November 1st – World Vegan Day: Celebrating the Difference We Make When We Put Compassion First! #Vegan #AnimalRights

At Farm Sanctuary, we see farm animals as our friends, not our food – and an important part of our mission is working to protect them from unnecessary harm by promoting compassionate vegan living. When people get to know farm animals up close through opportunities like our public tours and special events, they often discover how intelligent, affectionate, and unique these animals can be. Many draw parallels between farm animals and the dogs and cats that we typically know better, and come to the conclusion that all animals are worthy of our love and protection.


Shelter Manager Jill Tedeschi cradles newborn Hazelton while his mom, Tracey, looks on with pride.


Humanimal Cyndy Roseman-Puccio carries two newly rescued chickens. Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals


National Facilities Manager Chad Richmond introduces his son, Nathan, to Joshua steer. Photo by Connie Pugh


Humanimal Abbie Rogers is known for her “chicken whispering” skills.


Humanimal Mario Ramirez with his buddy JD piglet.


Humanimal Danielle Petrovich gets a kiss from her buddy Safran steer.


Kameke Brown shows some love to Marcia goat.


Barry and Jackie turkeys love Farm Assistant Ben Hamilton! Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals


Humanimal Breezy shares a smile with pal Maria goat. Breezy and Maria share a special anniversary today: It’s both Breezy’s “veganniversary” and the anniversary of Maria’s rescue!


Humanimal Alicia Pell with her buddy Turkey Lurkey.

 

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Mother-daughter duo Olive and Maggie share a sweet moment together. Safe at Farm Sanctuary following then-pregnant Olive’s rescue from a backyard butcher, they will spend the rest of their lives together.

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Fanny and Merlin were an inseparable pair until Fanny’s passing earlier this year. Their relationship shows us that farm animals are just as capable of giving and receiving love as we and our companion animals are — and they teach us how special and transformational the power of love can be.

For many who have already made the switch to an animal-friendly diet, the decision was an incremental one; over time, we came to the conclusion that the practices we’re used to are no longer compatible with our core values. While there are as many reasons to go vegan as there are individual vegans,
most people who choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle do so for three main reasons: personal health, the environment, and of course, the animals.

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Whenever you choose a plant-based meal instead of one containing animal products, you make a difference for animals like William and Carlee

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…Goodwin and Marjorie

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Scott

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…and Ari and Nik.

It can be difficult to break out of our comfort zones and change our ingrained
habits and traditions. For example, many of us grew up eating turkeys on
Thanksgiving. We’re taught that this is normal – and trained not to think bout the lives of the animals behind these meals.

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Frank narrowly avoided being killed for meat, making a daring escape as he was unloaded from a transport vehicle for slaughter. At Farm Sanctuary, he is free to be the unique individual he is!

But it’s just as easy to convene with our loved ones over a compassionate meal – to take part in the customs and traditions we treasure, while at the same time extending compassion beyond the beings we share our
tables with. All movement in the direction of plant-based eating is positive, and no action is too small to make a difference.

For example, choosing to adopt a turkey for Thanksgiving instead of eating one, or learning about how you can substitute compassionate alternatives for traditional favorites, are great ways to align your actions with your values and make decisions that you can feel good about.

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Barry, Maurice, and Robin learning how to perch last year.

We invite you to make compassionate choices no matter where you are on your
personal journey. Whether you’re a longtime vegan or just beginning to dabble in
plant-based options, we all have the potential to make a difference – to choose
kindness over cruelty and spread compassion.

Here at Farm Sanctuary, we’re fortunate to work with a team of incredible “humanimals”
who have dedicate their lives to helping farm animals. Their stories are shining examples of the positive difference that making compassionate choices can have on our lives.

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Daniel Singleton with his friend Safran steer.

“Working at Farm Sanctuary and being around farm animals every day has shown me that veganism isn’t about abstract values or theories: It’s about individuals,” says caregiver Daniel Singleton. “Veganism is a recognition of the value of each individual animal despite his or her species. I’ve gotten to know so many farm animals on a deep individual level and know that every cow, chicken, and pig on every farm has their own individual personality. Some are kind, some are shy, some are angry, some want to be left alone, and some just want love. Seeing the diverse and intense personalities of the animals at the sanctuary makes me incredibly sad to think animals in agriculture will never get the chance to express their whole self.

