Polly and Mel Sharman have been volunteering together for SAFE for over 12 years! We say thanks to these animal champions.
How long have you been volunteers for SAFE?
Polly - since shortly after we came to NZ nearly 14 years ago. Mel - started a year or two later.
How do you feel SAFE contributes to animals?
SAFE plays a massive role in informing the public of the true reality and extent of animal exploitation and abuse in New Zealand through its campaigns, advertising, stalls, petitions, work in schools andannual appeal. It also devotes a lot of time and resources to pressuring farmers, retailers and others to abide by existing animal welfare legislation and, in addition, lobbies the government to improve that legislation and therefore the treatment of animals in all the areas in which they're used.
What do you do to try and make a difference?
We are involved with and support SAFE and other animal welfare groups as much as we can. We also practise a strictly vegan lifestyle. Polly is a passionate cook and especially loves cooking for others and sharing the enjoyment of vegan food with both vegan and non-vegan friends.
What would a perfect world look like for you?
A kinder, more compassionate and caring world - one in which all sentient beings respect each other and all forms of violence are non-existent. A better world for animals. A vegan world - probably a pipe dream! We could think of several more ideals but these will do for starters.
SAFE Auckland volunteer coordinator Zimena says: "Polly and Mel have been absolutely amazing, taking the initiative to circulate petitions around neighbours and friends, and placing posters and petitions at their local haunts. We love seeing them at the Annual Appeal every year and are really grateful that even with everything else going on in their lives, they still make time to advocate for animals and support SAFE. We really appreciate all their hard work!"
Would you like to be a superstar for animals in your area? Sign up now
Volunteer of the Month: Evelyn Sparks
Since becoming involved with SAFE in January this year, 18 year old Evelyn has put her hand up to help at every opportunity possible!
When she's not dressed up in animal costume collecting petition signatures on the streets she's helping at the Chirstchurch office doing just about anything that needs to be done. She even gave up her entire weekend to man the stall at the Christchurch Pet Expo.
Evelyn adores all animals and is crazy about her two guinea pigs. She has a great eye for animal photography too and takes some stunning photos of both pets and wildlife. Watch out David Attenborough!
We love having Evelyn in the Christchurch office. She always brings a smile to our day with her crazy animal hats and even crazier sense of humour.
We think she is a star and well deserving of the volunteer of the month title.
Volunteer of the Month: Jayden Jameson
"One of our newest and most active young volunteers is 13-year-old Jayden. He came along to a volunteer introduction evening three months ago, and as a result of finding out about the cruelty of factory farming has become a vegetarian. Since then he has been an absolute star, putting up his hand for everything," says SAFE Auckland volunteer coordinator Marianne McDonald.
Jayden says, "I have always been a huge animal lover. I hate to see animals suffer. I had always wanted to get out there and do something rather than just sign petitions." And he's been doing just that, volunteering at every opportunity and collecting masses of signatures on the Ban Colony Cages and Party Pills petitions. He's also arranged for a SAFE speaker to visit his school to talk at assembly and attended SAFE information evenings.
Jayden has lots of animals at home: cockatiels, budgies, dogs, cats, fish and a freshwater snail. His hope is for "a world free of animal cruelty where people treat animals as their equal".
Thanks Jayden, you're awesome!
To sign up as a volunteer in your area e-mail email@example.com.
Volunteer of the month!
SAFE's Volunteer of the month award goes to ... the fantastic Sophie Walker in New Plymouth!
Since taking on the role of SAFE coordinator for the Taranaki region, Sophie has achieved a great deal and her passion and enthusiasm are infectious. Sophie adopts "end-of-lay" hens from battery farms and does her best to promote hens as wonderful, loving companion animals. Her new volunteer group is gathering momentum fast after a very successful first meeting. Sophie has also been tirelessly collecting signatures for the party pills petition and encouraging others to do the same.... and all this while planning her own wedding, which was last month. What a star!
