I’m Still Standing
With his eclectic mix of colour and an outrageous little “do,” dear Elton John stands before us today.
That he has been able to pick up the broken pieces of his life is indeed astounding, given the emaciated and forlorn state in which he was plucked from that wretched place that kindness had forgotten.
But there, too, is more about this little fellow and his buddies that astounds us.
Their five-toed craggy feet – unique to the Silkie breed, whereas other breeds have four.
Their typically turquoise ear lobes that add a splash of colour, and offer the greatest hint to Elton’s vivacious personality. Indeed, we have chosen well the name of this endearing bird.
Those feathered leg shanks that give his kind an appearance of wearing pantaloons.
Those wispy long streamer feathers that sprout from their crowns and dance wildly in the breeze, yelling loudly of their owner’s masculinity.
And the barbless feathers that cover their black skin, lacking the hooks that would otherwise hold the strands together, endowing these feathered wonders with the typical Silkie fluffy appearance.
An appearance that is almost fur-like to the eye, while silken to the touch.
And speaking of touch, this lad has most certainly done so to our hearts.
Over and over, we have been struck not only by the resilience of these hapless animals, but also by their ability to get along, and just how maligned their species is.
Whilst we can learn of the grim fate of millions of chickens every day at the hands of humans, whether they be those farmed for their flesh such as the Silkies in this rescue, exploited for their reproductivity by way of egg production, or thrust into the grotesque and debased illegal-world that is cockfighting, behind those statistics and injustices rests the lives of individuals just like dear Elton.
Each imbued with wants, needs and personalities as unique as our own.
In the short time we have had the rare opportunity to get to know our 602 Silkie friends, even we have been astounded by this. By how courageously they guard their bodily integrity, by how inquisitively they have taken to exploring the kaleidoscope of their new world, and most of all, by their capacity to forgive.
Silkies, indeed, are amongst the most gentle of beings.
Calling us to question, why cannot we be so?
Propelling us to do all in our power to increase not only their standing in the world but their standing in the hearts of those who seek to oppress them.
Please stand with us in this charter.
Little did we know, on the first night we met Soldier, that the inky darkness of the sky above was to be foreboding of her fate. She, patiently waiting roadside with the humans who had come to her rescue after the vehicle collision that had rendered her immobile.
With his glistening red comb flopped outrageously over his eyes and his body ensconced by the most silky soft of feather boas, made of the real deal, Earl’s haute couture may not look out of step on the catwalk of Fashion Week or even the cover of Vogue.
Whilst it is hard to define, it is easy to feel, just what makes Special special. For it takes but a moment with this happy-go-lucky little chap to intuit this.
With no need for a Coco Chanel creation or Gucci accessory, our Paris and Nicky Hilton are glamourous girls.
Having difficultly seeing his new world around him, at first Peaky Blinders would scoot away at the mere hint of our presence. But now not so.
Within metres of the road the tiny bird fluttered and flipped. At first thought to be a grey pigeon clipped by a fast-moving car.
As farmed animals, in the scheme of things, it never ends well for them. And every action thus far afforded this mother and child had fuelled their point of view.
There is little doubt Brunswick is a beautiful bird. His magnificent plumage captures the eye, whilst the brilliant radiance of his comb and wattles sets the heart a-flutter.
Around 4.40 pm on the 11th of January 2023, hope met the reality of our promise, as the last Silkie rooster was removed from the tiny wire prison that had been his home for heaven knows how long.