“I think the more we know and the better we understand the world we live in, the more likely we are to make choices that will lead to a better world. And in the end, that is what we are trying to do here at Farm Sanctuary – seeing the creatures of this world as they truly are: individuals with emotions, desires, and personalities, and know we have to live differently from the way humans always have to create a better, more compassionate world.”

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Sarah Lux with her buddy Harrison steer.

“I could have been the least likely person you know to go vegan,” recalls Sarah Lux, Farm Sanctuary’s Director of Donor Relations. “You know those people who wave bacon in your face? Yup –
that was me. Just witnessing the simple act of a friend ordering a veggie
burger would bother me. When people around me were choosing more compassionate
options, it would make me defensive without even knowing why. Looking back, I
now recognize that as cognitive dissonance. Today, when I see people being
triggered by my vegan choices, my own history reminds me to be patient with
them. I know that hidden internal struggle firsthand, and I am grateful to all
the caring people who planted seeds of awareness with me that I first resisted
but would later germinate and sprout.

“I have a lot more hope for the world. Every single day I connect with such
generous, caring, brilliant, and passionate people, and see more and more
people getting involved for the first time. I can’t help but believe that with
people like these on the side of farm animals, the world has no choice but to
continue becoming more compassionate.”

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Email Marketing Specialist Jae Ramos gets a neck hug from Ari, a survivor of the dairy industry.

Many vegans will recognize the common refrain: “I could never go vegan because I love ________ (cheese/bacon/etc.) too much.” But as more and more delicious, cruelty-free alternatives to our
favorite meals are reaching the mainstream, making the switch has become easier than
ever. For some people, having these plant-based alternatives makes the transition to a
plant-based lifestyle seem much more manageable. And many, along the way, begin to realize that
choosing compassionate alternatives is not a sacrifice at all. Rather, it can
add more to our lives than we ever thought possible.

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Kate Powell and Annie turkey shared a deep and loving bond. “I can’t describe what happened between her and I, but we just clicked,” says Kate. “It was like when you meet your best friend or your partner in crime. Every time I came into her barn or yard she ran up to be, and would climb on my lap or rest her head on my shoulder. She would fall asleep while I stroked her neck or gave her a belly rub. She was perfect.”

“I had been vegetarian since college, and had slowly – without even thinking about
the ultimate goal of becoming vegan – started cutting out other animal products
as I learned how bad they all were for the animals,” recalls Northern California Shelter Manager Kate Powell. “It started with eggs and ended with giving up the last animal product I used: half-and-half in my coffee. That was when I became vegan. In my mind, becoming vegan was something that was going to be really
difficult to do when looking at everything involved, but when I started cutting out different products when I learned about the cruelty involved on an individual basis, it was really easy.

“When I gave up the last animal product I used, it was when someone said something to me that I will never forget – and that was that for me, tasting the half-and-half was more important than the suffering of the animal involved. From the second I heard that I gave it up because I knew that it was in no way (not even close!) more important than the suffering of another living being. Nothing is worth putting any animal through any type of suffering or cruelty. Absolutely nothing.”

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Jessica Due with her beloved friend Dopey pig.

For caregiver Jessica Due, a shocking realization about society’s relationships with farm animals inspired
her make changes that aligned with her compassionate values. “In my late twenties, I found myself employed at a farm animal rescue. I remember telling my new coworkers that I had never eaten meat with great pride. I also remember their faces as they smiled and then asked me when I went vegan.
I was stunned. Why did I need to be vegan to show compassion towards animals?
What did vegan mean?

“There were dairy cows in California that simply produced milk for our enjoyment – I had seen the commercials, I was sure it was true. Yes, marketing is that good, that I truly believed that ‘Happy Cows’ came from California. [My coworker] asked me where human milk comes from and I said a lactating mom. She then watched me as it all clicked and the comfortable life I had known as a vegetarian fell apart around me. I had no idea about the abuse in factory farms and in the dairy industry and after [watching] a three-minute undercover video, my world was turned upside down. I called my mom shortly after making the decision to go vegan and explained the truth about the dairy industry and what I had just seen. After our phone conversation, she went vegan with me.”

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Kameke takes care of new arrival Clarke goat during her internship at our Northern California Shelter.

