Jonathan Safran Foer describes it as “one of the most important animal protection, education, and lobbying organizations in America,” and a visit its shelter in New York is responsible for Twitter co-founder Biz Stone becoming a vegan. Farm Sanctuary is the organization that stands to protect the rights of farm animals and this year will celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Founded in 1986 by Gene Baur, Farm Sanctuary has grown from an all volunteer organization, funded by veggie hot dogs sales at Grateful Dead concerts, to a widely respected 230,000 member strong force to be reckoned with. As well as initiating convictions against animal cruelty in stockyards and slaughterhouses, helping to persuade Burger King to produce a veggie burger, and many legal victories to protect farm animals, Farm Sanctuary has two lifelong sanctuaries in Watkins Glen, New York, and Orland, California. Rescuing animals anywhere from natural disasters to slaughterhouses, the sanctuaries have been described as “a heaven for farm animals.”
“Farm Sanctuary began with the simple belief that farm animals, like all living, feeling beings, deserve to be treated with kindness and respect,” said Baur. “When I began visiting farms, stockyards and slaughterhouses in the 1980’s, I was shocked by the horrific conditions I found and the routine cruelties that were considered ‘normal.’ Animals are treated like inanimate commodities, raised by the billions and denied basic humane consideration. Sick animals, or those otherwise deemed to have no economic value have been callously discarded and left to die in trash cans or on piles of dead bodies. Unaware of the abuses of factory farming, most citizens have unwittingly supported this inhumane system, but with growing awareness, change is in the air, I am encouraged to see growing mainstream opposition to the inhumane treatment of animals raised for food, and the increasing support for reforming our abusive and wasteful farming system.”
This milestone anniversary will be celebrated with a series of events across the country, and will be supported by celebrities, public figures, authors and corporate leaders.
Photo credit:Farm Sanctuary