Bowerbird Australia

Q&A with Edgar’s Mission's Pam Ahern

Marisa Stefanovich1 Comment

Bowerbird Australia are proud supporters of Edgar’s Mission – a not for profit organisation which is dedicated to providing a sanctuary for animals in need, as well as actively raising awareness for fair treatment and cruelty-free living, which unfortunately is a widespread problem for farm animals. By donating funds from each piece of Origami jewellery sold, Bowerbird Australia is able to provide one animal with food, clean water, shelter and medical assistance for up to two weeks. 

We thought we would sit down with Edgar’s Mission founder Pam Ahern, and ask her all there is to know about this remarkable charity – read on for our Q&A with one amazing lady.

 Edgar Alan Pig

Edgar Alan Pig

What made you want to start Edgar’s Mission?

Short answer, three words – Edgar Alan Pig.  Longer Answer, Edgar’s Mission represents the marriage of my lifelong passion for animals coupled with my sense of justice and desire to make a difference. When Edgar came into my world, I had little idea the direction into which it would be tugged. The idea came about from taking Edgar for walks in the park and people’s responses to him. It got me thinking that the best ambassadors for changing the way people think about farmed animals are the animals themselves. Whilst I can speak to people’s minds, Edgar spoke so eloquently to their hearts.

With Edgar centre stage in my life, he reminded me of how we as a society have been guilty of playing favorites when it comes to animals, of how poorly understood farmed animals were and how there was just no place for them when they became lost, neglected or abandoned. So with society keen to offer protection for cats, dogs, and wildlife, the need for a safe haven for farmed animals was clearly evident. In providing a sanctuary for Edgar and other farmed animals, these fortunate ones have become ambassadors for their not so fortunate brethren, all the while we spread our simple message of kindness with the world asking everyone this very important message “if we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others, why wouldn’t we?”

 Edgar Alan Pig

How did Edgar’s Mission get its name?

The story goes…

The arrival of James Cromwell, ‘Farmer Hoggett’ from the hit movie “Babe,” in Australia in May 2003 represented a golden opportunity to highlight the plight of pigs and our flawed animal protection legislation that says some animals are "more equal" than others. James, a passionate animal activist, readily agreed. It was decided it would be a good idea to get a photograph of James and a pig. Great idea, but where do we get a pig from? An approach to a children’s farm revealed that if we parted with $150, they would be happy to let James have his photo taken with a pig. “Pigs!” was uttered and we then had the brilliant idea of ‘procuring our own pig.' And procure we did from a piggery, a landrace large white cross whom we named Edgar Alan Pig. A sanctuary was then needed to provide lifelong, loving care for our porcine star. So we created such a sanctuary and named it in his honour, Edgar’s Mission and life for all changed forever. Today literally hundreds of animals lives have been saved due to this humble pig. Some pig indeed!!!

What does Edgar’s Mission do?

Edgar’s Mission rescues neglected, abandoned, orphaned or abused farmed animals. We offer these animals a lifelong sanctuary where they can live out their lives free from fear or exploitation. Because we cannot save them all, our mission includes education and public outreach. 

Why is it important to shine a light on the treatment of farm animals in Australia?

Because many Australians do not know about the common farming practices that are perfectly legal but also very cruel and not consistent with people’s beliefs of not causing harm to animals.  People are not aware that the laws that protect our domestic pets do not apply to farmed animals. Basically, the way an animal looks has determined their treatment, not their ability to suffer or their desire to experience joy, freedom, and a long natural life. Caging animals so severely they cannot freely move about, performing surgical procedures without any pain anesthetic or pain relief and intentionally breeding animals to suffer welfare issues are just some of the cruelties farmed animals are routinely subject to. Most Australians care deeply about animals and would never knowingly wish to cause them pain, yet sadly many of the choices they make in life do this very thing. Good people causing bad things to a happen simply because they are not aware of the consequences of their actions. There is a huge push in Australia at the moment for truth in labelling of products, yet sadly little is ever relayed about the particular animal involved. Clearly, industries do this for a good reason as many people who be horrified to realise their food not only had a face but a rich emotional world.

Whilst at Edgar’s Mission we will never tell people what to do or not do, we most certainly encourage them to think and be informed consumers. It also needs to be considered that the ramifications of caring for farmed animals has enormous benefits, and not for the animals themselves, but for people and the planet as well.

How many animals has Edgar’s Mission rescued to date?

Literally thousands upon thousands.

What are two things can we all do to live happier, healthier lives and lessen our contribution to the cruelty of animals? 

1. The simple answer would be for people to stop eating animals and 2. Become a positive role model for others by being well informed about the issues and embracing kindness in every interaction and aspect of your life.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had so far being the director of Edgar’s Mission?

Seeing the transformation in both animals and people as we inch towards that kinder world for all.

Do you yourself follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle?

I have been a vegan for almost 30 years.  This means that my diet, my clothing, my household products (to the best of my ability) do not contribute or support any animal cruelty or exploitation. I believe becoming a vegan is one of the most powerful and positive things one can do with their lives…for the animals, for the planet and for one’s personal and spiritual health.

