Last weekend I spent my Saturday afternoon among a bunch of pigs…and chickens…and an amazing group of vegans. I attended the Out to Pasture Sanctuary open house. This was my second year to attend. Last year I was inspired enough to sponsor a pig (Hamey) for a year. Of course I renewed my sponsorship this year.
So why sponsor an animal living at a sanctuary? It is more than just for the health of the animal, although that alone is a worthy reason.
Farm animal sanctuaries allow people to get up close and personal with animals that they may only have ever experienced served on a plate. Animals have individual personalities and high levels of intelligence that go unnoticed by most people. An afternoon watching a mischievous pig play the crowd for a bit of vegan sausage or a chicken looking back at you with a clear sense of curiosity is an experience everyone should have before they are allowed to go to a fast food drive through.
This argument of allowing people to experience animals is often given as an excuse for zoos but sanctuaries are not zoos or circuses. These animals are cared for, loved and respected. No tricks, no enduring an endless stream of young kids poking at them, and no confinement in cages with concrete floors. Unlike many zoos these animals are not subjected to studies or research. They are left to live as happily as possible with no expectation that they give back to the humans caring for them. Several of the animals at Out to Pasture didn’t even come out for a treat and that was fine with everyone. They did not owe us a thing.
Additionally, sanctuaries are also often the only refuge for animals rescued from horrific conditions. Without them what would happen to those battered, weary, and fearful little lives in need of what is probably the first bit of compassion they have ever experienced?
I support animal sanctuaries. I donate to 2 of them annually and I sponsor Hamey. And for those who question why I would support animals when so much human suffering exists, I say suffering is suffering. Until all humans realize that, we will never be able to live in peace. I am helping humans even if they don’t know it or even care.
Interesting blog on zoos: http://kirschnerskorner.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/would-you-leave-your-dog-at-the-zoo/