Why I wanted to help SAFE:
I became a vegetarian at the age of 13 when I found out what factory farming really was. Even at that age, I knew it was wrong. As I've grown older I have learnt more about how animals are used for financial gain, namely by the dairy, cosmetic and entertainment industries. I have adjusted my lifestyle accordingly.
I believe there comes point in each person's life when we have to ask ourselves, 'Are we really going to just let this happen?' My answer was ‘NO'. I could not let it happen. I need to stand up for the animals, I need to set a good example for my daughter and I need to follow my heart. It was at this point I contacted SAFE for some guidance, some direction and heard about the need for a coordinator in New Plymouth. Some things are just meant to be.
To get involved as a SAFE volunteer in New Plymouth or elsewhere in the country sign up now.
MORE fantastic new volunteers!
MORE fantastic new volunteers! And a sad farewell to our wonderful Hamilton coordinator, Theresa Moore.
The SAFE team would love to acknowledge the sheer awesomeness of one of our newest Christchurch volunteers, Sheryl! Since joining the team only 3 months ago, Sheryl has been involved in an array of volunteer activities including envelope stuffing, organising appeal collectors , helping with sausage sizzles and numerous office tasks, and even gave up her Saturday to help us move offices recently. Sheryl's bright and bubbly personality makes her a joy to have around and we are delighted to award her "Volunteer of the Month" for all her hard work and dedication. Thank you, Sheryl
How long have you been a volunteer for SAFE?
Approximately three months
How do you feel SAFE contributes to animals? To people? To society?
SAFE is a huge voice for animals in NZ. Educating people and creating awareness. All done with such passion. Getting out there the message about what really goes on.
What do you do to try and make a difference?
Volunteer, haha! Educate friends when the opportunity arises. Currently trying hard to go from vegetarian to vegan.
What would a perfect world look like for you?
One where everything is in balance. Everyone and thing is treated fairly. Greed no longer exists. People live life and stop always trying to make a quick buck, cut corners and damage our beautiful world in the process.
Sadly, our awesome Hamilton volunteer coordinator, Theresa Moore, will be stepping down from her role to pursue other projects. Theresa goes out with a bang, after Hamilton's most successful street appeal ever in 2012!
Theresa says "I was the volunteer co-ordinator in Hamilton for nearly four years. I joined SAFE as a response to learning of the horrific pig farming cruelty that was occurring right here in New Zealand, and decided I wanted to actively take part in the campaign to end the suffering of factory-farmed pigs. After being vegetarian, and now vegan, for a number of years, I am a firm supporter of all animal welfare issues and being a part of SAFE has allowed me to channel that in a positive way. My favourite part of being a SAFE representative has been speaking to the public at expos and events about SAFE campaigns; engaging people and creating awareness is a truly rewarding experience. I now have to focus my energy on study, but I will continue to volunteer for SAFE as often as I can!!
SAFE wishes to say a HUGE thank you to Theresa for all her hard work and dedication. Theresa, you will be much missed, but we look forward to you still being involved as a volunteer!
Do YOU want to volunteer for animals? Sign up now and find out how to get involved!
A Fantastic Fundraising and Awareness effort!
Julia Plank and her friends from Epsom Girls Grammar School are great advocates for animals, raising money and promoting awareness about animal cruelty. Thanks, girls!
Can you tell me about your animal rights group?
The EGGS Animal Rights Group consists of a small group (around 15) of dedicated animal enthusiasts. We usually do at least two campaigns a year based on animal rights issues in which the members are interested - although in 2012 we did three campaigns with the aim of raising awareness at school and also some money for various organisations.
Why do you care about animals?
Why wouldn't I care about animals? Aside from being extremely cute and lovable, I believe they have a right (like humans) to live comfortably and without mistreatment. However, unlike humans, they do not have a voice, so we try to stand up for them. They feel pain too.
What inspired you to fundraise for SAFE and the animals?
Originally the EGGS Animal Rights Group was run by my older sister and when she was the leader we often fundraised for SAFE. Her encouragement and the many talks that SAFE has given at EGGS inspired me to continue fundraising for animals. We like to fundraise for SAFE as the animal costumes we borrow from them always help us to get that little bit more!
