When in Woodstock you have to visit the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, a haven for those fortunate animals that escaped or were rescued from factory farms. If these animals could talk, they would share the inhumain acts they have experienced, such as being deprived freedom to walk, to feel, to nurture their own young, to have food that they like, to move freely without being stuck in one position, and to choose when to be pregnant and so much more. Despite their own stories of misery, desperation and suffering we got an little insight of their quirky personalities and characteristics. The Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary (WFAS) began in late 2004 by Jenny Brown and Doug Abel with a small group of rescued chickens from a factory farm, and a rooster who had been dumped in a NYC schoolyard.
We met Miss Piggy (pictured above) during our tour, who had been rescued off the side of the road in North Carolina with a red stripe painted down her neck a telltale sign she was marked for slaughter. No one knows how she escaped but she was picked up by locals Valerie and Eric, who took her back and raised her for two years until she got too big for their garden. They donated Miss Piggy to WFAS to take care of her and she has been living here since. Miss Piggy, loves humans, bagels and cakes, and like a dog knows when Valerie and Eric come and visit her, she recognises the sound of their car and runs towards them. She doesn’t like the company of other pigs, ironically.
There are several animals here that have been rescued from traumatic experiences, and some wear the scares of their torture. A sheep called Louise unfortunately her ear was frozen to the ground and was left to die, she suffered from frost bite and a swollen ankle. She was rescued and donated to the farm. Now Louise is the sheep scout, always sussing out the environment to make sure its safe for her fellow flock of sheep to roam around. There are bulls that have been rescued from becoming veal meat because they are male. These cows were separated from their mothers after two days of being on planet earth. One farmer recalled that when he removed a calf from its mother, he never heard an animal mourn so deeply for her child continuously over a month. There are over 300 chickens who have been rescued from seriously horrid caged environments. They are deficient in nutrients, because they were forced to lay eggs beyond their natural capacity therefore lacking in protein. The shell of the egg is made from calcium, chickens need 29 days in their natural form to lay approximately an handful of eggs a month. However in traumatic farming conditions they are expected to lay more, which results in them becoming malnutritioned. They would normally have a life span of 10 years, but that is reduced to 5 years due to the factory farmed conditions.
The farmers want to farm these animals in the most cheapest or value for money way, which means the animal suffers tremendously. There are approximately 80 animal abattoirs in Manhattan New York. Some people can go into these environments, pick an animal they fancy, which is then taken in the back to be slaughtered for meat. How do we choose to value one life over another? Our greed to eat meat is giving us a bigger karmic debt that perhaps we will pay for in years and lifetimes to come. There are severe health concerns regarding the quality of meat that is produced in factory farms. This also includes cattle gazing which is associated with pesticides and antibiotics. We are encouraged and led to believe that consuming dairy products for calcium and meat for protein will give us optimum health. This is not so, if the animals are being used to produce well above their capacity, which is overexerting their own health then how can they provide us with the essential nutrients and goodness?
Miss Piggy is fortunate because she escaped. Had she not, her destiny would be different. Pigs are kept in small cages where they can only move up or down, they cannot run or walk or roam around in mud. The mud helps them to keep cool, instead they are left to suffer. When the pigs are about to give birth their cage expands at the bottom allowing the pig to lie down while she milks her babies for two weeks and then her babies are taken away from her. The mother is left weeping, sad and depressed.
The agricultural business is huge. It is a multi-billion dollar business, with a lot of money which in our day and age means power in both the political and media arena. When you watch the television tonight just observe the number of animal products being sold to you, weather its food, clothing, furniture, or pleasure. The milk that is taken from a calcium deprived cow is marketed to give us protein and calcium but its full of puss, antibiotics and the wrong type of calcium. To get an overview on how this industry impacts the environment watch Cowspiracy which is a great educator.
Let us empower our animals and think twice how we spend our money when it comes to ethical food choices? clothes? Animals have five senses like us, they feel, they see, they hear, they talk and they have personality, they have character, they fight amongst themselves, they love some food and not others, they like nature, but most of all they just want to be loved and respected and not used for our selfish needs.