Two of my favorite charities are farm sanctuaries.
Just like there are dog rescues and cat rescues, farm sanctuaries are rescues specifically for farmed animals.
Many farm sanctuaries, like Animal Acres in LA, situate themselves close to slaughterhouses and dairies; consequently, many of the animals they rescue were left for dead at the slaughterhouses. For example, one sheep that I sponsor at Animal Acres, named Oliver, was found emaciated due to malnutrition and dehydration, with signs of typical slaughterhouse abuse from a California slaughterhouse. Today, though his scars are very apparent, he is thriving, and has learned to love humans again – the species who tortured him so terribly earlier in life.
Leilani Farm Sanctuary is on Maui where there are not as many slaughterhouses, yet farmed animals still need rescuing. Cockfighting is a common pastime among some people on the island, and general abuse abounds. For example, Ned, a gentle goat, was tethered to a pole for 10 years before being rescued and brought to Leilani. The star of the farm (for her cuddly nature) is Veronica, a deer who was rescued after her mother was shot in front of her by hunters when she was just a fawn.
Even more than a loving home
But the best thing about farm sanctuaries, in my opinion, is that in addition to saving the precious lives that come to their farm, they save thousands more by educating their visitors on the vegan diet. They explain how the animals are treated in factory farms, and how a vegan diet is not only the most compassionate diet for our fellow animals, but also one of the healthiest diets for humans.
A trip to a farm sanctuary can be a wonderful alternative for educating children about animals instead of supporting zoos.
You are welcome to stop at the websites of Leilani Farm Sanctuary and Animal Acres; and most importantly, remember to schedule a tour when you are in town!
Sarah Taylor is the author of Vegan in 30 Days, and runs the popular blog "The Vegan Next Door".
She has a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University, is on faculty at Joel Fuhrman's Nutritional Education Institute, and has been featured on many television and radio shows internationally.
Her next book, Vegetarian to Vegan, will be available in 2012.