Sep 18, 2016

Farm Sanctuary in New York State

Farm Sanctuary is the only Farm Sanctuary on the East Coast
whereby injured farm animals are taken care of.  Several years ago I took my grandkids to Watkins Glen and Farm Sanctuary was the most affordable accommodation for the five of us.  It turned out to be perfect. It was serene and included breakfast plus a tour.  We were the only people there. 

On a recently visited and I was surprised how many people were there to take the tour which is offered several times a day most days from May through October.  The cabin we stayed and two similar ones are still available plus they added three “Tiny Houses” with more amenities.  Great family value. 

The mission of Farm Sanctuary is to protect farm animals from
what they consider to be cruelty and to promote vegan living.  Vegan diets are based on grains, vegetables and fruits. They eat nothing that is associated with animals including no milk and no eggs. According to Farm Sanctuary an ideal world would be one where there were no factory farms or stockyards. 
In the Visitor Center there are displays of enclosures used in the farming of animals along with a lot of free printed material to peruse.  There is a short video explaining their point of view some of which is quite graphic . They show animals crowded and confined and how some animals are mutilated to better control them and manipulate their growth. For instance chicken are de-beaked so they don’t peck  at one another. Some are so packed in they cannot move so they get fatter. It is not a pretty story but I am still not a vegan.

The hour tour is very good and the guides (some are voluntary
interns from foreign countries) are passionate. Self-guided tours are also possible.  The tour starts in a cow pasture where we petted the contented cows and Patrick, our guide, knew all the animals by name, their history and how they came to be in Farm Sanctuary.  There are some interesting stories
including those of veterinarians who, instead of euthanizing an animal they think can be saved, asks the Sanctuary to take them. The tour group was an interesting mix of people including a young boy who was fascinated with the cows but keep saying, “But, I love milk” and a man who whispered to his companion, “I can’t go in the pig barn. I used to raise pigs.” Actually the pig barn was nothing to worry about; all the pigs were sleeping on the heated floor.  It’s a pig’s life – they sleep 18 hours a day.  The kids really liked petting the pigs.  

Many of the animals were out in a large pasture, they have 175 acres. Patrick said deer sometimes come to the pasture to give birth because they know it is a safe place and the young deer stay until it can jump the fence. I liked the goats the best.  They are so curious.  As our group approached they all climbed up the raised shelter to greet us and then followed us as we walked up to another pasture. 

Even though they promote a vegan life style they do it by showing the animals and telling about them not by pitching veganism. Some of their beliefs such at preventing animal cruelty, I think, are taking hold – in part – because I see more advertisements for free-range chickens and cattle.