenever the new owners invite him round for a booze up … which may be frequent.

Note: All proceeds from the sale have been donated to Newarc animal sanctuary.

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Sep 142015
 

Further questions arise over Northfield Animal Haven’s owner Kelly Cable. Aberdeen Voice can reveal Cable’s past includes a guilty plea for several years of claiming benefits illegally. 

A charity that seeks donations must be wholly above board. Northfield Animal Haven is certainly pushing the envelope as they:

  • Advertise widely that they ‘save all farm animals’ – in truth the owners are also involved in breeding farm animals for sale as meat, claiming ‘everyone knows’ that is how they operate, and claiming that since they don’t slaughter the animals they sell personally, it doesn’t count;
  • Run a GoFundMe campaign to save 6 Shetland ponies in imminent danger – but claim the owner will only allow Northfield to take the animals – which could have been rescued by now;
  • Use the image of ‘Gooseberry’ on this GoFundMe appeal – a white Shetland colt that was dealt with by another animal shelter and needs no assistance;
  • Have similarly used photos of other animals they were not involved with – in at least one instance claiming they were involved directly

Suzanne Kelly reports.

LycomingCowfeat

Misappropriated picture of cow NAH claimed they were attempting to save.

Aberdeen Voice can reveal that Kelly Cable entered a guilty plea for obtaining benefits she was not entitled to. This involved falsifying employment data, falsifying income and not disclosing where she lived. The value of the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit ran to approximately £3,600.

The fraud spanned 2006 to 2009; misleading information was supplied on at least half a dozen occasions. (As an aside, the next time anyone complains they don’t get enough benefits, or that refugees are getting help, remember that benefit fraud is stealing from the taxpayer and from those in serious need).

Kelly and  her then partner borrowed £10,000 for a house purchase, and both signed to repay their share of the loan.

As per Aberdeen Voice’s earlier article, Kelly refused to pay her half, claiming it was not her signature on the loan agreement. A handwriting expert declared that Kelly had signed. The money remains unpaid; the grandparents she borrowed some of the money from have since passed away.

Kelly was also bankrupt; she disputes the date of a document Aberdeen Voice has on this bankruptcy; we await her clarification.

Kelly was irate in one of her communications to the Voice, asking how she could get a mortgage if she had been bankrupt. How indeed someone can get a mortgage who has been bankrupt, who has been found guilty of benefit fraud, and who has a brain tumour is a fair question.

Perhaps the 180 hours of community service Cable did atoned for this fraud. However, when the misleading appeals for funds, the misleading use of animals belonging to others, the unpaid past loan, the bankruptcy are added to this, a picture emerges of someone who may not entirely have been rehabilitated.

While Aberdeen Voice is investigating this operation, Kelly Cable has claimed to receive death threats, claimed to have a brain tumour (presumably the one she had some years back, which she mentions in a handwritten note), and claims to be running a perfectly honest, above-board animal rescue.

Aberdeen Voice initially questioned where these six Shetland ponies are, who owns them, and why the charity is using photographs of animals they have no contact with in its advertising. We would now like to ask whether or not there are actually six Shetland ponies out there in danger of being sold for meat, whose owner will not let anyone but Northfield do the rescue.

Aberdeen Voice would like to ask the Haven if it understands why some people feel they have been misled.

Aberdeen Voice will turn its information over to the relevant authorities, citing particular concerns about finances and misleading advertising. Future developments will be reported.

Realproof2As a parting thought, here is a Tweet from Northfield, claiming they have proved they are real.

The photo is actually from a 2011 Northern Ireland rescue, and is not related to Northfield saving ‘ponies and their babies’.

Saving ewes and their babies doesn’t make the grade however, whatever the Northfield sign and other appeals say.  As to proof the organisation is real, this falls just a bit flat.

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Sep 132015
 

Embattled Northfield Animal Haven is using photographs to fundraise. There is nothing wrong with that – except that the photos of animals purportedly in dire straits were taken from other organisations without permission – and most animals shown were already saved. Aberdeen Voice reveals another deception. By Suzanne Kelly.

GooseberryNFAHIt’s a case of the old ‘Spot the Difference’ game: only there is no difference in the photos.

Pictured right is the GoFundMe page for Northfield Animal Haven that currently has many people worried for the future of six Shetland ponies. Generous people chipped in what they could.

What hard-hearted person could resist this fluffy white pony?

Now meet Gooseberry – pictured April 14 at at Lluest Horse and Pony Trust in Wales.

Gooseberry 2 LluestGooseberry was a colt; perhaps he’s had a sex change and a few foals before needing a Northfield rescue.

Under the misappropriated photo of Gooseberry, Cable has written:

“Have spoke [sic] with the lady today who has the Shetland Ponies safe for us until they come here. Weather permitting it should be this week, cant wait to meet them and give them a new home when they are ready. Thank you to all who has [sic] donated towards getting them here. Hopefully once they are here, people will see that there is no scam going on.”

As far as a ‘scam’ goes, it will be interesting to see which Shetlands, if any, turn up rescued at Northfield.

