In this new series, “Caregivers Corner,” I sit down with caregivers from different sanctuaries to talk about their work as caregivers. Joy Gomez is the farm manager and a caregiver at Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary in Poughquag, New York. Joy and I discuss their recent …
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.” …
After years of experience working with animals at different sanctuaries, Rebecca started her own “micro-sanctuary,” Institute For Animal Happiness. She and I sit down in her home in Woodstock, New York to discuss micro-sanctuaries, Hudson Valley Vegfest, and much more!
Rebecca explains what a “micro-sanctuary” is, and how the animals at these sanctuaries get such focused and individualized care. She started out taking in “special needs” animals from various sanctuaries that she worked at and volunteered with. The sanctuary is very professionally run. They keep animal records on all of the birds, and are laser focused on keeping every animal space clean and safe.
She talks about the care of the animals, and ethical standards of the work they are doing, as well as different health issues that some of the birds have.
Rebecca encourages anyone interested in micro sanctuaries to check out Triangle Chicken Advocates, and the Micro-Sanctuary Resource Center, who coined the term “micro-sanctuary.” They have a plethora of information to share. In addition, she talks about the importance of volunteering or working at a sanctuary, or with rescued animals in some capacity before thinking about starting a micro sanctuary.
We discuss the issues with eggs and the oppression of all females in animal agriculture and the health problems that the birds have because of how they have been bred to lay so many eggs. She talks in depth about the denigration of these birds, the history of chickens, and all of the issues that come along with the practices used in the industries that exploits these animals, including what happens to the baby males born into the egg laying industry. Rebecca shares what they do with the eggs that the chickens lay at Institute For Animal Happiness.
We touch on the link between veganism and feminism while discussing what the females go through in these industries.
Rebecca and Sande Nosonowitz started Hudson Valley Vegfest together a few years ago, and it has since grown and moved locations. She talks about this journey and how the Vegfest helps to offset the operational costs of the sanctuary.
Rebeccas shares, “I feel like we have a responsibility to do two things: 1) empower each other and lift each other up. We shouldn’t waste a minute of our time with people who do the opposite of these things. 2) support any respectful, intellectual critical dissent within any group or organization, if it is towards the goal of inspecting and improving ethics, or if it creates dialogues towards positive improvements of any kind.”
We discuss all of this and so much more in this episode! To learn more about the sanctuary, visit their website:
Amy Burkman is a professional artist, activist, philanthropist, a cancer survivor, and advocates for animals and humans through her art. She does live painting for events and galas to support and raise money for different causes, charities, and non-profits. Amy has traveled around the world …
In this episode, Brece Clark (The Humane Cowboy) and I have an authentic, raw conversation about his journey from horse trainer, bull rider, rodeo participant, to the “humane cowboy” who works full time at a farm sanctuary who rescues animals. Brece talks about growing up …
In this episode Rachel McCrystal and I sit down in the grass pasture with the turkeys at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. Rachel introduces the beautiful turkeys and tells us that Beatrice is nine years old, which is very uncommon for turkeys to live this long. Beatrice is severely de-beaked and had to be fed by a syringe when she first came here. Rachel tells the story of how Beatrice came to the sanctuary. In addition to de-beaking, Rachel explains that turkeys are also de-toed which is done without anesthesia and is legal in the industry, as there are no guidelines and rules to protect birds (fowl). We discuss Loren and her issues with bumble foot, her beautiful wrapping (fancy shoes) done by caregiver, Brooke Burbee, and how they came up with a special plan just for her to address her foot issues. We discuss the care that is given to the turkeys due to all of the issues that come up from being born into and exploited in animal agriculture. They are units of production in the industry, and they endure so much cruelty and trauma as babies -all to be used as food for a quick meal. All of the turkeys at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary were meant to be used for food at Thanksgiving or another holiday.
Rachel talks about how turkeys love spending time with people and how their caruncles change colors depending on the mood that they are in. Turkeys are very territorial and have to be separated into the groups that DO get along! They have so many human like qualities. People that visit the sanctuary expect to connect more with a goat or a sheep or pig, but so often visitors connect most with the turkeys once they see how affectionate and loving they are.
We discuss the amount of turkeys killed all year (which is about 100 million turkeys) and how that number goes up during the holiday months to about 45 million JUST during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Turkeys killed for meat are just babies “poults” when they are killed.
