Anyone who knows anything about me, probably knows that I interned at Farm Sanctuary. That’s how I met Riley and Petunia, after all. Most people don’t really know how important my experiences there truly were to me though. I intend for this to be the first of a series of post detailing my time with their organization.
First, I would like to give a little bit of back story, for anyone who doesn’t know. Farm Sanctuary is an animal rights organization that was started in 1986. They currently run two shelters, where they house and care for, nearly 1000, rescued farmed animals, and a few non-farm type animals. The first is located in Watkins Glen, in upstate New York, and the other is in Acton California, a small town about forty-five minutes outside of Los Angeles.
They invite people to come and tour the shelters, meet the residents, and see them for the individuals they are. I did this myself before I interned there. I, my mother, my sister, and some friends of ours, stayed in the bed and breakfast cabins at the Watkins Glen shelter for a couple of days and had the opportunity to see the property and witness all of these beautiful animals living lives of peace and comfort, rather than the brief, miserable lives they would have lived, had they not ended up with Farm Sanctuary. It was a truly beautiful experience.
I was already vegan at the time that we visited Farm Sanctuary, and I had been around these types of animals before, but I was still amazed by how much my perspective of them changed. Getting the chance to meet so many cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, and see for myself how different each one was, how unique each of their personalities, truly solidified my commitment to doing whatever I could to help the rest of the world to see this. It was also incredibly comforting for me to see so many humans who truly cared for these beautiful creatures the way I do. To see the staff interacting with them, and hear the way they spoke about them, gave me hope that, one day, the world really could change.
A few months later, my family and I went back for the Celebration FOR the Turkeys, a Thanksgiving event that Farm Sanctuary puts on every year. They serve a lovely vegan Thanksgiving dinner, where there are guest speakers, discussing various animal rights issues. They also do a group tour, where everyone gets to walk around and meet some of the residents. The highlight of the day though, is the feeding of the turkeys. They prepare traditional Thanksgiving dishes, like pies and cranberries (all vegan of course), and everyone gathers around to feed these dishes to the turkeys who live at the sanctuary. Seeing all of these happy turkeys, and all of these people admiring them, rather than murdering them, was deeply profound for me. After that, I knew that I needed to get involved with this organization.
I did two animal care internships with them, the first in Watkins Glen, New York, the second in Acton, California. It was a difficult, stressful, and sometimes heartbreaking experience, but it was also, quite possibly, the best thing I’ve ever done. I honestly don’t think I would be the person I am today, had I not worked with them.
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