As for Gooseberry? According to Lluest Horse and Pony Trust website, as recently as July 14:

“Gooseberry has now been successfully re-homed with his best friend Santa.”

Aberdeen Voice confirmed with Lluest Horse and Pony trust the photo was their rescue, it is safely homed, and no permission had been sought to use their image to fundraise for Northfield. It is clear that the photo Northfield used is that of a colt rescued by others, and as such is misleading.

There is nothing on the Northfield GoFundMe page to suggest that this photo is used for illustration purposes only.

Any animal lover would look at this GoFundMe appeal and have no idea that this pony illustrated is not one of the animals allegedly to be.

Any animal lover who saw the initial Northfield appeal post might have been confused or misled on a few other points as well. Kelly Cable refers to the rescues happening on a working farm. A working farm could be any kind of venture – arable crops, herbs, flowers. No one would automatically know that this meant some animals were raised to be sold to fund rescuing others – a moral dilemma if ever there were one.

Lambs to the Slaughter:

Perhaps Northfield should start by rescuing their own sheep, as they do indicate they rescue ‘all farm animals’.

While selling its own animals at Aberdeenshire’s Thainstone market, Northfield wanted to save the ponies which it claimed were:

“under threat of being shot and used over winter as dog food.” 

When their non-rescues end up as meat, this dire warning rings a bit hollow.

Aberdeen Voice published the revelation about the sale of animals at market. Following the article, Cable issued a number of entries on the GoFundMe page which admit the marketing of some animals. These posts by Cable represent that millions of sheep are slaughtered. None of what she says satisfactorily explains why Northfield shows pictures of sheep on its sign and other fundraising sites if they don’t normally save sheep.

Their answer when questioned on this point was that ‘people like to see pictures of all the animals’.

Photo Finish:

Aberdeen Voice spoke to another animal owner whose pony was depicted as needing a rescue. The owner had no idea this photo had been copied and used for fundraising.

The owner confirms that the photo was taken from the internet and reused by Cable without any permission or prior contact. The owner is happy to advise Aberdeen Voice readers the animal in question is in fine health, and is pregnant in fact. The animal’s owner is contemplating a variety of actions, and is less than happy to find her photo misappropriated by Cable.

Cow Rescue is Bull:

While Cable may be happy to sell some cows for meat, she’s into rescuing other cattle.

Cows1twitNFAHTake these for instance. According to Northfield Animal Haven’s twitter page, they only had 17 hours (for some reason).

Northfield Animal Haven also wrote:

“They dumped them in a shed I’ve been feeding them since Friday”

“Thank you if I can raise about a £1000 at least that will get them here food for a few weeks and vet care”

Cowlycos1The truth was just a bit different back in 2011 when Lycospca (based in Lycoming County, USA) wrote about the same animals:

“Thank goodness someone saw these poor animals and called us to check up on them. The owner had grain in the barn and they were ordered to get a round bale. Dr. Hocker took fecal samples to determine if the cows also need wormed. 

“With our intervention, the cows should soon put weight back on. Officer Woltz will be filing charges.” 

However, according to Northfield Animal Haven, these cows are dead. The now closed campaign was continued after the reported death of the animals, and the funds raised put towards the horses.

“RIP to the cows dumped in a shed, I couldn’t save them I tried to get more time and raise enough f… ” – NfieldAnimalHaven – Dec 8, 2014 

“We will continue to share this campaign for anyone to donate to any donations will goto the horses… – NfieldAnimalHaven – Dec 9, 2014 

Aberdeen Voice will be interested to know whether the Scottish SPCA were contacted about these cows.

Coupled with misleading and contradictory statements as to the fundraising activities and 100% dependence on the public (which if they are selling animals to help save others is not quite accurate), these photographs could easily mislead potential donors – some of which were ‘disappointed’ when they learned their money was going to people who send some animals to slaughter. When questioned in detail about whether or not the sold animals are killed she replied:

“I don’t send them [sheep] for slaughter the people who buy them after me probably do but I don’t personally so what I stated was fact….”

There are other instances of this photo ‘borrowing’. In this instance the appeal is to save 6 ponies and their babies.

Pony1twitNFAHA pony with a weeping eye and green halter is shown. In association with the picture, and that of Gooseberry, Northfield Animal Haven wrote:

“Please help to save 6 horses from being killed by donating to our plea”

“make it a Good raise enough to get the transport booked to get these babies  2392 followers £5 each would do”

Again, the photo is from the internet; in this case from a December 2011 rescue in Ireland.

Donkey3

What’s the problem?

There are many genuine animals needing urgent rescue. There are finite funds available in these financially challenging times for people to donate to good causes. When a person donates to one charity, that means another charity is going to go without.

Appeals must reflect facts. When someone is soliciting for funds, the kind-hearted people who make donations are trusting that they are going to help genuine animals, that they are being told the truth, and they are literally being given the full picture. It is essential that we find out what animals have been rescued by Northfield, and how much they have collected in goods and funds.

If a single person has been misled, that is a person too much.

Kelly vs Kelly:

Kelly Cable has indicated on Facebook and elsewhere that she is receiving threatening phone calls which she reported to the police, and that her lawyers are advising her not to answer questions on Aberdeen Voice. She has also represented that she has a brain tumour.