What did your group do to raise the money?
In this particular campaign we fundraised to help factory-farmed pigs. We spent one week of Term Four raising awareness and donations through various pursuits. We performed a play in pig costumes and we also walked around the school in pig costumes during two lunchtimes, asking for donations - with badges or bumper stickers for students who donated. Finally, on the last day of our campaign we had a bake sale - my co-leader, Christine, even baked specially decorated cupcakes with pig faces.
How supportive were your friends, teachers and classmates?
The majority of my friends and classmates were supportive. Some of the students were a little rude, especially when we asked if they would like to donate, but we were prepared for that. We have so many groups at our school and so many causes for students to donate to, it's difficult to persuade people to donate for yet another issue. We got strong support from our campaign from a couple of our teachers. The teacher in charge of our group is always willing to help us.
Are there any animals in particular you want to help?
There are so many important animal rights issues, it's difficult to pick only a few! I definitely feel strongly about the use of nets in the habitats of Maui's dolphins, but factory farming and battery hens are also huge issues. I am also outraged at the possible use of animals for party pill testing.
Is there anything else you want people to know?
When we collect donations at school, a lot of people say "I only have 10 cents; it's not really worth me donating." Even if you think you can't make a big difference, it all adds up.
SAFE star - Bettina Brown
This month we're putting Bettina Brown from Auckland in the very well-deserved spotlight. Her answers to our questions were too modest, so we thought we'd add an introduction better suited to her contributions to SAFE:
Bettina has been a valued volunteer for SAFE for nearly 35 years! SAFE's success and growth would not have been possible without people like Bettina, who has amazing dedication and is tireless in her efforts - a truly compassionate and giving busy bee. Currently, she is managing SAFE donation boxes, raising important funds for our work for animals.
Bettina, you are the star of the century! On behalf of SAFE and all the animals, thank you very much.
How long have you been a volunteer for SAFE?
I first joined SAFE in 1978. For about 20 years I was on the committee, involved in fundraising, in demonstrations, all the usual activism. When I retired from the Committee around 2004, I was asked to handle donation boxes in Auckland, which I still do today.
How do you feel SAFE contribute to animals? To people? To society?
Over the last 30-odd years SAFE has not only made an impressive contribution to the improvement of the lives of animals in New Zealand, but has also put animal welfare firmly in the forefront of public opinion.
What do you do to try and make a difference?
Animals have always been my passion. While my days of activism are over, I do whatever I can locally. For the past 17 years, I've worked with Forgotten Felines, caring for stray cat colonies on the Shore. I have also been the RNZSPCA nominee on a number of ethics committees.
What would a perfect world look like for you?
In a perfect world, all animals would be cherished, their habitat protected, and their rights as fellow sentient beings respected.
STANDING UP FOR ANIMALS
Marie and Kenny Willis are just mad about animals. They fundraise for SAFE, run races in animal costumes, attend stalls and meetings, and even host vegan cooking demos. They talk to SAFE about why being involved is important.
How did you find out about SAFE?
I discovered the cruelty free shop run by SAFE in Auckland. I was delighted that just a few months after landing in New Zealand I had found a vegan shop. I signed up as a volunteer for SAFE at the World Vegetarian Day conference a year or so later.
My husband and I have dressed as pigs, chickens and cows and have done several street collections for SAFE and we recently walked the 'Round the Bays' race. I was dressed in a full pig costume and within a couple of minutes we had attracted a four-year-old friend who apparently loved pigs. We were pleasantly surprised on that walk to receive several comments from fellow walkers/runners to the tune of "Good on you - we support the work you do".
How do you feel SAFE contributes to animals? to people? to society?
I believe SAFE has a very strong voice for the animals here in New Zealand currently and has done a fantastic job of launching the issues of the routine, daily inhumane and insane cruelty we humans inflict upon our animal fellows into the media arena, and into the consciousness of increasingly more people.
