Yesterday my friend sent me the following quote and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me:
“even if you are in a minority of one, the truth is the truth”Ghandi
Since working in rescue one of the hardest aspects has been knowing when to open my mouth about something and when to keep it shut. If you speak out at every wrong or injustice you see you get called a liar or a trouble-maker. Is it right not to speak out? The very foundations of our rescue I see as helping creatures that can’t actually ask for help. Is it not our duty to speak out?
The phrase “voice for the voiceless” is banded around alot – but sometimes I wonder whether people actually want to hear that voice (even the people who say it’s what they stand for).
My sister will tell you that I’ve never been good at keeping my opinions to myself and its true. I hate injustice and I am all about loyalty. I have strong views but I like to research them, I like to have evidence and be able to back them up. When someone comes to me to tell me that they have witnessed something wrong, or seen neglect then I absolutely have to be sure they are right before I do anything.
Over the last few years the emotional stress of running the rescue has been extremely high. On a day to day basis we cope with not being able to save everything, financial implications, exhaustion, lack of time… but I’ve always had to deal with attacks from people. Standing up for something has never been easy – stick your head above the parapet and someone will take a shot at it.
Being as vocal as I am often means that people come to me when they do see welfare concerns in other rescues. Yes, there has to be a certain loyalty among rescues and yes alot of people not involved in rescue don’t understand the day to day running. If you go into a rescue and it’s not clean at the time, or its the middle of Baby Bird Season and there are cages of birds then its likely you don’t have a huge cause for concern. Rescues are constantly cleaning but as soon as they finish a cage the inhabitants will likely make it look as if a bomb just went off. If you go in and see poorly birds then you have to remember its a rescue and the majority are injured or poorly which is why they are there.
I strongly believe that if you have an issue with something you see then you should contact the rescue privately and raise it with them – chances are they will be able to put your mind at rest. At Every Feather we have had volunteers in the past who have made suggestions about better ways of doing things or changes and we take them on board – after all nobody knows everything! Don’t get me wrong I’ve never met a person who likes criticism – it’s a hard pill to swallow but rescues are organic and they grow and change which is extremely important. There will always be new medications, new research, new ways. I can honestly say that I rearrange our hospital room once a month because I think of better ways of doing it.
If a rescue stops growing – stops listening – then that’s where the problems start.