She has written:

“Right this stops now, I am sick to the back teeth of this, we have been a rescue now for three years and have never had such hassle since march when Suzanne Kelly first came at us for selling our lambs not rescue animals since then it has been continual from her. I am not registering as a charity but I have done something else which will put all of our supporters at ease, which as soon as it is through it will be posted.

“I don’t know about anyone else but this really is getting beyond a joke now, all the good that we have done is ignored and to goto [sic] to a previous partner from 15 years ago where you will get one side of a story is scraping the barrel.

“I should not have to discuss my personal life or what happened to me in this relationship ie being threatened to be locked away from my family is just one thing so from now on whatever is written in the voice people can believe it or not. I will continue to go down the legal route with regards to the voice.”

The reference to the ‘previous relationship’ refers to the revelations that she promised to repay her ex-partner’s parents and his grand parents a loan the couple were made. Her share was £5,000. She made representations at the time that it was not her signature on the loan agreement. A forensic handwriting expert was called in who concluded that Kelly Cable had in fact signed for the loan.

Aberdeen Voice is not interested in the details of the personal relationship, but a picture is emerging which throws doubt on the trustworthiness and honesty of the woman behind Northfield Animal Sanctuary.

This is a woman who signed for a loan from a partner’s parents and pensioner grandparents and tried to deny she had signed for it, and was shown to be untruthful in that assertion. People have the right to know whether or not those operating a fundraising organisation are trustworthy. An article addressing the issue of how trustworthy Kelly Cable is – or otherwise – is forthcoming.

A dossier of all information collected by Aberdeen Voice to date will be passed to the police. This will include information from a number of people who came forward with anecdotes alleging financial improprieties after the first article was published.

Elsewhere a Northfield administrator is asserting that I, Suzanne Kelly, am an alcoholic and a liar; they refuse to retract these allegations which appear on Twitter and on Northfield’s Facebook page, where Fiona Manclark, acting as a Northfield Animal Haven Facebook page administrator, repeats these allegations – which of course are denied categorically.

Northfield has the right of reply to this article. Aberdeen Voice has the following questions for Kelly Cable:

*  Where are the six Shetland ponies your current GoFundMe appeal is for?

*  Do the six Shetlands even exist – can we have some actual proof and actual photos?

*  Who is/was their owner – is it someone you know?

*  How do we contact the owner of the Shetlands?

*  Do you accept that the photographs you used in the examples above do not represent the animals you purport to rescue?

*  How many times have you shown photos not of the animals you sought funds to rescue, but of other animals?

* In one case said you ‘managed to get a pic today’ of some cattle to be rescued by you. The picture matches a photograph taken from the internet. How did you manage to get this photograph and were or were you not involved in the rescue?

*  Do you accept that people could have been misled as to what animals they were being asked to donate money towards rescuing?

Aberdeen Voice will continue to watch developments on this story and report.

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Sep 042015
 

Kelly Cable of Northfield Animal Haven (Northfield Farm. Glasslaw. New Pitsligo. Aberdeenshire. AB43 6PX) juggles a host of moral dilemmas:

  •  Raises funds to save ‘all farm animals’
  •  Claims to be wholly dependent on public support.
  •  Sells animals destined for slaughter.
  •  Refused to let other animal shelters rescue ponies free of charge – but she is seeking £5,000 from the public to rescue.
  •  A former bankrupt, once denied signing for a £5,000 loan: foiled by forensic handwriting expert.

By Suzanne Kelly.

Northfield Animal Haven Sign

Kelly Cable of Northfield Animal Shelter, Aberdeenshire, seeks funds cap in hand “to provide a rescue/re-homing centre for any unwanted, neglected, abused or retired equine, farm and small animals.”
This laudable aim appears on at least one internet site seeking donations.

A sign for the organisation depicts a wide range of animals including sheep.

What the sign and many fundraising websites didn’t make clear was that Cable also wears a very different hat: she makes money from other farm animals – selling them at auction where they are likely to end up on plates, not in rescue pens.

Websites which initially sought donations for Northfield to save farm animals now have long explanations from the Cables as to their other business. Long, rambling posts by Cable attempt to justify why they save some animals and sell off others at market. Much of this newly-added prose is down to a recent article in Aberdeen Voice.

The article clarified Kelly Cable’s method of doing business: funds from the animals sold at market are used to support the animals they choose to save.

Despite images of sheep clearly shown on Northfield’s various rescue appeals, the Cables are now adamant they don’t save sheep. Those who look at the pictures and read the initial posts were hardly likely to know that.

On a social media page for the Haven, Cable claimed ‘everyone’ knows about the working farm side of the business. As to using photographs of animals destined for slaughter, not sanctuary, Cable offers this explanation:

“The only reason we post pics of the sheep/cows etc. is because we’ve been asked to. Some of the people who donate and live far away love seeing pictures of all the animals.”

The assertion that people who donate to save animals also want to see photos of the cow destined to become steak and the lamb that’s for the chop is an odd one.

