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For Slaughterhouse Escapee, Barry Lamb, It’s Summertime & The Living is Easy

It used to be that if the phone rang in the middle of the night I would fear the worst. All that changed when I became friends with predawn caller, Susie Coston aka the National Director of Farm Sanctuary. Now when the phone rings in the wee hours I get giddy in knowing I’m about to be asked if I’m up for an animal rescue. Yee haw, yes I am!!!

The calls started to happen frequently enough that on mornings when my son didn’t want to go to school he’d sigh, “I hope an animal escapes from a slaughterhouse today”… knowing full well that his sucker of a mom would agree to let him miss school for what she valued as an all too rare life experience.

This May we got one of these calls and headed immediately to The Animal Care Centers of NYC to pick up Barry Lamb. Barry had ended up in someone’s backyard in Queens, NY. Did he escape from a slaughterhouse and go looking for greener pastures or had someone who purchased him from a live market to make a meal of him have a change of heart? Who knows? Who cares? Barry is free and loving every minute of it!

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Barry’s past health history was unknown to us, which meant that unfortunately he’d have to spend some time isolated from other sheep until bloodwork and fecals could be assessed. Sheep are herd animals and find great comfort and serenity in the company of their own so isolation is particularly hard on them. Under our watch though every possible comfort would be provided to Barry to help him feel safe and at home. Susie Coston suggested we make him a temporary “herd”. We filled his stall with stuffed animals and placed a mirror beside him so that he could find comfort in his own reflection. It really did relax him! It was adorable! We even gave him some company in the form of a sheep statue in his pasture (I have no shame in admitting I had one on hand already).

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Barry appreciated his new herd of humans as well. I’m not one for naps but for Barry (wink) I’d join him in his stall with my sleeping bag and enjoy afternoon siestas together.

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Barry’s past was being replaced with a whole new beginning, but a reminder of where he’d been still remained. Barry had a spray-painted orange stripe down his back, a mark that indicated he was soon to be slaughtered. Lambs like Barry are slaughtered between the ages of 6-8 months. Their natural life span is 12-14 years. The stripe served as a grim reminder of the fate that once awaited Barry. It was time to do something about that.

We wasted no time in giving him a nice slow summer shear to free him of this mark. Sheep used to shed their wooly coat in the warmer months naturally on their own but now those intended for wool production rather than meat have been bred to hold onto their coats. Shearing can be a violent and bloody experience when industry values speed over humane treatment but for Barry his shearing was so gentle that at times he dozed off in my arms while my husband, Jon, massaged his little baby head.

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I have never met a sheep that wasn’t exceptionally sweet but Barry just might be the sweetest. And soon he’ll be ready to join the rest of The Daily Squeal herd!


Check out Barry’s Shearing

For those of you who’d like to see some more of Tracey and Jon’s love-fest with Barry during his shearing, click below:

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