“The best part of Farm Sanctuary is to see chickens that have only ever stood on wire, sunbathing!” says Education Manager, Michelle Waffner. The Farm Sanctuary has about 500 farm animals thriving on 175 acres, just off a track in a secluded valley outside New York. The rolling acres are dotted with buildings: a visitors’ centre called The People Barn, three cabins available as B&B’s and more than half a dozen barns. Geese, goats, pigs, cows, turkeys, sheep and chickens all live in harmonious serenity.
It all started with a sheep called Hilda who was a downer; a term for livestock too weak or injured to stand. She was therefore tossed on a pile of dead animals and simply left. Luckily, she was rescued by a passer by and taken to a vet. Within just 20 minutes, she was up and eating. Although the person who dumped her was known, no local law enforcement authority could intervene as discarding downers is normal agricultural practice. Farm Sanctuary began in 1986 as Lorri and Gene Bauston investigated and documented what was happening at livestock yards. Their first shelter for farm animals was established in Pennsylvania. In 1990, the nationally famous sanctuary in central New York was founded and in 1994 another 300- acre sanctuary was set up in California.
Farm Sanctuary won the first ever cruelty to farm animals’ conviction against an individual in 1989 and a few years later, a Pennsylvania stockyard was the first business to be similarly convicted. Throughout all this turmoil, Hilda lived peacefully and contentedly for 11 more years. Farm Sanctuary involves itself in many current campaigns such as No Downers, Sentient Beings, No Foie Gras, No Veal and Veg for Life. Michelle Waffner says: “We’re really interested in increasing people’s awareness. We want visitors to become active advo-cates for farm animals.
“The animals who live here have been pulled out of piles of carcasses, found in garbage cans or they’ve been packed alive in cages. Each animal is an in-dividual. We treat our pets that way. Now we just need to learn to treat farm animals that way too.” This article has been taking from positive news New York .