Over the weekend, I took a trip to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary with my MeetUp group Montclair Vegans. I’ve been to most the farm sanctuaries in the area, but Woodstock was one I hadn’t visited yet. We knew we were in the right place when we pulled in and saw a goat hanging out on a picnic table.
Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary is located 2 hours north of me, in Willow, New York. It was founded in 2004 by Jenny Brown and Doug Abel after Jenny did undercover work in stockyards for her previous career in television. The sanctuary takes in animals that have been in the victim of cruelty and neglect. Many of these animals were either supposed to be “food” or were castoffs of the meat industry, such as a male goats whose mother was being used for her milk.
Coming face-to-face with animals that are usually thought of as food is an incredible experience. You get to see that each one is an individual with his or her own personality, the same way that all of three of my cats have completely different personalities. Most of the animals we met have suffered horrible abuses at the hands of humans, yet they know they are now save have complete trust in the people around them. Many of them ran towards us when they saw our group coming, eager to say hi and have their backs scratched or their bellies rubbed.
Quite a few of the sanctuary’s animals are allowed to roam around and hangout with the visitors. There Tommy the turkey greats people at the visitor’s center, while a little goat tries to hide. If he can’t see me, I can’t see him, right?
The chickens all ran towards us with the kind of excitement I see in my cats at dinnertime. They all had the same adorable waddle and they were eager to say hello.
The sheep also came running, and were excited to have the attention of a group of new visitors.
Antonio and Bertha are brother and sister, and they are the babies of Julia, whose rescue you may have read about last year. Julia was brutally abused when she was pregnant and was rescued by Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen just days before she gave birth to 16 premature little piglets. Happily, everyone is doing just fine now.
Kayli escaped while being loaded into a holding pen at a slaughter house in Pennsylvania. She was “pardoned” by the governor and brought to Woodstock to spend the rest of her days in peace.
It was far too hot for Dylan and his friends to come great our group. They were content in their resting spot in the trees and refused to move. It was about 95 degrees that day, so I can’t blame them!
The ducks were resting by their wading pool, and didn’t mind the humans intruding on their space.
A bobbed-tail ginger kitty Pogo and a rescued hen made friends with each other. This cat was completely unfazed by the amount of birds he was surrounded with.
If you’ve never come pet a cow or given a big a belly rub, I can’t urge you enough to get yourself to a farm sanctuary and do so at once. Hand feed seeds to a hen or rumble a turkey’s tail feathers. Even if you area already vegan, you’ll never look at the meat that some people call “food” the same way again.