I think it has been important that SAFE has been able to utilise technology and the media channels in recent years to champion the cause and bring the issues into the general public domain. Compassion for animals and the planet is no longer a fringe interest for 'lentil-loving hippies'. The world is changing rapidly, the consciousness of individuals and collectives is altering rapidly and SAFE's voice has been a part of this in New Zealand, and has clearly made an impact, judging by the many media stories in the last year or so.
What do you do to try and make a difference?
I am an active volunteer for both SAFE and the Vegan Society. I endeavour to live by example, which involves ensuring that my whole lifestyle and mode of being are congruent with a compassionate way of living. I like to remind myself of the concept of treading lightly on the earth and find that this easily guides my decision-making. I have set up a fortnightly donation to SAFE from my wages to provide a regular and ongoing commitment to the work of SAFE; this was easy to do and something I wish I had acted upon much sooner.
My husband and I recently hosted a vegan feast at our home, complete with a short cooking demo, making our own 'cheesy-sauce' and chocolate mousse. This event was initiated by a student in one of my husband's yoga classes who wanted to know more about living with compassion. During the evening we also handed out leaflets and the 'Go Veg' booklets from SAFE plus provided information about food sources and websites of interest to budding vegans. It was deemed a great success by all who attended. Our spread was very colourful and included a huge variety of textures and tastes - who says vegans just eat lettuce? - there was not a lettuce to be seen at this event!
What would a perfect world look like for you?
A world where every person acted from a place of mindfulness and compassion in every moment. Where everyone took a breath and paused to consider the implications of their potential decisions for the ultimate benefit of everything that must co-habit on this planet.
One of my favorite quotes that still has resonance for us all today is Paul McCartney's famous line: 'If slaughter houses had glass walls everyone would be vegetarian". We would all do well to adopt a stance of curiosity, journey with an inquiring mind and act with a compassionate heart.
AWESOME OP SHOP FOR THE ANIMALS
Invercargill Volunteer coordinator Russell Masters writes:
I would like to introduce to you one of Invercargill's greatest SAFE volunteers: Huia TeMomo. When Huia was a little girl she had a dream of opening an op-shop and living above the shop. Not only has that dream become a reality, she has combined the long awaited dream with her values and beliefs.
From a young age she believed the way we treat animals was fundamentally wrong. More recently images of slaughterhouses made Huia realise how animals are treated when killed for humans to eat. While living in Wellington Huia volunteered at the Opportunity for Animals Op-shop in Kilbirne (which funds the Black Sheep animal sanctuary in Otaki). This gave her the inspiration and experience to work towards making her girlhood dream a reality.
Huia opened Goonies op-shop at the beginning of May 2012. It supports a wide range of animal organisations: SAFE, WSPA, PETA, SPCA, Invsoc (Invercargill Vegan Society), as well as other community-based organisations (like Bellyfull who support families in need). Goonies has a special section in the shop that raises funds for SAFE. The shop is well stocked with information on being vegan, posters and pamphlets and petitions on animal and green issues.
People can help by making donations of clean, saleable clothing, footwear and accessories (no leather please). If you happen to be in Invercargill, make sure to pop in to say ‘hello!'
Huia - thank you so much for your compassion, dedication and support. You are a true inspiration!
84a Spey Street, Invercargill
Ph: 03 2142183
Winter opening times:
11am - 4.30pm Mon/Tues
11am - 5.00pm Wed/Thur
11am - 5.30pm Fri
11am - 2.00pm Sat
SAFE's Fantastic Volunteers!
June 2012 - SAFE would like to acknowledge and thank our fantastic volunteers, who go out and devote their time to us, in rain and shine, storms and earthquakes. Meet Bob & Val from the Tauranga area
How long have you been a volunteer for SAFE?
We first came across Hans way back in the mid-nineteen-eighties in Dinsdale, Hamilton, where he was distributing pamphlets. We took some and gave them out, and subsequently joined SAFE.
How do you feel SAFE contributes to animals and the community?
It is vital to keep animal welfare in peoples' minds.
What do you do to make a difference for animals and the community?
We keep an eye on twenty or so SAFE donation boxes all around the Tauranga area, from Papamoa to Matua, and always talk to the owners when boxes are being emptied, to emphasise the vital part that they, the owners, play.
