Full Name: Sunshine Daydream (he pronounces his name "Shmunshmine")
Sunshine really is the happiest goat ever. Few people can resist Sunny’s giant smile, and handsome long legs. Often seen leading the Piebird parade, Sunshine’s gentle, happy, loving personality acts as a magnet for gentle, happy, loving people... and those kind of people are Sunshine’s favourite! Sunshine’s ability to remain happy and positive despite any challenge (ahem... see www.savesunshine.ca) is an inspiration to everyone who knows him. Happy smiling Sunshine!
by Yan, September 2014
From time to time we all come across a frightful failure of government policy boldly interrupting our peaceful lives. For me, this was the day the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) casually called stating they wanted to kill one of my goat-friends, Sunshine, who lives here in sanctuary on our vegan agri-tourism farm in Ontario.
Sunshine was rescued from the fatal outcome most newborn male goats meet as a result of humans wanting his mother's milk. Being dropped off here, into a life of love, is how his life was saved the first time. Sunshine came to us a very sick baby (from his rough start) and he had to be nursed back to health, making it twice that his life was saved.
Sherry took this initial call from the CFIA and afterwards came and found me out in the barn and said we have to save Sunshine's life for a third time.
Sunshine is a member of our family. He makes us laugh every day and we make him smile -- and oh, he has the biggest smile I have ever seen!
Not much about the militarism of the CFIA's department had previously bobed up into my awareness. They operate a below the radar "eradication program." With the self-serving suggestion of some cheese-pushing lobby group, the Canadian government signed foreign trade agreements that afford the CFIA the terrible power to do alarming things to animal lives.
In these post-hysteria days since the mad-cow scare they have been gifted bloated budgets and lethal powers that can be wielded on suspicion alone. We can all very well understand how commitments of departmental funding can create an atmosphere where witchhunts become a relied-upon justification.
In Sunshine's case it was an imagined connection to a farm that reported a neurological disorder called scrapie. As a mere member of the public it is hard to get a number on how many healthy animals they kill, but for the "eradication" related to this case I have counted that number to be greater than 700 healthy goats, so far.
The first glimmer of a positive outcome came with the many people who wrote us saying that Sunshine's story has inspired them to go vegan and no longer support the dairy industry that would have such things done.
Putting aside the obvious deep emotional trauma of someone wanting to kill a member of your family, it turned out to be the hard edges of bureaucracy that have been the most painful so far. We weathered such outlandish things as them threatening in writing that if we insisted on using a lawyer they would simply proceed with the kill order (we persisted and she is great!).
But this is where this story starts to get a little bit brighter, and through Sunshine we humans are reminded of this tremendous hope around us all. A simple online "Save Sunshine" awareness campaign turned into our farm being occupied by many compassionate strangers wanting to start a human fence around Sunshine. An online petition exploded with 20,000 signatures in the first week, then 30,000. www.change.org/savesunshine
The CFIA has now backed off their immediate kill order -- but instead placed our vegan farm under a legal order of lifetime control (which comes with intimidation of jail-time/fines, and a new host of threats and trauma to our animal-friends). It's a very curious way for them to admit that they made a mistake.
Broad public awareness about such uncouth "eradication programs" can make a department start to feel itchy about their policies. Combined with the awareness of how heavy-handed they handle such matters, this must be inconvenient for their longevity.
Positive blessings are a more enduring territory than hardships. For us, these ongoing efforts to save Sunshine have motivated us to greatly expand upon our sanctuary capacity. Sunshine continues to inspire us all to correct the human-failings and create a more compassionate world for all!