Recently I was very lucky to be in upstate New York, which is the home to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. This serene farm, located amongst rolling green hills, is a million miles away from the intense factory farms that most of the animals that live here now have come from.
Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary is driven by the simple philosophy that kindness and respect for animals is our duty and that all the creatures that share this earth are here with us and not for us. Like our faithful dogs and lap-sitting cats, farm animals are feeling individuals who deserve to be treated with compassion and to live free from fear and suffering.
On our tour of the farm we met very sociable and friendly goats, turkeys, chicken, cows, ducks, geese and pigs all lounging about in the sunshine, exhibiting their natural behaviours – chickens scratching and pecking in the dust and pigs delightedly snoozing in the mud ponds. All of these animals have been rescued from horrible conditions on factory farms and are now ambassadors for their species at the Sanctuary.
Whilst I enjoyed interacting with all of the animals, my favorite was a female dairy calf called Maribeth. Stopping to look into her big brown eyes and seeing her wag her little tail, just like a dog. Maribeth was rescued from a dairy farm in Connecticut. She wouldn’t stand up for the first week after her birth and something was clearly wrong with her back leg once she was seen standing and walking. After a month and a half of no improvement, the dairy farm was planning to send her to slaughter. The day before her life was to end, an animal rescuer was able to talk the dairy farm owner into allowing her to go to a “farm” in New York. Whilst she has been very unwell, she is now on the road to recovery and her future at the Sanctuary looks bright.
The inspiring Sanctuary founder, Jenny Brown was once a successful television professional. After a week-long trip spent undercover filming horrific farm animal abuse in Texas stockyards in 2002, she decided to give up her flourishing media career and dedicate her life to helping the animals forgotten by society.
Today, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary takes care of over two hundred rescued farm animals and has thousands of visitors annually. By placing people within eye contact of beings mostly known as food, the sanctuary opens hearts and minds to the animals abused by our industrialized food system.