Love animals? Volunteer at a Sanctuary!Posted by Kelly Levenda, Animal Law Program Fellow and Nicole Pallotta, Ph.D., Student Programs Coordinator on June 3, 2014
Do you like spending time with rescued animals? Volunteer at a farmed animal sanctuary! This is a great group project for SALDF chapters. We visited Wildwood Farm Sanctuary in Newberg, Oregon. Their mission is to provide shelter and rehabilitation for abused and abandoned farmed animals, and inspire change in the way society views and treats them by promoting a compassionate and cruelty free lifestyle. At Wildwood we met ducks, rabbits, peacocks and pea hens, turkeys, chickens, alpacas, goats, and calves.
Rowdy, the male peacock, was abandoned and found wandering the streets of Portland. As male peacocks can be very vocal, many neighbors found him bothersome and disruptive. Now at Wildwood he is free to vocalize as loud and as much as he wants!
Wildwood took in 40 hens from the largest California farmed animal rescue. The Turlock, California, based company A&L Poultry abandoned 50,000 hens without food and left them to die. Animal Place, Farm Sanctuary, and Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary were able to rescue the surviving 5,000 hens. ALDF and Schiff Hardin have sued the owners of the egg farm to hold them responsible for their heinous cruelty. The hens now have a second chance at life, being able to express natural chicken behavior such as dust bathing, wandering, catching bugs in the tall grass, and building nests. They still bear the scars of being debeaked at just a few days of age, although that doesn’t stop them from enjoying life.
Spencer the turkey was being raised to be killed for Thanksgiving dinner, but his owner had a change of heart and Wildwood took him in. Now, he is free to wander the barnyard where he loves to show off his beautiful plumage for the (human) ladies.
The alpacas, Jax and Brownie, were rescued by authorities when the farm where they lived was investigated for animal cruelty. When they arrived at Wildwood, they were thirty pounds underweight, had overgrown hooves and teeth, and were terrified of people. They are slowly recovering from their neglect.
The calves, Ferd, Blitzen, and Valentino, were rescued from a dairy farm the day they were born. After being taken away from their mothers shortly after their birth, they were scheduled to be picked up by a veal farmer. With permission from the dairy owner, Wildwood took the three calves and drove them to their new home in the backseat of a pickup truck!
At ALDF we sometimes say “we may be the only lawyers on earth whose clients are all innocent.” The precious few farmed animals who find their way to safety and sanctuary, along with their brethren who are exploited and slaughtered by the millions each year, are innocent, and no less deserving of love and protection than those animals we define as “pets.” Currently farmed animals receive only miniscule protections by our legal system today. Sanctuaries for farmed animals are sites of cultural resistance that challenge the dominant narrative, forged through years of powerful socialization, that tells us it is normal to love cats, but not pigs, and protect dogs, but not cows. As long as the law so clearly fails to protect farmed animals, the easiest way to know you are not contributing to their abuse is by refusing to economically support the animal agriculture industry and adopting a plant-based diet.
To find an animal sanctuary near you, type “farm animal sanctuary” into Google, followed by your state, or other location.