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What is your favourite vegan/vegetarian recipe?

Put firm tofu in mixing bowl, mash well and stir in salt & flour. Form into small balls and deep fry in oil until golden brown. Drain well.

Chop pineapple. Slice green pepper into thin slivers. Chop spring onions finely. Put vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, & cornflour dissolved in pineapple juice into a wok or large saucepan & bring to boil gently, constantly stirring until thickened. Add tofu balls, pineapple, green pepper and spring onions and simmer in heat for 2-3 minutes.

Serve immediately (on brown rice).  

Sweet and Sour Tofu Balls
(from The Tofu Cookbook,  L. Leneman)

455 g firm tofu                           
½ tsp salt
2 tbs plain flour          
Oil for frying
1 green pepper                             
2 spring onions
115g tinned pineapple in its own juice
3-4 tbs cider vinegar or wine vinegar  
3-4 tbs raw sugar          
2-3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs cornflour dissolved in pineapple juice

How do we get involved?

I think the best way to get involved is to sign up to receive our newsletter and to follow us on Facebook. In this way, you “meet” and get to know our animal residents as well as become more informed about the issues faced by farmed animals. We sometimes have petitions for people to sign or we ask our followers to join in our campaigns. Farm tours are a great way to meet the many rescued animals for benefit from the kindness Edgar’s Mission is able to shine in their lives. And of course, all of this couldn’t happen without people sharing our belief in a kinder world for animals. It is only through monthly donors, bequests, and donations that Edgar’s Mission’s lifesaving and changing work is possible.

https://www.edgarsmission.org.au/donate-now/

Our founders featured in Brisbane News: Sum of Us

Marisa StefanovichComment

Workplace perks

Cup of coffee sparks enduring romance

Marisa Stefanovich • 27

Michael and I just celebrated our fifth anniversary as a couple and have been living together (in Ascot) for two years and two months. We met when I was working in a cafe and he was in the office upstairs and used to come down every day for his coffee.

I asked who he was and we started talking. I was pretty obvious that I liked him. He asked me to his birthday and we went from there.

We soon became inseparable. The fact that he is ridiculously lovely is what drew me to him in the beginning. He is so loyal and very generous; he would do anything for you.

I started doing some of the graphic design for Michael’s jewellery company Cotton & Co a year after we got together. My (graphic design and jewellery) company Marisa Kate Designs is now under the umbrella of Cotton & Co. As a graphic designer I mostly design the website, although I have helped design collections.

I’d call Michael an entrepreneur because he’s always got so many ideas going on. He works a lot at the moment and we are both so busy.

I have to drag him away from work because he will do it until he sleeps. He’s a workaholic.

Michael Cotton • 31

My head office for Cotton & Co used to be at West End, above the cafe where Marisa worked. I would be designing jewellery while she made my coffee.

We have designed a couple of jewellery collections together, which is something I enjoyed, although we did have some differences of opinion. She’s a bit more levelheaded and down to earth than I am. If I go a bit crazy with my ideas, she brings things back to a level that’s more manageable.

Marisa’s a lot more classic and simple in her styling, whereas I like antique styles with attention to detail. I think they both have a place in the market so it’s good that we can get a balance between the two of us.

We go overseas a lot for work to source our gems from Brazil and Africa, and we have them cut in Thailand.

I would say I’m romantic. I like to surprise Marisa, and I’m taking her to New York and Fiji in September. We both love travelling and we also try to be active and outdoorsy. I also buy flowers regularly; I don’t need reminding to do it.

I try to separate work and play, but it’s hard to relax and have down time when you’re trying to build a business. I usually work seven days a week, but Marisa made sure I had four days off over Easter.

Ambassador Series

Marisa StefanovichComment

Bowerbird is the quirky little sister in the Cotton & Co family.

With an amazing charity affiliation with Edgar’s Mission, where with every piece sold Bowerbird contributes to the fresh water, food, medical access and safety of farm animals in need, this is certainly a brand that goes above and beyond aesthetics.

The beautiful Origami inspired designs in fine sterling silver, make Bowerbird a collection that can be worn everyday, with every outfit.

The gorgeous Kate Nutting from Pretty Dresses In The Laundry is the perfect brand ambassador for this unique jewellery collection.

Kate perfects street style with her alternative styling, pairing vintage tee’s with cute overalls and lives in her favourite Adidas Originals.

Girly with a side of cool, Pretty Dresses in the Laundry looks stunning in layered Bowerbird pieces, worn with paisley and floral garments, and even just a classic plain white tee.

When designing jewellery and creating a brand, we have a vision of the amazing customer in mind. Who wears our pieces, where does she shop, what does she read, what coffee does she order?

We were so delighted with the opportunity to collaborate with Kate, a great Brisbane fashion influencer, to see how she brought our collection to life, and she certainly did not disappoint.

Photography: Bridget Wood Photography
Hair & Makeup: Black Avenue Hairdressing
Styling: Al & Annabel Collective