Nestled in a valley in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York is the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, a haven where abandoned and abused farm and factory animals live in peace and splendor. The farm was founded by Kathy Stevens who has penned a book “Animal Camp: Lessons in Love and Hope from Rescued Farm Animals” about her experiences and what they have taught her. This is Kathy’s second book, a follow up to “Where the Blind Horse Sings.” Through both works Stevens has established herself as powerful voice advocating compassion towards animals.
“Animal Camp” recounts tales of Kathy’s work with rescued animals and the joys, frustrations and problems that can occur. Among the many uplifting stories the book recounts is that of three animals whose situations required some extra special care, a blind horse named Hope, a bullied pig named Franklin, and Tucker a Guernsey steer. Hope, Franklin and Tucker were misfits, rejected by their own kind, but they found companionship with each other which led to healing and peace in the barnyard.
Underlying the stories is the hard reality that most animals today are not rescued from miserable lives that end in slaughter. Franklin, the pig, was the runt of his litter and set aside to starve to death by the pork producer. Tucker the cow was saved from a slaughterhouse, and Norma Rae, a turkey was rescued from a turkey bowl before Thanksgiving. All of them spared a gruesome fate that befalls millions of animals around the globe each day.
The stories show us how much more animals can give us than just food. The book is an affirmation of what many of us who love and share our lives with animals already know, that animals are intelligent and, like us, are capable of emotions like love, jealousy and fear.
“What I’ve learned is simultaneously simple and utterly life-changing. Animals are the same as we are,” Kathy said. “Just in the same way that we once looked at people of different races as profoundly different from us, I think our challenge is to get beyond looking at an animal as profoundly different from us. We’re all made of the same stuff.”
“Animal Camp: Lessons in Love and Hope from Rescued Farm Animals” is available for sale now in bookstores and online.
Catskill Animal Sanctuary also offers a vegan cooking program and a summer camp for kids (human children, that is!) CAS is 100% solar powered.
Photo credit: Catskill Animal Sanctuary
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