Farm Sanctuary is the best place on earth
Category : Uncategorized
I’m in San Francisco for the Nonprofit Technology Conference (not paid for by Liberation BC), which is always nice. I came a few days early to see an old friend, and the conference started Sunday morning, so I ended up with a completely free Saturday.
In an unusually compulsive act, I decided to rent a car and drive up to Farm Sanctuary to visit for a few hours. It’s a 3-3 1/2 hour drive, but a pretty nice and direct drive.
Our camera is broken, and I don’t know how to get pictures off of my phone, so the pictures I’m including are from my previous trip there 2 years ago. Sorry!
I got up there at about noon. Chatted with Leanne for a little while. She’s amazing. She runs the sanctuary and keeps everything moving along smoothly. I’ve only met a few people who combine a love of animals with such an amazing ability to care for them and the practical skills to manage that many people. You can read some of the animals’ stories on the Farm Sanctuary blog.
I went around the farm and said hello to all the animals. The turkey girls wanted to eat me and were more vocal than I had remembered. If you haven’t ever heard turkeys before, you would be completely astonished at the range of sounds they make. They sound like dogs, birds, seals, and probably a few more animals. They bark, chirp, almost meow. And they wanted to eat my ring. And my fingers…
The chickens are funny, and are much less friendly. They are so wary of strangers. The roosters are still protective, but didn’t try to attack me at all. Even Elton, who can be a real fighter just watched me. I love the way they pretend to be scratching for food, making their way closer to me to keep an eye on me. I love chickens, but they are much harder to relate to than turkeys.
I spent a little while brushing goats. The sheep all stayed away from me, but the goats crowd around to get brushed. After I put the brush back one of them tried to reach it across the fence because he wanted more brushing!
The cows were bigger than I remembered. I was brushing one cow, who must have been a young dairy boy, probably a year or a little more. I could see over his back. But then the full grown dairy cows (and the even larger brahmins) were HUGE. Their shoulders were above my head (and I’m 6 feet tall). One little steer had some scary looking horns, but he seemed nice enough.
Two of my favorites, Bonnie and Waylon, both donkeys, were in the same area as the cattle. They are the calmest, friendliest animals, and they barely ever make a sound. They stand quietly and patiently to be brushed. Their hair is more like fur, and they looked like it was shedding season. Such soft fuzzy fur! They are both pretty old too, something like 20-30 years old. I can’t remember exactly, but they live a long time.
The pigs were all napping since it’s the hottest part of the day. I don’t like to disturb napping pigs. Way too much drama. So I said hi and walked down the path to the duck and geese ponds. There are some new Muscovy ducks there, more than were there the last time. I didn’t find out their stories, but I will try to find out. One looked like he’d been in some sort of confinement situation, and was missing a bunch of feathers. Muscovy’s are funny. They are much quieter than mallards or pekins, and hiss kind of like geese. Geese are like guard dogs, and honk and hiss and anybody who comes near. Not too friendly.
I went over to see my old friends Fergus and Kiwi (both pigs). Fergus is a little pot-belly pig and Kiwi is a half feral pig. Fergus loved his belly rub, flopping right over. Kiwi was covered in mud so I didn’t spend much time with her.
I dropped in on the rabbits and said hello as well. They are quiet, resting in the hot afternoon in the shade. I didn’t want to disturb them (or the ducks who live with them) so I just said hello quietly.
A trip to Farm Sanctuary is a refreshing experience, and gave me a chance to reflect on why I spend so much time advocating for animals. Seeing their faces, spending time with them, helps to reinforce my passion to help them.