Recently, the wonderful folks at Farm Sanctuary reached out to see if I was interested in highlighting some of the animals that are in need of support. Of course, I wanted to help spread the word in any way that I could. These beautiful animals below are all part of Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Farm Animal Program and a sponsorship makes a great last-minute gift for the animal lover in your life (or for yourself).
Each sponsorship comes with a personal sponsorship certificate, a color photograph, a decal, and a VIP tour to meet your sponsored animal. The best part is that your gift sponsorship will help provide food, shelter, and care for a rescued cow, sheep, goat, pig, duck, goose, turkey, or chicken.
Their stories are told by our kind friends at the Farm Sanctuary. Read on!
1. Ari was born at a “cull sale.” Dairy cows, who produce milk only when they have been impregnated, are subjected to a relentless cycle of gestation, birth, and insemination until their bodies are worn out. At four or five years old, these “spent” cows are brought to auction and sold for cheap beef or used in pet food. When Ari’s mother gave birth in a sale house, workers promptly drove her to the auction floor before she even had a chance to clean her newborn. Ari, only minutes old, was left on the floor to die. Luckily, a kind woman noticed the abandoned calf and immediately reached out to us. We rushed Ari to Cornell University Hospital for Animals to receive vital care, then brought him home to our New York Shelter. Sick and feeble, Ari required constant monitoring and medications at first. As his caregivers watched over him and provided around-the-clock bottle feedings, they were heartened to see his small acts of determination — trying his best at meals, mustering a moo, and attempting a playful dash on his unsteady legs. With lots of heart and lots of help, Ari made it out of the woods and began to thrive. From the moment of his rescue, this sweet boy has lifted the spirits of everyone he has met. Now, his own spirits are free to soar.
2. Spring break of 2013 came early for a certain Cornell University resident. In early March, the Tompkins County SPCA was contacted by the concerned house manager of a fraternity whose members had purchased a baby goat as a mascot. The SPCA picked up the little goat, now named Maxie, and the next morning our team brought her to the greener pastures of our New York Shelter. The life of an animal mascot is typically a lonely one, and this is especially true for herd animals like goats, who are most fulfilled and at ease when surrounded by others of their kind. At our shelter, Maxie will be able to satisfy her curious, playful, and social nature. Forget togas and kegs: This charming party animal has arrived at a true animal house.
3. When a man on a hunting trip found Joey by the side of a freeway in autumn 2011, the lamb was suffering from a leg injury and was too weary to raise her head. The hunter was so moved by the sight that he picked her up and brought her home. When, despite his efforts, the skinny lamb continued to languish, he reached out to Farm Sanctuary, and we welcomed little Joey to our Southern California Shelter. With around-the-clock care, we put Joey on the road to recovery—and fell for this curious, affectionate sheep in the process. Thanks to lots of TLC, Joey is now strong and confident enough to enjoy every day of her sanctuary life at our Northern California Shelter, where she now lives.
4. Liza was born at our New York Shelter a mere eight hours after we rescued her mother, Julia, from a factory farm. A breeding sow, Julia had spent months nearly immobilized in a tiny gestation crate with no distraction or relief. As workers moved her from this torturous device to an equally cramped farrowing crate to give birth, they kicked her, beat her, burned her with an electrified prod, and dragged her by her ears. The trauma induced premature labor, and the health of the 16 piglets Julia bore at our shelter was fragile during their first days with us. Now, Liza and her siblings have grown into hardy, happy pigs. Playful and bold, Liza loves people and is best friends with her sister Maggie, leading her on adventures and sleeping by her side every night.
5. In early January 2013, at a hatchery in Texas, Tammi and more than 100 other day-old chicks were packed into a cardboard box that was supposed to be shipped to Alabama. Due to a label error, however, the box ended up in a Washington, DC, post office, where it sat unclaimed until workers realized something was amiss. The chicks were seized by animal control, and, soon after, our Emergency Rescue Team brought them to our New York Shelter. It isn’t every day that a shipment of animals ends up so far off course, but it is every day that boxes packed with day-old chicks just like Tammi, hatched at facilities of the same sort that supply large egg producers, are sent through the postal service to vendors, farmers, and hobbyists large and small. The chick business is not an alternative to the factory farming industry, it is part of it — and it is characterized by the same cruel practices. Flourishing here at the shelter, Tammi will never again be treated as a disposable commodity but, instead, she will be respected for the bright, curious individual she is.
