When we discovered that the UK’s first farm animal sanctuary was based close to us in neighbouring Worcestershire, Gloucestershire Vegan Group was keen to visit the sanctuary to witness the good work being done to create a place where animals that have been rescued from the horrors of the farming industry are able to live out their natural lives happily and free from cruelty or fear.
“Farm animals are treated worse than almost any other animals,” said Jan, founder of the Farm Animal Sanctuary, at the start of our visit. As vegans, this fact is something that is present in our minds on a daily basis, and often one of the key reasons we make the positive decision to try to live as cruelty-free a life as possible. To visit a farm animal sanctuary and see first-hand the ex-farm animals, many bearing very visible scars or physical conditions as a result of the way they have been treated in the farming industry, really makes the rationale behind choosing not to consume or support any product of animal farming seem very logical.
We were led on a tour of the sanctuary, stopping at each paddock to say hello to the animals within, and hear their tales of survival, told movingly by Jan. She impressed us all with her ability to name almost every sheep in a herd, even whilst being mobbed by them for a rich-tea biscuit (she was carrying a packet to dish out as treats). Jan told us so many of the animals stories, here are a just a few I’d like to share with you:
We spotted immediately that there was something different about George. He was able to move almost as fast as his fellow herd companions, yet it was clear that his front legs were very deformed, and much shorter than his back legs. Jan told us that George, an orphaned lamb, was born this way. When it became clear that he would never grow to commercial weight, George would have eventually been shot. Luckily instead he came to the Farm Animal Sanctuary, where he received much-needed veterinary attention. He had to wear splints and bandages on his legs for months, but now as we saw, was able to live freely in a herd of his companions. Jan made sure that he was given a few extra rich-tea biscuits as he certainly is a very special sheep.
Ginger was one of the first animals we met at the sanctuary. We brought along a few carrots and apples, which hopefully Ginger was able to enjoy with his tea. Jan told us that she had bought Ginger at a livestock market. Many of the sanctuary’s residents come from the result of Jan scouring livestock markets for any ill and vunerable animals. Ginger was one such case, taken from his mother too early at only four months old, he was traumatised and curled up into a ball, and had to be carried in to be auctioned off. The Farm Animal Sanctuary bought Ginger for £6 and he has lived happily there for over 14 years.
As we walked around it was clear that all of the animals were healthy and happy, especially considering that some had such traumatic starts to their lives. We really got the sense that each animal was allowed to thrive, and grow into their own personality.
One of the really memorable moments from our visit was coming across Molly the pig, and her pal Archie (they’d been together all of their lives), blissfully submerged in a puddle of mud. With just one
nostril poking above the swamp, and mud smeared all over her body like a prehistoric fossil, Molly was grunting away blissfully, cooling off on this hot summers day.
We shared a picnic of vegan food in the farmyard after our tour, whilst ducks wandered about and a herd of sheep clattered through, and eyed-up our food interestedly. We chatted about how we’d like to fundraise for the sanctuary, and we will be discussing ways of doing this at our next get-together.
The Farm Animal Sanctuary is a registered charity, it has given a wonderful home to over 2000 very fortunate animals since it started in 1998. They rely largely on donations from the public and also on a dedicated team of volunteers who give their time to help out. So please do visit their website where you can read more about their work, and donate some money if you wish, or contact Jan to volunteer your time.
The official Farm Animal Sanctuary open day and mini-vegan fair is on the 1st September 2013, 1pm-5pm and is being co-ordinated by Reddich Vegetarian and Vegan society. More details here.
Recipes from our picnic at the Farm Animal Sanctuary
2 packets chopped prepared kale
1 red pepper
1/2 lime’s juice
1/2 lemon’s juice
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp agave syrup
Splash of Balsamic vinegar
2 teasp paprika
1. Take out large stalks
2. Mix all other ingredients in bowl
3. Scrunch kale in bowl,with hands,
til kale well coated.
4. Put in dehydrator til crunchy to taste.
(105 f /41c for raw )
1 and 1/2 cups sprouted buckwheat groats
1/4 cup olive oil
2/3 flax seed or chia seed
Flavourings, sundried tomatoes, or mixed herbs, sea salt cracked black pepper etc
- 1. Mix in food processor until a paste.
- 2. Place on silicon sheet and spread with palate knife til evenly spread across sheet. (Makes 2 sheets)
Mark into squares and dehydrate for 8 hrs. Flip over into trays and hydrate for another 8 hrs until crispy.
I usually double Ingredients and do two flavours.
Banana and Courgette Bundt Bread
This wonderful moist banana bread is Isa Chandra’s recipe from the excellent Post Punk Kitchen Website – recipe here, simply baked in a Bundt Tin, rather than a bread tin, and taken out of the oven a little sooner.