One of the awesome and most anticipated events at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary is ThanksLIVING!! This year it will be on November 9th. Rachel talks about this event and how to get tickets or to volunteer. Held on site at the sanctuary, this is a celebration of life and honoring of the turkeys at the sanctuary, and a way to pay honor and respect to those who are not yet, or will never be liberated. Beatrice is the covergirl for this event! The turkeys eat their pumpkin pie and treats before the humans are served! (I love this)… They will also recognize advocates and activists who are making a difference for the animals. This year’s honorees include musician-filmmaker Rob Zombie and actress Sheri Moon Zombie, – animal rights advocates and activists who use their careers as a platform, and Lauren Ornelas, the founder and executive director of the Food Empowerment Project.
This year, the food is being prepared by Lagusta Yearwood of Lagusta’s Commissary in New Paltz, New York and desserts are by Maresa Volante of Sweet Maresa’s. It’s going to be amazing! Tickets are going fast, so get your tickets soon! You don’t want to miss out on this exciting event! Lucky for us, Lagusta has just written a new cookbook SWEET + SALTY and it is fabulous! Lagusta’s cookbook has been featured in the holiday issue of Veg News magazine as one of their top picks for today’s latest and greatest cookbooks! How awesome is that??!
Rachel and I discussed different options and alternatives for thanksgiving dinner, ways to replace traditional dishes, and to create new traditions. Compassionate Cuisine, a cookbook written by the chefs and Kathy Stevens (founder) at Catskill Animal Sanctuary is a great cookbook with lots of good vegan recipes.
Rachel also mentions the New Leaf Vegan Mentor Program started by Catskill Animal Sanctuary. I am personally a vegan mentor with New Leaf Mentor Program, and would love to connect with anyone who has questions or needs support.
Rachel discusses the organization, Peace Advocacy Network, (PAN) which gives lots of resources and support for going vegan.
Volunteers are always needed on thanksgiving day. If you are near Woodstock Farm Sanctuary and would like to volunteer, please sign up!
Woodstock, along with Barn Sanctuary in Michigan recently rescued 98 chickens who are now called the “Hudson Valley Hundred” and have adopted out some of the chickens to other sanctuaries. We discuss the egg laying industry, and the meat chicken industry. Please visit the site for the new campaign “Consider the Egg” and learn more about the egg laying industry.
Woodstock Farm Sanctuary has openings for interns in all areas if you are interested in learning about working at a sanctuary. To find out more, visit their website.
Adit Ramano is the co-founder of Freedom Farm Sanctuary in Olesh, Israel. She and Ruth Levy Abramson, humane educator and translator for the farm sit down with me to discuss the work they are doing, the animals they have rescued, how the sanctuary was started, …
In this episode Todd Friedman tells the story of how Arthur’s Acres was started and talks about the animals he has rescued. We discuss the dark side of animal agriculture, about different alternatives and options to meat products and the impact animal agriculture has …
Jennie and Jason Hays, the founders of Oliver and Friends Farm Sanctuary, in Luther Oklahoma talk about the work they do and the animals they rescue. This animal sanctuary is run solely by volunteers. Jennie and Jason work at other jobs to support themselves and the sanctuary, and they have volunteers who work with them and also have other jobs. It’s a labor of love for sure.
Jennie tells us about the first animal they rescued, a pig named Clarice who was an ex- FFA pig and talks about the detrimental effect that programs like FFA and 4-H have on children and their families. These programs are designed to teach children where their food comes from, (which is a good thing) and how to take care of animals, but the end result, after they have loved and cared for the animals is that they are slaughtered for food. This is particularly hard for the young children who have raised and become attached to these animals.
Jennie talks about their beloved Oliver, a sweet camel who the sanctuary is named after and the plight of camels and how they are exploited.
In this episode we discuss “compassion fatigue” and ways to stay healthy when you are rescuing and caring for animals full time.
We discuss different issues with animals in animal agriculture and some of the rescues they have from beef and dairy farmers, as well as the importance of communicating respectfully and professionally with farmers and ranchers. Jennie talks about the love the farmers have for the animals, even though for us it is hard to understand how they do what they do.
Jennie tells us how to volunteer, visit, and support the sanctuary. They have volunteer days and also private tours with hands on time with the animals to get up close and personal with them.
If you would like to learn more about this amazing sanctuary and support the work they are doing please visit their website, or better yet, go visit in person!!