6. Macy was the subject of a common 4-H project that requires each participant to raise a farm animal. These animals often receive poor care, and, in the case of pigs, they are subjected to ear notching, an industry procedure in which pieces of the ear are cut out, without anesthesia, for identification purposes. To complete the project, the young caregiver must auction the animal for slaughter at a local fair. Luckily for Macy, the young woman responsible for her refused to take the pig to her death and decided instead to find her a loving home. Now safe at our Southern California Shelter, Macy has her own projects to pursue: lounging in the shade, splashing in water tubs and snuggling with her friends in the pig barn.
7. When Mary was a little lamb, a kind woman found her wandering the streets of Los Angeles alone and crying. Loose farm animals are no aberration in Los Angeles and other major metropolises, where many are illegally raised for food in backyards or sold at live markets. Live markets frequently deal in factory farm castoffs and are notorious for keeping their “merchandise” in unsanitary and unsafe conditions. Customers select live animals to be killed and butchered on-site. Mary is now safe forever from such a fate. Her rescuer brought her to our Southern California Shelter, and, now, wherever she might find her companions in the sheep flock or human friends ready to shower her with affection, Mary is sure to go.
8. Thatcher joined us thanks to a little boy with a big heart. Walking home one day, nine-year-old Manuel saw some adults dumping a bag of goslings into a yard for a dog to eat. The dog was quickly devouring the tiny birds, but one was close enough to the fence for Manuel to reach. He pulled the gosling to safety, carried the bird home, and spent the next several days diligently caring for his new friend while an adult acquaintance looked for a permanent refuge. When she contacted us, we gladly agreed to welcome Thatcher to our Southern California Shelter, where the friendly goose has made a splash, bonding with caregivers and discovering the joy of swimming. The kindness of one child gave Thatcher the sort of safe, rich life that most farm animals never experience, and now Thatcher has the power to change lives too, inspiring visitors and readers to let the strength of their own kindness shine through.
9. Gwendolyn is a domestic duck, but she was found loose and unprotected at a public pond. Like rabbits and geese, ducks are commonly purchased as babies by people who are unprepared to care for them as adults. Many later “release” these animals into the wild, mistakenly figuring that they can fend for themselves. Every year we receive numerous calls about such animals abandoned on ponds, where they are ill-equipped to survive. Having imprinted on humans as a duckling, Gwendolyn thought she was one and had no qualms about running right up to people. Luckily, one person she enthusiastically greeted was a wildlife rehabber, who recognized that the duck was in danger and contacted us for help. We were happy to welcome Gwendolyn to our Northern California Shelter, where we slowly convinced her to befriend other ducks. It took a while, but Gwendolyn finally realized that she is not a human but a duck herself. Now she’s living it up in our special-needs flock, happily splashing in her pool all day — though she still takes time to greet her caregivers with a quack whenever they walk by.
10. Cars slammed on their brakes and swerved as Bruno fell out of a transport truck onto a busy Palmdale, California, highway. Miraculously, the young calf survived. After the Highway Patrol gathered him up, Bruno was brought to a county animal shelter. Typically, a calf in this situation would then be turned over to the state branding inspector and sold at auction to be raised and killed for beef. Officers reached out to our Southern California Shelter instead, and we were happy to offer Bruno refuge at our sanctuary. Bruno was born into the dairy industry, which keeps cows producing milk through a relentless cycle of impregnation and birth, but has no need for the male offspring. Had he made it to his original destination, Bruno would have been slaughtered for veal or cheap beef. Fortunately, this outgoing and friendly steer avoided that grim fate. Bruno enjoys the good life here, where he spends his days grooming and socializing with his herd mates, receiving massages from caregivers, and greeting shelter visitors.
I couldn’t help but cry reading their stories. The will to survive is so powerful and I think their journey is something many of us can relate to on some level or another. Food, shelter, companionship, and love…that’s all we really need. Compassion and respect for all living creatures.
For a list of farm sanctuaries around the world (and quite possibly, near you), see this list.
Thanks for reading! See you this weekend for another fun giveaway.