Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Sadie Visit's The Barn Sanctuary

For the first three decades of my life I considered myself a feminist and I spent my time fighting for women's rights. I believed that it was my personal duty to stand up for the powerless and disenfranchised peoples. What I didn't realize was that there was another group of voiceless creatures that needed someone to speak out that I was completely ignoring. In being 100% honest, when I saw that I NEVER even considered the rights of animals. I never thought about their pain or suffering or what raising and consuming animals was doing to our environment. But, once I found out, there was no turning back. As soon as I knew how my actions were negatively effecting others, I knew that I had to change what I was doing. I still think it's funny when I have to tell someone I'm vegan because the idea feels so foreign to me. But, after last weekend I can't imagine living life any other way.

Last Sunday I traveled to Ann Arbor with a vegan and cruelty free makeup artist named Jessica Haze to volunteer my time at The Barn Sanctuary.  I didn't know what an animal sanctuary was or what a cow looked like up close, but I knew that I wanted to find out. I found out that an animal sanctuary is a facility where animals are brought to live and be protected for the rest of their lives. Many of the animals are rescued or have issues that would have sent them straight to slaughter. But instead, they are given a respectful life where they live in harmony with their surroundings and all their needs are met to the best of their caregivers abilities. Unlike zoos or farms, animals that live here are not bought, sold, or traded, nor are they used for animal testing.

The Barn Sanctuary in Ann Arbor is a farm rescue sanctuary that is owned and operated by Tom and Dan Mckernam, whose family have owned this farm and this land for a century and a half.  They currently house a variety of animals, including turkeys, chickens, donkeys, cows, goats, pigs, and sheep. Every animal they take in has a name and a home. They are treated with dignity and respect and all their care is overseen by Animal Care Manager Christine Wagner who has helped create and manage a steady group of volunteers that includes Jess Haze and other animal activists in the community.  
We started our Sunday visit by cleaning out the chicken and turkey coups, helped brush the goats, and even got to spend some quality time in the sun on the 51° day with the new born baby goats, who were wearing little light coats on the perfect day on the farm. The experience of being around the animals was both exhilarating and humbling. It was really cool to help take care of the animals and it was eye opening to realize that they have friends and families and likes and dislikes and personalities. It reaffirmed my decision to live a plant based life and made me realize how much work it is to keep these animals healthy and thriving, especially when so many of them come in with heath concerns from the start. Dan and Tom are in the process of making the sanctuary more animal friendly and are hoping to open the space the public this Spring. Their goal is to have as many people as possible interact with the animals and lean about the benefits of a plant based diet.

Once you have seen how happy their animals are and how well they are taken care of, you will fall in love with the Barn Sanctuary. You can follow the stories of all the animals online and make donations to support one or all of the animals. They have one time options and the ability to give something monthly.  Plus, they have an Amazon wish list where you can send them gifts to use on the farm. You can also sign up to become one of there volunteers like I did and you might get the chance to get up close and personal with some of the little ladies and gents yourself. But, you might have to shovel some poop and move some things to do so. This isn't volunteer work for the lighthearted though, so if you're going to reach out make sure you're ready to work.

The sanctuary gave me a new perspective on animals and reaffirmed my decision to go to a plant based diet. If you would like to learn more about the Barn Sanctuary start following them on Facebook here. You will fall in love with all their furry and feathery friends fast.


No comments:

Post a Comment