Our Holiday Party Is Better Than Your Holiday Party

Posted by Lisa Franzetta, ALDF's Director of Communications on December 24, 2007

ALDF recently had our office holiday party, and the standard warnings (don’t snag the Secret Santa gift your boss has her eye on; don’t keep hitting the eggnog ’til you’re singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" with that guy from the mailroom) didn’t apply. Rather than busting out our holiday finery this year, we instead suited up in our grubbiest boots on an early Saturday in December and headed out to Vacaville, California’s Animal Place–a nonprofit sanctuary for abused and discarded farmed animals.

Our very quotable founder, Joyce Tischler, was once famously noted to have said "I don’t eat my clients." As a matter of course, most of us office-dwellers don’t get to spend much time with our animal "clients," either. And while it was more than 17 years ago that I last ate a pig, I’d never had the opportunity to pet one until now. Animal Place’s wonderful Executive Director and co-founder Kim Sturla, who graciously led ALDF’s farm tour, explained that Susie the pig had once been used for experimentation at Loma Linda University. Rather than winding up in someone’s baloney sandwich, Susie had the great luck of ending up at Animal Place–and on that Saturday afternoon, she graciously–ok, eagerly–allowed me my first ever pig-pet, grunting in ecstasy as I scratched her wire-haired flank and (grunts getting louder!) the smoother skin of her enormous belly.

All of the animals surprised and delighted us. We hand-fed carrots to Lemonade and the other rabbits living in the straw-filled "Bunny Haven," and offered lettuce and grapes to the chickens and turkeys who gathered and eyed us, and our produce, with obvious interest. Sheep, goats, and cows moseyed over to our group when we called their names. Clients like these make it easy for all of us at the Animal Legal Defense Fund to stay inspired. The feathered and furry guys, and gals, at Animal Place–Lemonade, Susie, Sophie, and all the rest–are the lucky ones. Please take a moment as the year ends to think of the many millions of farmed animals who have no names, but who are not forgotten.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

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