This is the video transcript for the guest chat which took place on The AR Hub on the 30th October 2010
The video comes in 5 parts
The main 11pm time displayed is UK time, for a more local time either see the list of times below or check the World Clock
Just enter the date in the converter as 30th October 2010 and the time as 23/11 pm. choose "UK/London" as the from time and then choose your local area as the To Time Zone. Hit convert and you will have your local time for the guest chat :)
Brief List of Global Guest Chat Times
Australia (Sydney): 9am 31st October
Australia (Perth): 6am 31st October
Australia (Darwin): 7:30am 31st October
Canada (Halifax): 7pm 30th October
Canada (Toronto): 6pm 30th October
Canada (Winnipeg): 5pm 30th October
China (Beijing): 6am 31st October
Denmark (Copenhagen): 12am 31st October
France (Paris): 12am 31st October
Germany (Berlin): 12am 31st October
Ireland (Dublin): 11pm 30th October
Italy (Rome): 12am 31st October
Japan (Tokyo): 7am 31st October
New Zealand (Wellington): 11am 31st October
Russia (Moscow): 2am 31st October
Spain (Madrid): 12am 31st October
USA (Boston): 6pm 30th October
USA (Washington DC): 6pm 30th October
USA (Chicago): 5pm 30th October
USA (Denver): 4pm 30th October
USA (Los Angeles): 3pm 30th October
UK (London): 11pm 30th October
We fully expect an interesting and intriguing guest chat with Peter and hope you can all make it :)
Interview With Shaz KellyShaz Kelly is the founder and administrator of the Avalon Guinea Pig rescue based in Nottingham, England.
Q1) Hi Shaz, thanks for taking part in this AR Hub interview. Can you please start by telling us about yourself?
Shaz: Hi ,well I run a guinea pig rescue in Nottingham with several unpaid staff. I work normally 4 hours per day and the rest of the time is devoted to looking after the guinea pigs here at the rescue.
Q2) How did you come to start working with Guinea Pigs in the first place and then start your own rescue dedicated to guinea pigs?
Shaz: I started by having 2 of my own which were mis-sexed by the pet shop,the female then had babies which we kept as pets then we decided there are way too many guinea pigs out there unwanted and looking for homes,sadly there aren't many guinea pig rescues around
so we thought the best thing to do was to pay out and get lots of hutches and cages and advertise ourselves as a place where people could bring their animals that they had no time for rather than just dumping them,which sadly people still do
Q3) You have a commendable spirit which can only serve to help the guinea pigs :) How long has the rescue been in operation and what is the maximum number of guinea pigs you can hold at
any one time?
Shaz: Thank you, well we started about 5 years ago but became " official " 3 years ago ( with our own website etc) the maximum number we can have here at any one time would
be around 150-170 guinea pigs, that's using part of the house to put indoor cages etc in as well as the hutches in the garden and shed.
Q4) With such experience you must have experienced dreadful situations but also fulfilling moments of joy. Can you give us an example of your worst and best experience during your time as a rescue?
Shaz: The worst experience was from an old man that breeds rabbits and guinea pigs,2 boys he gave us were covered in huge deep wounds on their backs,the wounds oozed infection so they were taken to a vet,after 5 weeks of treatment they sadly both died as the infection had eaten through the holes into their lungs and killed them,the vet said that the boys had been left like that for weeks before got them for them to be that bad,it was heartbreaking to lose the little guys as they had such lovely personalities and despite being pulled about having their wounds treated day after day they didn't complain the best experience was a little girl we called Sweetpea,left to die ( by the same breeder) on a shed floor after giving birth to 6 dead babies,24 hours later she was laying on her side bleeding and couldn't stand up,we brought her home and after 5 weeks of massage on her legs,bathing her wounds ( holes underneath where rats had chewed at her) and helping her walk again she was re-homed. there was also a boy piggy we called Alf,brought to us by the RSPCA,he had been dumped on a common in a pile of shavings,his skin from head to toe was thick and crusty and split where he had tried to turn his neck,his eyes were closed due to infection,people thought he was some kinda of hedgehog and didn't recognise him as a guinea pig,we bathed his sore skin with soothing gel and managed to " peel off " the old crusty skin,which left him with no hair all over,we put drops in his eyes and continued with the soothing gel,after 4 weeks his hair started growing back and he put on 500gms in weight,he was placed with a baby boy guinea pig and both were re-homed a fortnight ago. There are times I have shed so many tears over the state of some of the piggies we have had come in,and still they keep coming in.
Q5) Many will remember the online campaign called "Old Father Hubbard" which was mainly brought into the open by yourself. This was where an elderly gentleman who lives locally to you was responsible for creating a hell on earth within his property. An avid breeder of many small
animals and obsessed with profit over life the animals in his care where living in horrendous conditions. Can you give us an update on this situation?
Shaz: Sadly its still going on,as far as we know he was banned from selling from his house,but thanks to 2 girls who went undercover he sold them 2 rabbits,they had been there a week or 2 previous and got a bun out that's constantly being treated by the vets,according to the girls the animals living conditions are worse than before,there was a petition sent out for people to sign but instead of it going to where it should have it mistakenly got sent to him, he now has the names and addresses of people who signed that petition and is going to those peoples houses posting threatening letters through peoples doors,the letters state the people are going to get hurt unless the campaign against him is dropped,the Police are involved as the letters are being taken to them..but while all that is going on he is -still- selling them at the Melton Auction and also buying them from the auction too, i dread to think of the cold and hunger the animals at his place are still suffering in this cold weather,it seems to be going on
Q6) Sounds very frustrating, hopefully things will get better soon. Please keep us updated! Running a rescue can be emotionally draining, how do you manage to keep it together in times of stress?