Kelly recently posted on social media:

“all of our supporters are aware of what we do with our sheep”

When questioned in detail about whether or not the sold animals are killed she replied:

“I don’t send them [sheep] for slaughter the people who buy them after me probably do but I don’t personally so what I stated was fact….”

The interest in Cable’s working farm and rescue operations were sparked by her online Go Fund Me page asking for £5,000 to rescue Shetland ponies. Two other area animal shelters came forward ready to rescue the animals without raising the £5,000 for the purpose. These were turned away by Cable, who wrote of a ‘vendetta’ and said the ponies’ owner only wanted Cable to get the animals.

The owner of the Shetlands is unknown at present. The ‘vendetta’ referred to seems to be nothing more than a voluntary regulatory body, REACH, being formed to provide a code of ethics for animal rescue. The Cable school of thought falls far short of this ideology, which says breeding animals is wrong for anyone in the rescue business, as is selling animals, especially for slaughter.

One donor who discovered that the Cables also raise lambs and other animals to sell at local auction market (Thainstone’s) commented:

“Disappointed an ‘animal haven’ sends animals to slaughter. Did you read their reply re. refusing help from Hillside? Sounds odd to me.”

Unhappy donors who learned of the sales, concerned animal welfare organisations, and people who have had past dealings with Cable came forward with serious concerns on her business model and details of a decidedly sketchy financial past.

The Haven is a voluntary organisation, and as such there is little visibility of the organisation’s structure or finance. Transparency, honesty, and clarity are what many potential donors expect of those they support. Potential Northfield donors might be interested to know that Cable was made bankrupt in 2009. Not all of her creditors were paid.

However, when it comes to transparency and honesty, one particular episode in Kelly Cable’s colourful career stands out. She and a former partner were lent £10,000 with which to buy a home together. This money came from her partner’s parents and his pensioner grandparents. The couple each signed a loan agreement for the money in August of 2000. The couple split up after buying the Aberdeenshire home.

When asked to repay her £5,000 share of this loan, Kelly Cable astonishingly tried to claim she had never received the money – claiming the signature on the handwritten loan and repayment agreement were not hers.

A forensic handwriting expert put paid to that claim by examining the document and samples of Cable’s writing. The expert concluded the writing was by the same person, or as the report put it, there were:

“overwhelming similarities indicating they [the loan document and Kelly Cable’s writing] are of common authorship”

It is understood that fundraising regulatory authorities are interested in Northfield’s fundraising activities.

Northfield have announced on social media that they are seeking legal advice concerning Aberdeen Voice’s article by Suzanne Kelly, which can be found here https://aberdeenvoice.com/2015/08/controversial-animal-organisation-declines-pony-rescue-offers/

It is strongly recommended that anyone who wants to donate money to an animal rescue or any other charity should research it thoroughly beforehand, and not rely solely on pictures and testimonials written by the operators.

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Aug 242015
 

Animal Lovers who chance upon Northfield Animal Haven’s ‘Go Fund Me’ campaign to save two Shetland mares and four foals might want to dig deeper before digging into their pockets. The Shetland ponies could have already been rescued by Blaikiewell’s or Hillside Animal Sanctuary.

Northfield turned those offers down and is seeking £5,000 from the public. Is there more to Northfield than meets the eye? What does this Aberdeenshire family organisation do to raise funds? Members of the public, animal welfare organisations and local charities all contacted Aberdeen Voice. Here are some of Suzanne Kelly’s findings and experiences – with more to come shortly.

open day july 15 sign says all farm animals and shows animals northfield actually slaughter USE PICFrom a description on campaign site Go Fund Me, the average person would think Northfield is just another animal rescue charity, and no one else can help the ponies they are seeking £5,000 in donations to help:

“We urgently need your help to save 6 Shetland ponies, there are [sic] mums and their foals.”

“They are under threat of being shot and used over winter as dog food(1). We can make a difference. We can save them and get them here in the care of our rescue so we can rehabilitate them and rehome them but without your help we dont have the necessary resources to make this happen.”

“Please help by donating as much or as little as you can.

“The costs involved are for Transport, Vet Treatment, Farrier and Feed. Our work with the horses will obviously not cost a penny. Time is against us and we dont have alot of it, this needs to happen within the next few days(2)…………………….

“Registered not for profit organisation based in Scotland UK. SCVO 4365.

“Non funded Sanctuary/Rescue for all equine, farm and small animals(3). Run on a working farm in scotland(4). We are totally reliant on the publics [sic] help with donations(5). We have no reserves of monies unlike the bigger rescues. We pay no wages all donations go to the animals in our care. Without your continued support we cannot do what we do. Please give if you can. Thank You.”

and

“We got a phone call last night about this situation, we are working with the people involved to try and stop this from happening, if we had unlimited funds we would take them today. Other charities have been asked and all have refused to help(6) so it leaves it up to us and you the public to help. These Shetlands are young, there are foals of 11 months and two months old, they deserve to live and not be put in a freezer to feed to his dogs. please please help”

In their statement above, I have added numbers to various sentences that people have brought to my attention. There are serious concerns about how the public is being led to think about Northfield.