We also support the SPCA and WSPA, which are obviously also animal welfare causes, with regular donations. The local SPCA is always in need of bedding for their animals, so we collect from our neighbours old newspapers and old towels, for example, and take these regularly to their headquarters here in Greerton. We belong to the Sathya Sai Organisation, and Sai Baba says (among so many other things) that service to man is service to God. We extend that to service to animals, too. They can't speak for themselves, so we must help in any way we can.
We live in a retirement village, and amongst other things, we collect empty plastic containers (such as butter and yoghurt containers) and milk bottle tops and any other containers. Neighbours ring when they have a bag full, and we then collect these and take a bootfull to some of the local kindergartens. The children's faces are a delight so we feel that this is a worthwhile thing to do, whilst helping with the landfill problem.
What is the best thing you get out of volunteering to help animals?
A certain amount of satisfaction that there are people out there who really do care about animal welfare.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Wouldn't it be wonderful if SAFE could be disbanded, because it was no longer needed, and animals were treated at least as well as humans?
March 2012 - Russell Masters is an Invercargill SAFE supporter and has recently taken over the role of SAFE volunteer coordinator there.
Russell is a vegan who converted after watching the graphic documentary Earthlings and who has a passion for vegan cooking and baking. His wife Noelle is also a SAFE supporter, and they share their lives with two dogs, Jag and Kira.
Russell and Noelle previously lived on Waiheke Island where they organised weekly SAFE stalls at the local market. SAFE is delighted to have Russell on the SAFE team.
Russell is keen to organise meetings, potlucks, info stalls and other events in Invercargill but needs your help! If you are keen to help SAFE stop factory farming and other cruel animal practices then please get in touch!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details.
SIZE DOES NOT MATTER!
We think Holly O'Connor, aged 7, is a vegetarian star!
The young Wellington pupil of Cashmere Avenue School, with the help of two senior girls, Milla and Amy, gave out leaflets and sold delicious sweet treats at lunchtime and after school.
Holly also devoted a lot of time making three posters: one describing animal cruelty and why it should end; one describing some of the organisations that help animals; and another describing what vegans and vegetarians eat.
The stall was a great success and Holly successfully raised $45. Great work, Holly!
TAKING CHARGE AT SCHOOL
High school students Amber Kennedy and Lucy Webster decide to set up an animal rights club at their school to defend animals. Amber shares her story.
Upon entering our final year of high school, Lucy and I found ourselves not only as the next school leavers, but as school leaders determined to leave a lasting impact at our school - Wellington Girls' College.
Being both incredibly passionate about animal rights, this led us to start our school's very first official animal welfare club. This year the club has been involved in numerous animal welfare related causes, both inside and outside the school grounds, and has been fortunate enough to have worked with some of New Zealand's most respected animal organisations such as SAFE and the SPCA, whilst also keeping in contact with PETA in the USA.
The school year has passed by in a whirlwind of activity. We found ourselves campaigning and collecting hundreds of signatures on a range of petitions such as the Canadian seal hunt, anti-whaling, banning sow crates and a national Bill that enforced harsher penalties for animal abusers. We were fortunate to have a Wellington SPCA inspector visit our school, where he gave a presentation outlining key animal welfare issues such as the importance of having your companion animals desexed, and he discussed some of the major animal abuse cases. His visit drew a packed room and lots of donations towards their work. It has been our aim this year to not only raise awareness of the importance of animal rights in our school, but also in our community. We have done so by helping SAFE with their public street stalls, holding a Sham (fake ham) give away to help promote vegetarianism.
We find volunteering a fun and influential way to help animals. We are both active helpers at the SPCA's ‘Kids Club' nights. These are based around themes such as ‘Feline Fun' or ‘Animal Ambassadors'. The kids get treated to a presentation followed by fun activities. For example, on the animal paramedic night, we role played scenarios as to what we would do if our animal companion was injured or sick. These nights run on a monthly basis and we have found it really special teaching and educating the next generation of animal defenders.