Shaz: Its extremely frustrating and as you hopefully it will get sorted soon. Sometimes I just sit down and have a good cry, I think the only way I keep it together is by thinking of those guinea pigs that need us and that if it wasn't for us most of them would probably be dead by now, I do lay awake some nights thinking about them, the little creatures get me through so much bad stuff, other times I go to the York Air Museum and chill out with the guys that work
on the Victor Bomber ( I am part of the Victor Bomber Crew up there) that takes my mind slightly off the bad things, but they're always there in the back of my mind no matter what I do, listening to some Pink Floyd helps a lot too ( as daft as that may sound)
I don't do holidays anymore as too much time is taken up with the rescue,last time I went away to Berlin,a pet sitter looked after the piggies..or should I say " should have " looked after, but sadly we came back and she hadn't done her job properly and due to not putting hay and clean water in when they needed it ( it was mid October) we lost 30 in 3 weeks,2 of them were our first piggies that we had so now I don't bother really going away anymore.
Q7) Sorry to hear that Shaz, losing a companion can be horrific especially when you work so hard to make sure they have a comfortable life! To change the subject a little :) Vegan/vegetarian diets are one of the biggest talking points of the animal rights movement, are you either vegan or
vegetarian and if so when & why did you make that change?
Shaz: I'm now Vegetarian,it changed me when i went to the Melton cattle auctions and saw how the cows and sheep etc are treated down there, all crammed into lorries,beaten with sticks and basically looking sick and ill next door to the auction is the slaughterhouse and there's a certain part where cattle are sent straight into there, queueing up to die..,also what changed me funnily enough is when we stayed at a pig farm in Wales a few years ago,and I saw how the babies were born etc and then the farmer described which ones were going for slaughter. animals deserve a go at life as much as we do,the conditions where animals are
kept before slaughter are deplorable,and I have always said if it has nerves it has feelings, every animal deserves a right to live
Q8) First of all excellent work in having a vegetarian diet, we at The AR Hub are supportive of ALL measures which help the animals no matter how big or small. How have you found the vegetarian diet and what is your favourite vegetarian meal?
Shaz: It takes some getting used to but there wasn't a lot of meat I like anyway
my favourite food is actually Waldorf Salad, I could eat it by the ton !
and Goats Cheese and Honey Ravioli, anything with salad.
Q9) Do you see yourself working towards a vegan diet or do you feel the vegetarian diet is sufficient?
Shaz: I think the vegetarian diet is sufficient for now, I don't think I can go fully vegan yet, I love my goats cheese and salads etc
Q10) While The AR Hub would recommend the vegan diet we would never alienate anyone who is vegetarian. The road to veganism is a stepping stone procedure and as long as your on that road that is the main thing :) Your involved with some online activism, how has your experience been with interacting with other activists online?
Shaz: Its been great, there are some really nice and very helpful people, and so very friendly, it certainly opens your eyes to what goes on behind closed doors.
Q11) Care to elaborate?
Shaz: Any problems or questions that I have had regarding the campaign we're doing against that certain person I actually feel like I have got backing for once rather than us trying to struggle through alone, and that everyone are like minded regarding animals rather than " oh its just an animal "
Q12) Glad your finding it so helpful. Before we wrap up this interview I just wanted to ask about funding. It can be hard financially running a rescue, how do you deal with this aspect of it?
Shaz: We really struggle big time, we had to pay out of our own money to set it all up, we had a large grant from a pet superstore but that went nowhere, we haven't even made enough yet to cover everything we paid out in the beginning. We make appeals for hay and food etc but hardly get anything in return. The only money that's made is through donations when one of the guinea pigs is re-homed and now more people are giving them up its costing more each week, it costs around £150 every 3 weeks for food, most pet food suppliers when they're emailed and asked for anything they can donate don't reply or if they do they don't seem interested, its all about what money they make and don't seem to want to help
rescues. The hutches that were bought with the grant after a year are already
leaking, the company who made them has we think gone bust so we're desperately needing
to put new roofs on the outside hutches before winter comes, most of the time it feels like no one wants to know and these animals rely on us.
Q13) Shaz maybe you could give us your website address as well as details on how to make donations?
Shaz: Ok well the website address is
our address is on there and there is also a paypal address
there are stories and pictures on there about some of the guinea pigs we have
had come into the rescue,some sad but some with good endings
Thanks Shaz its very much appreciated. While that concludes the main interview we would like to have a little quick fire round where you choose one of 2 options :)
1) PETA or ALF
Shaz: not sure
2) Facebook or twitter
3) Sea Shepherd or Greenpeace
Shaz: sea Shepherd
4) War or Peace
5) More or Less
6) Winter or Summer
7) Book or television
8) Love or Hate
9) Single or Married
10) Black or White
The AR Hub would like to thank Shaz for taking part in this interview
Please visit the Avalon Guinea Pig rescue website and if you can make a donation
Would you like to be interviewed by The AR Hub? Would you like to suggest someone else for an interview? contact Dev ious with details :)