Northfield Sheep to mart fb screenshot

Facebook screenshot (click to enlarge) announcing the sorting out of sheep to be taken to the mart.

(1) It is admirable that Northfield do not want the animals used as dog food of course. But the same people who run this animal rescue are also people who raise animals for slaughter.

People who have read the Go Fund Me page and subsequently learned of the nature of the other side of the family’s business have been surprised, some appalled.

They raise animals for meat.

This has upset some of the donors greatly.

Many people are unable to understand the ethics involved: what kind of double standard allows a person to determine that Animal A is to be destined for the dinner plate (possibly sold for animal food) but that Animal B is to be cherished/saved/rehomed/pampered?

To this Northfield wrote among other things:

“With regards to my running a farm side on my property, yes I raise sheep and yes I sell the boys and surplus ewes at the local mart, these are sold as store lambs and if you are aware store lambs have to bought and raised on further, they may be kept as breeding ewes or most likely they will go for meat, but I personally do NOT send them to slaughter as you have stated many times.

“This may amount to 20 a year which you may get £50 for each so that will give you an income of around a £1000…”

The fact that Northfield aren’t personally killing the sheep but sell them to others to kill does not exactly sit well with everyone who donates to animal charities.

An October 2013 Facebook screenshot shows Northfield referring to selling pigs sheep and poultry to help pay for the rescues. Another Facebook dialogue claims ‘the farm income is always used for the rescues’.

This makes the claim at Point (5) “We are totally reliant on the public’s help with donations” somewhat misleading, as the sale of lambs (only depicted in the advertising because people like to see them, and not part of the ‘all’ farm animals Northfield rescues) seems at odds with the organisation’s own statements.

(3) (4) Anyone who is now confused as to what creatures Northfield deems worthy of rescue will be further confused should they stumble across other Northfield comments or websites mentioning the venture:

“Rescue, Rehome, Rehabilitate Retirement village for all farm, equinesmall animals.”

go fund me request shows sheep and chickensIndeed one Go Fund Me campaign claimed there were zero funds; it showed a photo of a lamb and chicken. Someone who had read that Northfield rescued ‘all’ farm animals might have seen this photo and concluded these animals were meant to be rescued, not barbequed.

A ‘working’ farm could be an agricultural farm. Despite a claim appearing on Facebook that all their donors know about the meat production business, it is clear that is not the case.

So do they rescue sheep with the right hand, and sell them for meat with the left hand? Well, no – the pictures you see of farm animals, and the claim to rescue all farm, equinesmall [sic] animals is explained thus on a recent Facebook thread:

“The rescues which include horses pigs and rabbits are what we fundraise for…. The only reason we post pics of the sheep/cows etc. is because we’ve been asked to. Some of the people who donate and live far away love seeing pictures of all the animals.”

People like to see pictures of sheep? Presumably these are the same kinds of people who like to see the lobster they are about to have boiled.

(2) (6) The Shetland ponies in question had offers from Blaikiewell’s and from Hillside Animal Sanctuary.

One recent donor on the Go Fund Me page who is a vegetarian told Aberdeen Voice:-

“Disappointed an ‘animal haven’ sends animals to slaughter. Did you read their reply re. refusing help from Hillside? Sounds odd to me.”

Both of these organisations offered to take the ponies – but Northfield has rejected the offers – begging the question how accurate was their claim ‘other charities have been asked and all have refused to help.”

The rationale Northfield used for not letting someone else save the ponies was played out on Facebook:

Northfield Animal Haven Yes they [Hillside, Blaikiewell] did offer help but as I have already explained hillside were part of a vendetta against us earlier in the year so why would they be willing to help now also they are desperate for funds for the animals they already have so this would just add to their situation.
[? it is unknown what ‘vendetta’ is meant – but this could be the formation of ‘REACH’ an organisation seeking to standardise animal charity ethics – which excludes producing animals for slaughter to ‘save’ other animals]

“… Hillside did state things about us before their owner Wendy Valentine, was the person stating things, this is mostly to do with their own opinions and beliefs.
[This may refer to criticism of selling animals for meat at Thainstone]

“Yes I agree with you that we should pull together and I have numerous times before passed the names of other sanctuaries onto people who have contacted me but I couldn’t help at the time, so have told them to contact others, and with the support we have received at the moment these Shetlands are safe and the cost of transport is covered. Which I have said…And lastly, on this particular occasion, Kelly has been asked (and trusted) to take these ponies, and was specifically asked if she could promise that they would only go to her.”

“As you can imagine, this is going to put even more financial strain on her, and she really does appreciate the offer of help (and would love to be able to say yes), but a promise is a promise.

“Hope this has helped you understand the situation more.”

This seems to boil down to Northfield don’t want the Shetlands winding up as food (unlike their farm animals). The unnamed Shetland pony owner only wants Kelly Cable to have the animals – so presumably if Northfield don’t raise the money, it’s too bad for the ponies. The other sanctuaries that have different ideas about raising animals for slaughter while operating to save animals have been discounted from saving the Shetlands.

