Rescue’s the Theme at the Final Week of Little Veterinary School Summer Camp

The final week of Little Veterinary School Summer Camp for 2017 began on Monday, July 31, with an extended presentation about different kinds of animal rescue. PAHS education volunteer Patty Hurley and education manager Leonor Delgado were joined by Isabelle Knudde from Clorofil and Tracey Thurston from the Humane Society of the United States to teach the students about rescue efforts.

Following an introductory Q&A session with Patty and Leonor about the meaning of “humane” and short description of the differences between wild and domestic animals (farm animals and household pets), Isabelle began her discussion around ways in which farm animals can be our friends. She first focused on how intelligent domesticated pigs are—the campers watched a video in which a pig played a computer game and won repeatedly. The campers also learned about the kind of treatment and confinement pigs are forced to endure on factory farms when they are encased in cages that limit any freedom of movement. The camp director, Joseph Nkansah-Mahaney, then crawled into a cage of a similar size to demonstrate what it’s like for those pigs. Seeing their director “imprisoned” reinforced the concept of cruel confinement for the campers.

Isabelle then passed the baton to Tracey, who introduced her little dog Darby, a rescue from a South Korean dog meat farm. Campers watched a video that detailed Darby’s rescue and eventual re-homing with Tracey and her husband, also present for our session. The campers were able to interact with Darby, who was a bit nervous at having to meet so many new people all at once. The campers told us that they understood how Darby was feeling and explained why he was frightened.

Next, Isabelle resumed her discussion, focusing on the rescue of factory farm egg-laying hens. She used a video to show the campers how smart chickens are—one of her hens, Marjo, learned how to recognize and pick out the Queen of Hearts from a series of playing cards. Marjo was also at the session (housed in a large pen outside the camp classroom), and she readily welcomed the campers’ offers of treats and allowed them to pet her. Isabelle’s friend Sabine McDuff helped with this activity, and along with Isabelle, answered the campers’ questions about Marjo and chickens in general.

PAHS thanks all our wonderful participants in this very rich session—campers have learned so much! We have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to partner with Little Veterinary this summer and look forward to continue to work with this organization.