We are also involved with animals in other areas of our life. Lucy has a part-time job at a vet clinic/cattery and fosters kittens, and I volunteer at my local Cats Protection League shelter in the weekends.
Whether we are watching documentaries on animal rights, discussing the impact the Gulf of Mexico oil slick had on wildlife, running around town in pig costumes (to promote vegetarian alternatives) or simply chilling out and enjoying a cruelty-free shared lunch, we are and always will be giving a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Go Amber and Lucy!
If you would like to volunteer for SAFE or set up an animal rights club at your school, email email@example.com for more info.
POWER OF ONE
Eleven-year-old Kellee Candy of Waikanae Primary School has a determination and maturity far beyond her years. Saddened by New Zealand's shameful factory pig farming practices, Kellee decides to do something about it.
"The thing that sets me on fire is that they make money out of the pigs misery," Kellee told SAFE. "What you [SAFE] do is so awesome and you should be really happy that you are making a difference to the lives of these animals. It is funny how if these factory farmers treated humans like this they would be locked up. However they aren't and that is only because the pigs can not stand up for themselves."
She began campaigning at school with a speech to her class on the subject of factory pig farming. She was soon asked to present this to her whole syndicate. Now Kellee could take her persuasive speech to a national public speaking contest.
When two of her friends decided to stop eating pork products as a result of her campaigning Kellee was delighted. But she was convinced she could do more. She contacted SAFE last month eager to know about the LovePigs campaign and in particular, what Prime Minister John Key was going to do to help! SAFE sent her some information, including a sign up sheet for people who want to receive email bulletins and stay on top of animal issues. Staff at SAFE's Christchurch office were stunned to see Kellee return 14 pages with 252 names of support!
Not satisfied with this fantastic effort, Kellee managed to get permission for every school newsletter to include a LovePigs leaflet, which will reach 500 households. Kellee has also written to David Carter and John Key asking them to ban sow stalls, farrowing crates and fattening pens.
Kellee has proven herself to be an inspiration to her peers and adults alike. With proactive people like Kellee on the same side as pigs, there is hope for an end to cruel farming systems. SAFE would like to thank Kellee for her exemplary compassion towards animals and all that she does to help them.
And her advice for anyone else out there that wants to make a difference?
"Stand up for the animals because they can't for themselves. Volunteer for SAFE, make a donation and even do what I did by spreading the word with a speech or handing out leaflets."
Lena Cosman is SAFE's enthusiastic new coordinator in Invercargill. She says she has long been passionate about animals.
Lena became involved with SAFE four years ago when she answered a call for collectors for the annual street appeal. She says she has long been passionate about animals and their welfare. For a long time Lena knew how meat was produced and three years ago she made the change to vegetarianism. "It is hard to reconcile trying to save the animals and then serving one up for dinner," Lena says. Lena doesn't believe it's our place to treat animals like meat. "They have feelings and emotions. Who are we to decide that animals can just be lumped in a paddock and told when to eat, when to breed, when to give up their children and when to die?"
Lena and her fellow SAFE volunteers in Southland organise stalls, displays, leafleting, protests and regular meetings and get-togethers. She says being an animal activist is a lot of fun, and it is especially good to meet like-minded people. One of Lena's aims in her role as coordinator is to make more people aware that animals have feelings and that there are always cruelty-free alternatives to animal products. "Lentils are our friends and we can eat them! We don't have to wear animals on our skin, face or any part of our being either."
Keep up the great work, Lena!
Anyone interested in getting involved with SAFE in Invercargill can contact Lena at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My name is Sarah and I'm seven years old. I would like to help save the pigs.
I have made a poster that I'm going to put up at school, and I made a video on the computer. We have also given money to the SAFE people outside the supermarket. Your advert on TV made me cry so I thought I could help. Here is a picture of me and my lamb and my grandma's pigs. - Sarah
SAFE'S AUCKLAND ACE!
GORDANA SOKORAC is one of Auckland's top volunteers. Campaign officer Eliot Pryor says he is especially impressed with her enthusiasm and dedication.