#                                             #                                             #                                             #

Having waded through screenshots, listened to concerns from people finding Northfield imagery and statements contradictory and misleading, I asked for some clarification. The responses I got back were long-winded, histrionics. Claims were put against me inferring that I said the animals were mistreated, inferring someone was passing around lies and slanderous remarks, etc.

My questions were:

“Do you have a farm side to your business that sells animals at auction for meat? Did any other animal shelters agree to take these animals? Are you part of accredited national group Reach? you are not a registered charity it should be noted. Lastly I am a journalist that has had libellous personal attacks from you/your supporters for asking these questions”

For those who want to read the lengthy response, they will find it on Go Fund Me.

  • I cannot come to terms with someone who will wash their hands of killing – or rather selling so someone else kills an animal so they can raise money to sell other animals – particulary when the images used of the animals killed have accompanied drives for rescue funds
  • A great deal of emphasis is being put on my question about this organisation being a registered charity – this is mentioned in many criticism of me. I am merely making the statement it is not a registered charity. There is far more visibility in the finances and aims of a charity than there is of a voluntary organisation – for which finding financial information is very difficult
  • REACH was set up to standardise ethics and practices for animal rescue groups; as one of its ethical positions is that rescue groups should not have other animals bred for slaughter to support saving other animals – this seems to me like basic ethics.

All in all, if you wish to support this organisation and its appeal to raise £5,000 to save 5 Shetland ponies, then by all means do. However, do so aware that other animals are slaughtered to fund these rescue efforts, that two other organisations had already stepped up to take the animals without the need to demand £5,000 but were turned away, that images of sheep and a statement that ‘all’ farm animals are rescued are not quite true.

As ever, Northfield have a right to reply (NB – they have barred me from Twitter yet told followers I ‘refuse’ to answer their tweets; they have also barred me from their Facebook page).

Confused? A website, UKsponsorship.com has this to say:

“The principal aim of Northfield Animal Haven is to provide a rescue/re-homing centre for any unwanted, neglected, abused or retired equine, farm and small animals.

“Our aim is to offer each animal a loving home where they will never again have to suffer abuse, neglect, abandonment or starvation. Please support us”. http://www.uksponsorship.com/a1875.htm

Just not the kinds of farm animals someone might want to eat.

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Aug 172015
 
tashilhunpomonkspic2

Tibetan monks from Tashi Lhunpo return to Aberdeen for the first time since performing at Queen’s Cross Church in November 2011

With thanks to Paul Kohn.

Monday 24th August sees the return after four years of Tibetan Monks to Queen’s Cross Church Sanctuary in Aberdeen.

The dances and music are performed by Tibetan monks from the Gelugpa Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, a sacred world filled with the chanting of Buddhist texts, the recitation of mantras, ringing of bells, blowing of trumpets and beating of drums.

Recreating the mysteries of Buddhist monasteries, Tibetan monks from Tashi Lhunpo offer a dramatic presentation of sacred dance, music and prayer with traditional costumes and ceremonial masks.

Founded by the first Dalai Lama in the 15th Century, Tashi Lhunpo is one of the most important monasteries in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Re-established in exile in South India it is becoming one of the major centres of Buddhist learning, best known for its artistic tradition of masked dances and sacred learning.

The show comes straight from the Edinburgh Fringe and is part of a three month tour
of UK and Europe organised by Tashi Lhunpo UK Trust.

The performance will be held at Queen’s Cross Church Sanctuary, at the corner of Albyn and Carden Place, at 7.30 p.m. on Monday 24th August. Tickets on
the door cost £8.00, concessions £5.00. Doors open 7.00pm

May 292015
 

There are thousands of animal welfare charities that compete for donations; but scratch the surface of some of them, and you might not like what you find. Are animals well treated? Are animals being bred to fund such ‘charities’, rather than encouraging animal sterilization and adoption? Are some so-called shelters asking for donations to ‘save’ animals with one hand sending animals to market and slaughter with the other hand? Some local charities have banded together to help would-be donors know what kind of organisations are out there. With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.

willowsgeese

Geese at Willows Animal Sanctuary – Credit: Rob Scott for Aberdeen Voice.

In light of recent events, four well-known animal welfare charities have formed a new organisation known as RE.A.CH to represent ‘Reputable animal charities’.

The aim of RE.A.CH. is to set a ‘baseline’ standard of excellence that all members are required to meet. All members of RE.A.CH  are registered animal charities that conform to the following declaration:

  • They are No Kill
  • They will never deliberately breed from their animals.
  • They will not fund their rescues from the sale of animals.
  • Members will strive to provide the best environment for their rescues, the best veterinary care and when rehoming animals or releasing wildlife, to do this in the best interests of the animals involved.

A spokesperson for the group said:

The group has been set up to help assure the public that the support they give is being treated in a responsible and ethical manner. The public can be assured that animals that come into the care of any RE.A.CH member will be well looked after by knowledgeable, experienced people who have the ability to provide long term care for them.”

As the law stands anyone can set themselves up and call themselves a ‘sanctuary’. It is important to point out that these so called ‘animal rescues’ are not official charities, they are under no obligation to account for the funds they raise, how they are used, what they do with them or how they provide for the animals in their care.

