Visiting Farm Sanctuary’s New York shelter
Category : Uncategorized
I have visited Farm Sanctuary’s New York shelter in Watkins Glen four times over the past ten years, and each time the experience has reconnected me with my purpose in working for animal rights and given me hope for the future. I grew up on a factory pig farm in Pitt Meadows, BC. The memories of working on the farm through my teen years are difficult and sad. Being able to connect with animals–and pigs in particular–who are self-determining, playful and clearly enjoying life in such a wonderful setting is such a solace and a continuing revelation. It reminds me of the small and large victories we are making in the animal rights movement. Moreover, each happy animal at Farm Sanctuary represents a victory for that individual.
When I arrived at Farm Sanctuary this summer in late June there were three deer grazing unconcernedly on the lawn near the “Human Barn.” Their graceful presence was a joyful greeting and welcome to this magical place. I stayed overnight in the lovely cabins and went on the guided tour for guests the next morning. The tour introduced us to many of the residents including some of the cows, turkeys, rabbits, chickens and goats. My favorite visit, of course, is with the pigs. I love hunkering down with them in the hay and scratching bellies and behind ears. It is so amazing to hear the contented grunts and vocalizations clearly saying they feel safe and happy.
We met some of the pigs who had been rescued from the floods in Iowa in 2008. (Learn more here.) According to our guide, the sows we met had been shot at by scared humans as both the people and the pigs tried to survive the disaster on a limited area of high ground. But at Farm Sanctuary the terrible past–all the trauma of the factory farm, the harrowing flood and attacks by humans–is forgotten as the sows roam contentedly in their pasture and go down to their pond to bathe and wallow. They greet visitors and volunteers with curiosity and good cheer, and they are the best ambassadors for the millions of animals on farms around the world.
The animals at Farm Sanctuary inspire me with their survival, their resilience in the face of cruelty, their forgiveness and how they thrive. I join the Walk for Farm Animals every year and raise money for Farm Sanctuary in honour of these animals. It also reminds me of the millions and millions of farm animals who don’t find sanctuary and why we need to keep raising our voices for those who can’t speak.
Liberation BC is proud to support Farm Sanctuary by participating in the annual Walk for Farm Animals. Won’t you join us?