Animal Welfare

The Importance of Farm Sanctuaries #BTC4A

skylands-5The photo to the left is a picture I took on my last trip to Skylands, an animal rescue sanctuary in New Jersey, not too far from New York City.  I blogged about my trip here.

I really love going to farm sanctuaries, either as a volunteer or simply a visitor. I have been to Skylands, Safe Haven, and Woodstock— all sanctuaries located near New York City.

Until I went vegan (almost four years ago), I didn’t even know that sanctuaries for abused and rescued farm animals existed. I knew about animal rescue efforts for domesticated animals like cats and dogs, but I never even stopped to wonder what happened to animals who escaped slaughterhouses, or who were taken from abusive situations, etc.

20150516_140010I always wonder, had I gone to a farm animal sanctuary as a meat eater, would have prompted me to switch to veganism? I’d like to think that it would have. While visiting sanctuaries, I have seen people learn and realize the horrors of what farm animals have gone through, and this knowledge planted seeds of compassion. I have heard many stories of people who went vegan simply by visiting a sanctuary and being exposed to animals they normally do not get to see.

Which is why I think taking nonvegans to sanctuaries is one of the most important things a vegan can do. At a sanctuary, you will see and interact with farm animals. By telling animals’ individuals stories, we teach others that animals have lives and personalities all their own and it’s simply not okay for us to hurt and kill them.

It’s not like petting zoos or working farms that allow visitors because, unlike those places, you can leave the sanctuary comfortable in the knowledge that no harm will be done to these animals. No one will be taking their flesh or their skin. If the animal is not at a sanctuary, he or she is simply not free from harm. Please do not visit petting zoos or places that exploit animals! Farm sanctuaries truly are the only “safe havens” for these animals. If you cannot visit a sanctuary, at least take the time to visit a website of one, where you can still learn about the stories of the animals and how they were saved. Not sure if there is a farm sanctuary near you? Resources like this database will help guide you!

Another important action vegans should take, if they are able to, is to rescue their own farm animals and keep them safe. I know this is not something everyone will be able to do, especially if they live in an apartment with no outdoor space, or have laws against farm animals being kept as pets (please check your local laws!), or simply can’t afford to. For example, while I have a big sized yard for Brooklyn, I don’t have the means to take care of a farm animals at the moment.

Instead, I actually pet-sit a rescued chicken named Penelope, and her home, which also has a rescue rabbit and two cats, is considered a micro-sanctuary. Micro-sanctuaries are exactly as they sound: Small scale versions of farm sanctuaries for people who want to help animals with limited space. Micro-sanctuaries are becoming increasingly popular, and if this something you’re interested in, you can find out more information here!


Me and Penelope 🙂

I love to share photos of Penelope, and all animals I befriend at sanctuaries, on my social media because combating the normalization of animal cruelty is important to me. It’s simply not enough to boycott animal products; I strongly believe that as a vegan, I should be educating others and sharing the stories of individual animals.

I hope I’ve encouraged my readers to visit a farm sanctuary, or make a donation to one, or share the story of a rescued farm animal to their followers on social media (or all three!). Thanks for reading!


Dylan, rescued and happy at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Photo by me.


2 replies »

  1. The only sanctuary for farm animals we knew of in the area was the Popcorn Park Zoo in NJ. We’ve been there a number of times and have even sponsored some of the cows, bulls and sheep. We’ll have to check these out. While we’re not vegan, we don’t eat red meat and haven’t for 36 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so impressed with your subject for Blog the Change this quarter! This is definitely a subject that gets too little attention – and should be addressed much more frequently and broadly. Your explanation and descriptions are thorough and extremely helpful. Heck, you’ve got me googling local sanctuaries in my area – you’ve inspired me to visit one!

    Thank you for blogging – and being – the change for animals!
    Kim Thomas
    Be the Change for Animals

    Liked by 1 person

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