Eliot says Gordana's contributions to stalls, events and the Cruelty Free Shop have been invaluable. Gordana has been an active volunteer for just over a year. She emigrated from the former Yugoslavia 15 years ago and first came into contact with SAFE through an appeal collector.
Gordana soon became actively involved volunteering for SAFE together with her daughter Ana. Her concern for animals stemmed from a book titled That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx, which talked about conditions on American pig farms. Gordana says this led to her and Ana becoming vegetarians and later vegans.
This year Gordana graduated with a BA in psychology (congratulations!) and remains busy helping Forgotten Felines by helping to feed a local cat colony. She is also a volunteer for St John's based in the emergency department.
She says the best thing about SAFE is that it continues to spread awareness and educate the public. She sees every action and event as part of a larger package. "If people don't know, they can't make a decision," she says.
SAFE APPEAL AND TROUBLE!
Every year, SAFE spends weeks preparing for its biggest fundraising event. Every year, the SAFE team plans out every detail to ensure nothing goes wrong. And every year Trouble comes walking through the door!
No, not that sort of trouble. Trouble is actually Joan Sampson, one of SAFE's valued volunteers. Unfortunately, Joan is often hindered by ill health but that doesn't stop her from having a passion for animals. Adding to her grief, both of Joan's cats have passed away in recent years and she doesn't feel well enough to care for another cat. Joan says she still surrounds herself with her beloved animal friends however: the neighbours' cats; the dogs; and the resident ducks and local seagulls who greet her whenever she leaves her home, knowing they are likely to get fed. "That's what keeps me going - animals," says Joan.
As well as bringing joy to the lives of animals, Joan collects for SAFE every year.
"One would expect someone so unwell would only manage collecting for a limited time before calling it a day," says campaign assistant Shanti Ahluwalia. "Not our Trouble! She is regularly seen collecting in the streets of Christchurch during the appeal. She collects for a short time, returns to the office for a rest and then goes out again."
Shanti says when he asked her what drives her to work so hard, she responded by saying: "Without SAFE, how could the animals manage? I want to give something back to the animals."
Thank you, Trouble. You're an inspiration for us all to work that extra bit harder.
MEET CHLOE THE CAT
She's clumsy, wets the bed and is not anything like a cat should be, but that didn't stop animal-saving Danielle Gregan from falling in love with her.
Danielle was raised in a rural area, but quickly found that her passion for animals kept her at odds with her surroundings, and so became a vegetarian (and eventually a vegan!).
Determined to do even more for animals, Danielle started volunteering for SAFE and Cat Rescue in Christchurch. She has been a valuable member of the team for both organisations and is always ready to help with anything that would help animals.
Recently, however, this human/cat team ran into a bit of trouble. Chloe started to develop health problems: cerebellar hypoplasia(CH), cystitis and long-term constipation issues. Danielle of course has been getting her all the treatment she needs, but this was costing over $1000 - something that hit her especially hard, since she's unemployed!
Danielle was going nuts, trying to figure out how she could continue to pay the vet bills for her beloved Chloe. But then something wonderful happened.
In her time as a volunteer, Danielle had been becoming part of the animal-loving community. The word was put out, and in less than 24 hours, the community pulled together, and raised $1000 for Danielle and Chloe!
"I'm just completely amazed. This has restored my faith in humanity," said a shocked Danielle.
"Our volunteers do so much for SAFE and the animals," says volunteer coordinator Sacha Dowell.
"I'm so pleased to see that when they need it, the community can give back to our volunteers."
There are certain individuals within SAFE who have been involved longer than many staff members and contribute to the growing success of the organisation. SAFE profiles Auckland volunteer Matt Goode.
SAFE depends hugely on its volunteer network for getting out into the public eye and local communities. One Auckland volunteer has regularly taken part in monthly, and in some cases weekly, activities. At times he has kept the central city stalls running single-handedly, and raised hundreds of dollars towards SAFE campaigns. Matt Goode has taken on various roles in his unpaid SAFE career since first joining a street appeal in 2005.