It is disturbing  to see groups or individuals asking the public to fund their animals under the banner of ‘not for profit’ or for ‘a charitable cause’ when they may have questionable knowledge, no accountability and no set standards of care and in some cases little or no actual experience.

Often many of these rescues start off with good intentions, but soon run into problems through overcrowding, lack of experience and of course, lack of funding leading them on a very rapid descent where they are suddenly faced with outstanding vet and feed bills which soon becomes an animal welfare issue resulting in either the animals being put down, panic re-homing to unsuitable homes or other sanctuaries having to pick up the pieces.

We felt it necessary to form a charter outlining our responsibilities. All of us need the support of the general public to continue our existence, but we are constituted to do so in a responsible manner.”

The four founding members of RE.A.CH are:

  1. Blaikiewell Animal Sanctuary
  2. Halfpenny – Farm Animal Sanctuary
  3. The New Arc
  4. Willows Animal Sanctuary

Between them they currently care for over 1000 animals. The plan is to extend membership of the group to encompass other reputable animal welfare organisations who are prepared to meet the necessary criteria.

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Nov 282014
 

Deborah Cowan made the trip last Saturday, 22 November, to Willows Animal Sanctuary & Animal Assisted Therapy Unit’s Christmas Open Day. Here is her account of the visit.

 Willows pigs by Deborah CowanMy partner and I, with the best of intentions, have been meaning to get out to Willows for about three years now. Something always comes up, and until last weekend it was something we always talked about doing but never got around to.
Then a good friend of ours mentioned the Christmas Open Day and we decided to put words into deeds. We were so glad that we did.

Saturday November 22nd greeted us with dreary grey skies and a depressing cold drizzle which very nearly crumbled our resolve, but Willow’s weren’t cancelling so we decided that we wouldn’t either.

Donning warm clothes and sensible shoes, we headed out from Aberdeen with some classic Nick Cave on the car stereo and a watery sky creating some beautiful lighting effects across the various hills and fields along the way.

It really is a lovely drive out there. Willow’s is located just past Ellon in Pitsligo and we were there before we knew it.

And so was everybody else. What a turnout. The weather held and people came. The car park was full and there was a wonderfully festive, family atmosphere.

First stop, the gift shop. Full of all sorts of nick-nacks, I found a brand new pair of Wellington’s for a fiver. And my partner found two collectors item Cat Stevens records that he’s still chuffed about. But I digress.

We spoke with a very friendly young man who sold us our new treasures and asked him how long he’d been with Willow’s. Turns out, he had volunteered there for two years and had recently become a full time paid staff member. You could see how happy he was about that and how much he loved his job, and it reflects in the care of the animals. So many animals.

We paid our tiny entry charge, (only £3 each) and noted the cafe that housed our future caffeine fix and we were then let loose inside the sanctuary proper.

Kids and adults alike were having a grand time and so were the numerous free roaming cats who were making the most of all the attention they were receiving.

I have never seen so many chilled out cats in one place. They were everywhere. Sleeping in the straw next to the ponies, hanging out on top of the stall fences and winding themselves around our legs looking for a good ear scratch. And who am I to deny a cuddly cat a good cuddle.

Needless to say, I didn’t get very far to start with. At one point I was attending to two cats simultaneously while a third tried to climb on my lap. I had forgotten how lovely it is to scratch a cat behind the ears and listen to it purr.

willows cat by Deborah CowanWe followed the cats and the people out of a lovely old stone barn that housed the Shetland ponies and the Cat Hotel, and discovered a cosy warm shed that houses the rescued lizards, turtles, snakes and even hedgehogs. Each habitat was immaculate and it was clear how well cared for each animal was.

Adjacent to ‘The Beastie Hoose’ was one of a number of stables, home to the numerous rescued horses that have found their forever home with Willow’s. Again, each animal was relaxed and clearly well cared for.

Some happily munched hay and ignored us while others sniffed us hopefully for treats.

Each beautiful horse had their name and history attached to their stall. Every one of them is in a significantly better place now.

By this time I’d lost my partner who was off looking for the bunnies. I turned a corner and was greeted by some very curious chickens and a peacock. No, wait…Three peacocks. All with full plume and one of them showing off said resplendent plumage to a couple of indifferent chickens who were playing hard to get. The species barrier didn’t seem to bother him but he was at least being quite gentlemanly. Perhaps he should have bought them dinner first.

I could hear goats and a donkey braying up ahead so I left my pretty friend to it and after being waylaid by yet another affectionate cat (this one called Simba, who would grab my hand with his paw when ever I tried to leave) I came across some adorable goats, a very shaggy Llama, two spectacular owls, a ferret enclosure, some very sleepy ducks and…. the bunnies.

You may have worked out by now that we’re rabbit people. There’s just something about a cheeky, binkying rabbit that will steal your heart when you’re not looking.

They are the UK’s third most popular pet and also the most misunderstood. Because of that, people buy them as novelties not realising the level of care that goes into looking after a rabbit properly. So it was great to see the impressive habitats that Willow’s have set up for the rabbits in their care.

