Episode 23 – Kathy Stevens – Catskill Animal Sanctuary
Kathy Stevens, Founder of Catskill Animal Sanctuary, author of Where the Blind Horse Sings, and Animal Camp, public speaker, educator and much more, sits down with me at the sanctuary amidst the goats, chickens, sheep, turkeys, and other animal friends whom she calls the “under-foots.”
Kathy shares her story of how the sanctuary came to be, and her earlier years growing up and living amongst many farm animals. A teacher at heart, Kathy combined her love of teaching and her love for animals to build an educational sanctuary for rescued farmed animals almost 20 years ago. Catskill Animal Sanctuary sits on about 150 acres of beautiful land in Saugerties, New York surrounded by the Catskills. Kathy is one of the pioneers in the animal rescue and sanctuary world, and is as passionate as they come! Her love for animals and the work she does is contagious – bringing her message of kindness and compassion for all beings to everyone she meets.
Michael the turkey greets me as I arrive and is constantly distracting us as he walks by, runs up to caregivers for treats, and entertains us with his amazing personality.
We discuss the work she does at the sanctuary and beyond to educate and bring awareness to visitors about the many issues of factory farming through tours and their humane education program, the New Leaf Vegan Mentor Program, summer camps, public speaking events, and more.
Kathy takes listeners on a virtual tour to meet one of the beloved rooster residents, “Al”- by telling his story and the story of the millions and millions of birds just like him who are not liberated, but are exploited in animal agriculture to be raised for food. Kathy talks about a condition called “bumble foot” that many birds raised in animal agriculture have, as well as many other health issues that come along with being raised to get really big really fast in the meat industry. She compares the size of Al and all of the problems he has to the size of a severely obese person and the problems they would have. This is typical for many of the rescued farmed animals to have serious health issues which are imposed on them in the factory farming and animal agriculture industries.
Kathy references the book, Grilled: Turning Adversaries into Allies to Change the Chicken Industry by Leah Garces that describes in detail the horrifying conditions of a chicken house and the work that Mercy for Animals is doing to change this.
Kathy and I discuss her book Where the Blind Horse Sings, and her beloved animal friends whose stories she tells throughout the book. We discuss The China Study, by Dr. Colin Campbell which I am currently reading and the profound discoveries through years of research and a large team of doctors and scientists that prove animal protein and secretions are cancer causing, and we both agree that we have a lot of UN learning to do after years of being lied to by the industries (dairy industry and animal agriculture industry) that raise animals for food who tell us we NEED the protein from animal flesh and secretions. Although much research now proves and tells us otherwise, this proves to be an obstacle for some people who have these myths ingrained in them. Physicians for Responsible Medicine by Dr. Neal Barnard is also a good source for information to learn more about the link between animal based food and serious health issues.
Was 2019 the “year of the vegan” as Forbes and The Economist predicted? “That depends on how you define veganism” Kathy says. Kathy goes in depth about her thoughts on veganism and what we all need to do. There is a sense of urgency and we are at a tipping point. She says they meet people where they are with love and urgency.
We discuss all of this and more in this episode.
Visit their website to learn more about the sanctuary, to shop, support, visit, and more!
Order the cookbook Compassionate Cuisine for some fabulous recipes!! *HINT- the banana bread is the BEST EVER. oh, and the Shepard’s Pie!! YUM.