i'm sorry...

14th December 2016


Ok I admit it, there is one creature above all others that I utterly despise.  It is not a reptile, amphibian or creepy crawly invertebrate.  It is not a cute fluffy either but it is mammalian although one would often wonder if that classification were correct.


Are they slimy?  Most definitely.


Are they venomous?  Certainly.


So what is this creature?!


I am speaking of the internet troll of course.


There are a select few, mainly in the pro-exotic pet keeping fraternity, that feel the need to air their views in a vile and frankly inappropriate way on our social media feeds.  Each and every time these comments are removed and the perpetrator is banned from posting further content.  My aim is to create a comfortable and welcoming environment through our online presence where our supporters and members of the public can share their views and experiences.  We actively promote open discussion and love it when people write back to our posts and comments.  We want the public to feel safe in doing so especially bearing in mind that we have a lot of children and young people as followers.  We understand that not everyone shares our views; this is the beauty of free will and having our own minds.


However no harassment, intimidation or slander will be tolerated.  Also, we have NEVER been involved in retaliatory actions of the same nature against ANY business, enterprise, group or individual in any way.  In fact on many occasions we have actively discouraged this behaviour amongst our supporters and advised them not to hit back in any way.  If we did “fight back” we would be no better than the perpetrators.


We have also been criticised for not writing back to these frankly disgusting comments and ridiculous allegations.  Again, this would only serve to satisfy the trolls.

Despite all this, and in a very ironic way, the very action of them interacting with our posts rapidly increases the organic reach of our social media so thank you for that internet trolls!


There will always be critics in the world (see the above comment about the beauty of free will) and would life not be rather boring if we all shared the same views and opinions?


In spite of this I feel that I must offer a heartfelt apology to my family, friends, supporters and members of the public:


I’m sorry that I have devoted my life to learning about and caring for displaced wildlife from around the globe and that that is not good enough for some people.


I’m sorry that my life revolves around the work of Grace’s Rest and that I personally attend to every rescue, vet visit, home-check, rehoming, death/euthanasia and that I do all the “back office” tasks such as admin, promotion, fundraising, research, stock control, merchandising, networking, building and refurbishing vivaria, growing fruits and vegetables for the animals AND doing 100% of the animal husbandry singlehandedly and that this is not good enough for some people.


I’m sorry that I am so run ragged by all of this that I have missed out on seeing family and friends and have forgone so many special occasions (including a very special friend’s wedding) and that that is not good enough for some people.


I’m sorry that I take on the elderly animals than are unwanted in favour of their young and more spritely counterparts only for me to have to see them decline and die leaving me to mourn their passing and that that is not good enough for some people.


I’m sorry that I have personally missed out on so much in since opening Grace’s Rest back in 2013; I will never get to travel, have holidays or splurge on expensive luxuries that others take for granted because I WORK FULL TIME ON A VOLUNTARY BASIS and that that is not good enough for some people.


I’m sorry (particularly to my partner) that our house is so full of Grace’s Rest “stuff” that we often struggle to store our things and in fact have had to let go of many of our personal possessions because of this and that that is not good enough for some people.


I’m sorry that when Grace’s Rest is full to bursting I have to say “no” to more incoming animals as I simply have nowhere for them to go.  Occasionally this has led to a tirade of abuse from the owner often accompanied by threats to have the animal put to sleep, to abandon it or even to throw it into the local canal.  I have always simply allowed to wash over me and have never retaliated, not once, no matter how hurtful the comments.  I’m sorry that this is not good enough for some people.


I’m sorry that I will not relieve breeders of their excess livestock so that they can replace them with more babies and that that is not good enough for some people.


I’m sorry for taking on this MASSIVE responsibility and then deciding to study for a PhD in an attempt to make the world a better place for animals around the world and that that is not good enough for some people.


I’m sorry that I am only one person trying to do what she feels is right while working from a modestly-sized house that can only accommodate so much stuff and so many animals and that that is not good enough for some people.


I'm sorry that some do not understand the difference between animal rights activism and the science of animal welfare despite there being a clear cut difference (even though the two are naturally linked) and that that is not good enough for some people.


I’m sorry for all the times someone has felt let down, disgruntled or irked by my views, opinions or actions; this is never my intention and the WELFARE OF THE ANIMALS I CARE FOR IS ALWAYS MY PARAMOUNT CONCERN.  I’m sorry that some may not understand my scientific perspective no matter how I explain it and that that is not good enough for some people.


Regardless of all the venom thrown my way I will continue to slave away at my never-ending task safe in the knowledge that, like many of my colleagues across the country who are working tirelessly for the betterment of animal welfare, I am on the moral side of a social wrong.


Thank you for your continued support.


Much love as always, Clare x


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Meet the Owner-Operator, Clare Barnard BSc.(Hons)


Clare is a research scientist and PhD candidate at the University of Lincoln where she is studying wildlife conservation and the direct impact of the exotic pet trade on wild animal populations.  She will be working from the Laboratory of Evolutionary Ecology of Adaptations.  Clare has also been honoured to become part of the Global Amphibian Biodiversity research team.


Clare has almost 20 years professional experience in the husbandry of exotic animals a specialism in the genetics of British herpetofauna.  She has worked with wild Adders (Vipera berus) and endangered Natterjack Toads (Epidalea calamita) under Natural England license conditions.  Clare has worked as a zookeeper and within private collections including her own.  She lives in rural North Warwickshire, on-site at Grace's Rest, with a whole host of animals!

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