It was around now that the gentle acoustic guitar music that had been playing on the out door speakers was replaced by the voices of numerous children from the Pitsligo Primary School who were performing their Nativity play. Cute children everywhere. Have I mentioned the wonderful family atmosphere? I can’t think of a better place to take kids of any age for a fun day out.

A lot of the donkey’s and horses will let you gently stroke their noses and teaching kids early on the value of an animal in such a fun and interactive environment is priceless.

I spoke to another staff member. A pretty young girl in her mid-teens who was still in school. She too had been volunteering for a long time and helped out every weekend. She hoped to also work at Willow’s full time one day and to see such dedication in one so young was a wonderful thing.

With so much to see and so many cats to cuddle, we hadn’t even made it into the barn yet that was full of market day stalls. With such a great turnout of people, hopefully they all did well and there was certainly something for everyone.

brass band at Willows by deborah cowanWithout realising it, nearly three hours had passed.

The brass band set up and started to play wonderful Christmas Carols and we went in search of that pre-arranged coffee. I’m not joking, it was one of the best cups of coffee we’ve had in years.

On the way back to the car, I realised that I hadn’t taken a picture of the lovely foursome serenading us, so they very kindly posed for me and then played a beautiful carol. What a way to end a perfect day.

We waved goodbye to the fat, happy pigs by the gate on the way out and unanimously agreed that we had had an awesome time.

The love and dedication that goes into looking after the multitude of animals in Willow’s care is inspirational. It’s clear that it’s a way of life for the people who work there and it reflects in the demeanour of the animals.

We left feeling like we wanted to be a part of that too. Willow’s is a very special part of the Aberdeenshire community. They are often the last resort for many of the animals in their care and with our support they can continue to do what they do so well.

We will be there will bells on for their next open day and we’ll be taking our friends with us next time too.

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Sep 262014
 

willows auction necklace by Alex Penter of Bead PopBy Suzanne Kelly.

Artists, shops, craftspeople and supporters have created a Facebook auction page for the Willows Animal Sanctuary. The auction will start on the 30th September, and end one week later.

A wide variety of items are available: from jewellery to cosmetics, perfume bottles and quilts.

Willows Patron Paul Rodgers of Free, Bad Company and the Firm, to name just a few of his many vehicles, is offering autographed goods as well.

Paul and his wife Cynthia Kereluk have been very generous with their time and financial support. Paul will be performing with Deborah Bonham at the Royal Albert Hall in November, with proceeds going to the Willows.  Deborah Bonham and her band are likewise supporting Willows.

bath setCosts continue to spiral upwards, and animal abandonment goes hand in hand with increased food and veterinary care costs.

If you need help with an animal, do not abandon it.  Please call the Scottish SPCA for help and advice; they are on 03000 999 999.

The auction will start at 7 p.m. on Tuesday 30th September.

If you want to bid or donate, please get in touch now.

Vikky McDonald who works with animals at Willows said:

“The auction is to raise funds toward our enormous winter feed bill! Any support would be gladly received.”

The Willows Animal Shelter is near New Pitsligo in Aberdeenshire. They never put down a healthy animal, and are reliant on donations to feed, care for and home over 300 animals, farm, domestic and wild, that have been abandoned, hurt and neglected.

More on the Willows and its animal assisted therapy programme can be found here:  http://www.willowsanimals.com/

Jul 122013
 

By Suzanne Kelly.

As Blaikiewell Animal Sanctuary and Redwing Riding School continue to fight for a fair settlement, First Minister Alex Salmond has weighed in, suggesting the matter be expedited and handled fairly.

The sanctuary for 60 horses and its associated riding school sit in the path of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route; compulsory purchase orders mean they have to find more land.

Finding suitable grazing fields, stabling and habitat for the rescued animals is difficult, much more so when the compensation on offer did not take account of the needs of the sanctuary’s animals. 

Any new site has to offer as much grazing land as the present site; the cost of feeding horses is continuing to increase; grazing over the summer months helps alleviate the costs.

The increases in the costs associated with keeping horses and ponies has led to a nation-wide epidemic of vulnerable animals being abandoned.

When rescued, animals are often in need of immediate veterinary care and shoeing.

Bureaucrats even threatened to halt last Saturday’s annual horse show, even though they did not need the show grounds.  Negotiations have thus far not reached a compromise.

It seemed at one stage Transport Scotland was trying to treat Blaikiewell and Redwing as simply being a commercial entity; the truth is that Redwing exists to slightly offset the considerable costs of feeding, stabling, shoeing and providing veterinary care to more than 60 horses.

However, there is much public support for Blaikiewell, witnessed by several petitions, local politicians and concerned supporters and Alex Salmond sent a letter of support to Keith Brown, MSP, Minister for Transport and Veterans.

In this letter of 3 July, Salmond asks for Brown’s assurances that:

” …. both Transport Scotland and the District Valuer are engaging fully and properly with Ms Petrie and that all viable options for compensation and relocating are explored.”

Mavis Petrie said: 

“We are very pleased that Alex Salmond is looking into the situation and we will keep him advised of developments.”

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