Matt has a background in computer science and is currently studying ethics and politics at Auckland University. His study times allows him to be flexible with when he can help out, which is an added bonus for SAFE. Matt says studying ethics helped him become interested in animal welfare and rights issues, which led him to being part of SAFE as a way to meet like-minded people.
Matt says he is keen for people to understand how their daily lives can affect the lives of animals, and he is particularly concerned with animals in captivity.
"The use of animals in circuses and zoos concerns me because it's one area that people don't necessarily think about in terms of animal welfare," says Matt.
One big accomplishment was the co-founding of the university animal welfare group Animal Advocates on Campus with another active SAFE volunteer, Miriam Williams. Since forming in 2008 the group has drawn loads of student support.
Matt also gives his time to other worthy causes such as Amnesty International and Youthline, among others. Matt says his favourite animal is the beaver, for its rebellious character, and his favourite SAFE animal costume would be the lion, as he also likes cats! Thanks Matt. You're a champion!
PASSIONATE ABOUT PIGS!
Nine-year-old Leith Hawker is passionate about pigs. He recently chose to do a presentation at his local school about pigs.
Leith made a large colourful poster to help explain the effects of intensive pig farming. He writes: "Pigs deserve to live happy, free lives and we need to help the ones that don't." Since then Leith has been attending SAFE actions with his mother, who is also a keen SAFE supporter. Good on you, guys!
Elmwood Animal Society
Every now and then someone extraordinary amazes the SAFE team with either their courage or determination to help animals. This week SAFE's education officer Nichola Kriek met an amazing young advocate for the animals. More...
Wills Wynn Thomas is a seven-year-old with a passion and drive to help animals that is truly inspirational. SAFE received a letter from Wills' parents with an invitation to speak to Wills' Animal Society group at his school. Wills' mother Victoria explains: "Our seven-year-old son Wills started an Animal Society at Elmwood School at the beginning of this year...the purpose of this society, amongst other things, is to promote awareness of animal welfare...and its members have been meeting during lunchtimes to talk about animals."
SAFE education officer Nichola Kriek attended Wills' school to speak and was amazed and impressed by Wills' maturity and commitment to animals.
"Wills has managed to motivate 20 of his classmates to give up their lunchbreak in order to learn more about caring for animals. That's quite an achievement. I was so impressed with Wills and his group," says Nichola.
"It's great to see someone so young promoting caring values and getting his peers alongside him to support an important cause. Keep it up Wills! The animals are lucky to have you on their side!"
LITTLE CHAMPION, NEVE!
When 8-year-old Neve Soryl was told her family were vacationing in Rarotonga for a winter holiday in May, the SAFE member and animal lover from Christchurch decided she would help the local animals. Neve decided to help a non-profit organisation by collecting donated veterinary supplies to bring with her to Rarotonga.
Neve read about the Esther Honey Foundation (EHF) in an animal magazine. EHF provides the only veterinary care for companion animals in the Cook Islands. The organisation focuses on a neuter and spay programme, whilst also helping any animal needing medical aid. Volunteer veterinarians and helpers from all over the world come to work at the foundation.
Neve wrote to Air New Zealand about her idea seeking their assistance and they kindly offered her extra baggage allowance for the journey. Then she wrote to veterinary clinics in Christchurch asking them to donate supplies such as surgery equipment and veterinary medicines.
Two large boxes of supplies were collected and duly transported by Neve to Rarotonga. EHF helped smooth the way with customs on arrival. A few days later, Neve delivered the boxes and met many of the animals at the centre, including a goat, as well as many cats and dogs of all ages.
SAFE applauds Neve for her initiative and wonderful thought. SAFE director Anthony Terry says she is an inspiration.
"Neve took it upon herself to find a problem and help solve it. In doing so, she offered invaluable veterinary supplies to a cash-strapped charity that would in turn directly benefit animals in need. For an 8-year-old to organise and facilitate an international operation and make such a difference, how awesome is that! Fantastic work, Neve."
If you would like to contribute in some way to the Esther Honey Foundation visit their website