Why the world needs Farm Animal Sanctuaries
As a vegan, one of the most frustrating things I experience is the heartless reactions I get from non-vegans after having explained, in great detail, what pain, suffering, and damage their diet is causing. I remember when I first discovered the facts about factory farming, the treatment of animals, the effects of animal agriculture on the environment, and my health. It was enough for me, and I just never understood why it was not enough for others. After considering this for a while I realized that people simply come to this realization in different ways, each requiring their own unique experience. As vegans we need to utilize all possible methods of delivering the education and truth to non-vegans, around the world. Some people want to change after watching a great documentary, like Earthlings, others may change reading a good book. I have had friends change over the course of several months based on videos and articles I had shared via social media. Some people enjoy food, and once exposed to several delicious vegan foods they realize making the compassionate choice is not only the right thing to do, but it was not as hard as they thought it would be. Then there are those people who need to make a personal connection. Those people desperately need farm animal sanctuaries, where they can go and interact with the ambassadors of the vegan movement, the lucky few, who serve a purpose beyond measure.
Flickr – Creative Commons – Image by ciao-chow
Making the connection…
Sometimes I think about non-vegans I personally know, and I wonder what would happen if I could get them to spend a weekend at a farm animal sanctuary. The experience is powerful and can change the hardest of hearts. Farm animal sanctuaries are a place where people can obtain that much needed interaction with beings they commonly consider only when thinking of food. A place to experience a cow pressing it’s head against your chest, expressing companionship, or a pig enjoying a belly rub. When you are able to form a bond with another sentient being, one you commonly never consider, it will change you. Such places must exist so others can realize that their domestic pets are no different than the animals they have been brainwashed into eating on a daily basis.
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A safe haven for the future…
Farm Animal Sanctuaries provide a safe haven, a place of rest and peace. Such a small percentage of farmed animals manage to escape, or be rescued, from their cruel fate. The few lucky ones often end up at sanctuaries. Over time they are able to experience human kindness, most for the very first time. In return they teach us about love, respect, trust and companionship. A perfect example of this is Lucy. Lucy fell off a transport truck when she was only a few weeks old. If not she would have surely lived a very short life filled with pain, misery and fear, before being killed for her meat. Fortunately, she was not badly injured when she fell and a kind man found her in Illinois and brought her to Uplands Peak Farm Animal Sanctuary in Salem, Indiana. Now she experiences human kindness on a daily basis, and demonstrates her love and companionship to everyone who visits. Oh, and she really loves belly rubs! These types of experiences change the hearts and minds of non-vegans when often times other methods fail. It is absolutely critical that farm animal sanctuaries are around for the future of veganism.
Lucy – Uplands Peak Sanctuary – by Shannon
Fulfillment and education…
I personally love to visit my local Farm Animal Sanctuary, Uplands Peak. Sharing veganism with the world, and particularly with friends and family, can be stressful at times. Occasionally, I feel like I am not making progress, or that I am not doing enough to help liberate our animal friends. So when my volunteer time comes around it brings me great fulfillment to know I am making an immediate impact in the lives of a few fortunate animals. Each experience I have with the animals I tend to learn more about them as individuals, and as a species. This education is priceless for me as an activist. Not to mention many sanctuaries are able to offer internships, such as Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. During their stay interns are able to learn how to fully operate a sanctuary of their own, as well as how to care for the animals. If not for this type of selfless sharing it would be much more difficult for new sanctuaries to start up on their own. The education is not just for vegans. Many farm sanctuaries have complete education programs available to the public. This creates an opportunity to learn and interact for people of all ages. Some sanctuaries also offer a Bed and Breakfast experience. My local sanctuary, Uplands Peak, offers this to the public. This is a fantastic opportunity for vegans to bring their non-vegan friends over to a farm animal sanctuary for a weekend of great vegan food, and crucial interaction with the animal residents, all wrapped up in one awesome visit. So this stands as just one more reason farm animal sanctuaries are so important.
William and I – Uplands Peak Sanctuary – by Kayci
Finding new homes for animals in need…
Due to large local influence, connections, and a worldwide network of support, farm animal sanctuaries are highly effective at finding homes for animals in need. They are able to use their network to find homes for animals in need on a case by case bases. There are times when the need is so crucial that organizations and sanctuaries will join forces to do what is necessary to help save as many lives as possible. A great example of this is a documentary by Keegan Kuhn of First Spark Media, called Turlock. In this documentary Animal Place Sanctuary was called to action in effort to rescue 50,000 egg laying birds that had been left to die in Turlock, California, at an abandoned factory farm back in February of 2012. With the help of volunteers, sanctuaries, animal control agencies, humane societies, and SPCA’s they were able to rescue around 4,500 birds. Of the 4,500 around 4,100 were taken by Animal Place for care and re-homing. The other birds were not so lucky, but without farm animal sanctuaries many of these types of massive efforts would not be possible.
Raising funds and awareness for the cause…
My list would not be complete without mentioning one last thing. One of the most important things farm animal sanctuaries do, other than save and change thousands of lives, is raise funds and awareness for the vegan cause. The funds raised by YOUR support goes directly to the care of animals in need, but that is not where the story ends. As I previously mentioned, through education, food, and love, farm animal sanctuaries use your funds to raise awareness and create the necessary experiences to change the hearts and minds of this generation and future generations. Raising awareness and creating more vegans every single day is how we will change the future this planet and farm animal sanctuaries are absolutely crucial for that movement and they cannot be successful without your support. Please do everything you can to support at least one farm animal sanctuary. Some of us do not have the extra funds to make donations. In such cases please consider donating your time and skills. Many sanctuaries need your help to build structures, care directly for animals, help teach education programs, give tours, work on social media, and more. The list is nearly endless and they cannot do it alone. Do not be afraid to get involved, even as a new vegan or non-vegan working to change. If a 4th generation cattle rancher, like Howard Lyman, can have a change of heart, anyone can. Howard has even gone on to be a tremendous advocate for veganism so you never know who the next powerhouse of the vegan movement might be, or where he or she will come from.
If you would like assistance locating a farm animal sanctuary near you, please check out this wonderful list, which is managed by Animal Place Sanctuary. If you do not find what you need, feel free to contact me and I would be happy to help you.
Learn more about Shannon by clicking here or by visiting SharingVeganism.com.