On a road trip up the West Coast of the USA in April my lovely husband surprised me with a visit to an animal sanctuary – he truly knows the way to my heart! The Sanctuary, called Best Friends Animals Sanctuary, was set up in the 1980s by a group of animal-loving friends. It is virtually in the middle of nowhere (apologies to the nearby tiny town of Kanab, Utah for saying that you’re in the middle of nowhere – but you are!) so you can imagine my utter surprise when we entered the reception area to find it teeming with people – both volunteers and visitors. It appears that the sanctuary is a popular destination for visitors from all over the country (and beyond, as was our case) and also offers food and lodging to volunteers willing to donate their time to help look after the roughly 1,700 animals, including horses, pigs, dogs and cats who live at the sanctuary permanently or at least while they wait for their forever home.
More and more animal sanctuaries seem to be popping up around Australia too so I thought it would be a good idea to find out more about them and the amazing work they do.
Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary
Edgar’s Mission, which was founded by Pam Ahern, is located close to the town of Lancefield in Victoria and is home to around 300 rescued farm animals.
Not only does the sanctuary care for it’s animal inhabitants, it is also Pam’s mission to raise awareness about the plight of factory farmed animals. She does this by visiting schools as well as farmers markets and community events where, with the help of volunteers and the sanctuary’s animals, she educates the public about how their lifestyle and dietary habits impact on animals and the world around them.
The sanctuary holds two major open days throughout the year where you can meet the animals and walk the Kindness Trail. They are also currently looking for volunteers who are over the age of 18, are willing to commit to volunteering one day per week and don’t mind getting their hands dirty.
Freedom Hill Animal Sanctuary
Freedom Hill Animal Sanctuary is located in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Run by Kym Henley and her daughter Kelly, their mission is to re-home or provide a safe haven for animals that have been rescued from abuse, exploitation or neglect and to change the way people view farm animals and promote, educate and encourage compassionate cruelty-free living.
Kym and Kelly also have a retail and online business selling a wide range of vegan/cruelty-free food, beauty and household cleaning products.
The sanctuary is not yet open to the public but they plan to hold open days and conduct school visits in the future. You can register your interest to volunteer at the sanctuary here: http://www.freedomhill.com.au/volunteer and for those interested in adopting hens, you can fill out the form here: http://www.freedomhill.com.au/hen-adoption.
Brightside Farm Sanctuary
Brightside Farm Sanctuary, located in the stunning Huon Valley in Tasmania, is run by Emma Haswell. The sanctuary rescues and rehomes hundreds of animals each year as well as educating, advocating and campaigning for farm and companion animals. They offer education sessions to students in schools and at the sanctuary about animal rights, factory farming and animal welfare and provide students with the opportunity to interact with the animals in a natural environment. Emma also presents regularly at community events and conferences and Brightside campaigns have been an integral part of the banning of sow stalls in Tasmania, the banning of greyhound hurdle racing and the recent announcement to phase out of Battery hen farming here in Tasmania.
Visit the website to request a school visit or speaking event. You can also view animals available for actual or virtual adoption.
There are many other sanctuaries doing amazing work providing homes for neglected and abused animals and advocating for a better future for them – too many to include in one post. Stay tuned for next week’s post where we’ll discover more and as always, please remember to consume with care!