Sometimes a lesson in determination comes in the most unexpected package. Take for example, Humphrey L. Lamb. This little sheep is no bigger than a teddy bear, and has soft, warm eyes that are clear and eager to accept all the gifts life has to offer. But, do not be fooled, little Humphrey is more than just a sweet face.
Humphrey L. Lamb is a fighter and an advocate for sheep everywhere. The name “Humphrey” was named after the famed cartoon character, “Humphrey Bear.” He was given this name, because like Humphrey Bear, Humphrey L. Lamb cannot speak, and it is this inability to verbally express himself is the stem of his problems.
While Humphrey is seen as an individual to all those who know him, outside of this small group, he is a lamb who is just like millions of others that are exploited for human purposes everyday. Sheep and other farm animals are not seen for the intelligent, emotional, and social beings they are, but rather as commodities.
Through his story of strength and determination, Humphrey shows us all why sheep (and other farm animals) should be seen as “someone” not “something,” and treated accordingly. This is Humphrey’s story:
A Resilient Little Sheep
While he now lives in the care of Edgar’s Mission, Humphrey’s life did not begin in such a carefree place. Humphrey was discovered clinging to the body of his dead mother. The little sheep was only two weeks old, but had already learned how to fend for himself when he was rescued. While it is not known how long Humphrey had been without the nourishment of his mother’s milk, it is rather shocking to see a lamb who could survive without this vital food source. Most lambs aren’t weaned until they are at least a month old – some nurse until they reach six months.
Humphrey, however, had taken matters into his own hooves and taught himself how to survive by grazing. Edgar’s recounts that while this was a valiant undertaking for such a young lamb, it was not enough, “to provide Humphrey with the portly appearance of some of his more well off pals.”
Seemingly, the time he spent caring for himself has made Humphrey more “mature” than his fellow lamb friends at Edgar’s Mission. After spending so much time grazing, Humphrey has lost the suckling reflex and won’t drink from a bottle in the same way other sheep will. To ensure that Humphrey receives all the nutrition he needs, Edgar’s employees have taken to feeding Humphrey with a syringe.
Once Humphrey learned how sweet and delicious his formula is, he took a quick liking to it. But there is a delicate balance that needs to be struck between the amount of liquid formula and solid grass Humphrey can eat. Although he may not believe it himself, he is still a tiny lamb and overfeeding would put too much stress on his rumen, which could cause major digestion issues in the future.
Like all the animals at Edgar’s Mission, Humphrey has his own distinct personality. He is described as the master of showing, “slightly reserved excitement.”
Perhaps it is a testament to his own restraint, but when it comes time for feeding, Humphrey opts to casually stroll out to receive his formula. The other lambs at the sanctuary, however, have quite the opposite reaction: running out as fast as they can the minute dinner is up for grabs.
Where the other lambs are loud and constantly begging for attention, Humphrey rarely makes a peep. Although Edgar’s explains he will call out for assistance when he wanders too far away from the sight of his friends, this usually happens when he is just too focused on grazing to look up and notice the world around him (We all know that feeling!).
Humphrey L. Lamb Finds His Voice
On Humphrey’s rescue page, Edgar’s writes, “it is the labels we place on these creatures that have seen them fall from not only our minds but from our Animal Protection legislation as well … sheep are prey animals, who are hardwired to not exhibit pain they are subject to. And we are certain that if Humphrey could speak, he would tell a different story to those who deny such facts.”
We are all too familiar with the lack of rights afforded to animals in the agriculture industry, and while Humphrey is the cutest little sheep you may ever see, in the eyes of a factory farm, he is no different then any other animal used for “food” or “wool.” The sad result is that these animal are subject to cruel and inhumane conditions for their entire lives, never getting the change to experience life as nature intended.
Humphrey is an exceptional lamb in many ways, but the fact that he was rescued is by far the most significant difference between his story and that of countless others. His determination to live, combined with the kindness of others, has helped Humphrey come to the amazing sanctuary where he now lives. There are still many other determined little sheep out there, what they need is a similar kind act to help them along their way to a happy life. Through the telling of Humphrey’s story, this little lamb has been given the voice than many others have not, and it has made a literal world of difference for him.
So, knowing that Humphrey cannot speak for himself, it is up to us to speak for him and many others like him – so, what will you say on behalf of Humphrey?