Many people feel that veganism is a way to live as authentically as possible – a decision to live in accordance with our morals and create lives that we are proud to lead. “Coming out was an experience that really shook up my world,” says Volunteer Program Coordinator Kameke Brown. “It was a decision to live openly, honestly, and authentically in spite of the negative messages I had received from society about what that would mean – similarly to my experiences of being black and female. I was frustrated by acts of violence on the news being carried out on the basis of discrimination and fear, and I had found the confidence in coming out to challenge the stories I had been told and to more confidently step into and create my world. I thought to myself, “What can I do to make a difference about the violence and violent ideologies being perpetrated in our world? I soon realized that it was worthwhile for me to examine the ways in which I was contributing to a paradigm of violence with the personal choices I made on a daily basis. I told myself, ‘I am going vegan for the animals and for all of us’ and I haven’t looked back since.”

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Tara Hess gives some love to her buddy Eric pig.

Senior Shelter Manager Tara Hess, who left her teaching career to work with farm animals, credits a Farm Sanctuary tour with her decision to go vegan – a choice that has brought more to her life than she ever thought possible. “We went on a tour and I fell completely in love. I didn’t know how, but I just
knew I had to work here. I was vegetarian at the time and went vegan that same day.

“After my first few days, I knew this was it. I felt the way I always wanted to feel about teaching
– like it was in my blood, like I couldn’t possibly do anything else, and that I was willing to give everything I had to the job. I feel so grateful to finally have found what I think I was searching for all along.”

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Tara’s favorite part of her job is interacting with rescued residents like Grace sheep
– a love that she has passed along to her own daughter. This burgeoning
relationship shows us how innate compassion truly us, and how our lives are
enriched when we embrace these natural, loving relationships with the beings we
share our planet with. “Grace has been one of my favorites since I first met
her during my internship. The sheep barn is my favorite spot on the farm – I
have many fond memories of spending time there. Annabelle recently met Grace,
which was very exciting. They were both so gentle with each other – Annabelle
tends to be more of a grabber than a petter, but she gently touched Grace’s
face and then rested her face on Grace’s. It was amazing.”

Tara’s husband, Photo & Video Content Manager Luke Hess, experienced a gradual shift in his
relationship with farm animals. Luke started out by questioning society’s presumed “need” to consume animal products. Over time, that questioning evolved into a calling to connect with the animals who are commonly abused in the meat, egg, and dairy industries, and to share their stories with others. “At some point, I was in the grocery store, and I was looking at all the meat, and for some reason instead of just grabbing what I ‘needed’ I remember thinking to myself, ‘Look at all this meat…we [society] don’t even have to kill these animals, or do any prep work. We just run to a store, grab a Styrofoam package with chicken thighs wrapped in shrink wrap, ready to go!’ Something really felt wrong to me about it, and I didn’t know what it was.

“It wasn’t until Tara and I had visited the farm that I had decided I wanted to make a change in my
eating habits. When I met the goats, I couldn’t believe how sweet they were, and they just had this look in their eyes that I can’t describe. And the pigs – I thought their eyes looked like human eyes. I thought, ‘Why do humans have the right to use these animals for food?’ We’re not raised to see farm animals as friends or pets – we’re raised to see them as our dinner.

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Luke poses with Francis, one of his favorite subjects.

“I decided I would simply try to be vegetarian,” Luke says. “After about three weeks, I thought, ‘If I’m going
vegetarian, why not just try to cut all animal products from my diet?’ And so now I’ve been vegan for over seven years.”

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Our companion animals often inspire compassionate change, allowing us to see and value all beings as the unique individuals they re. “I feel that my dog Shuggy has transformed my life,” Amanda says. “Around the same time I adopted him I began experimenting with vegetarianism. I immediately loved him so much, I couldn’t imagine anyone hurting him. He immediately trusted me, and depended on me for everything. The connection and bond that we formed was one that was stronger than most connections I had with humans. I started to think about the connection to farm animals, and how like Shuggy, they trust us. They want the chance to live out their lives surrounded by those they love, just as any of our companion animals would.”

“I first went vegan eight years ago,” recalls Major Gifts Officer Amanda Fortino. “I was in the airport looking for a book to read on my plane ride and picked up Skinny Bitch. I read the book from cover to cover and at the end, I decided that there was no way that I could continue to eat animals and not cause them immense amounts of harm. I didn’t want to participate in any way to animal abuse, and so I stopped eating animals, and went completely vegan. It was the best decision I ever made!

“Since starting at Farm Sanctuary, farm animals are no longer large statistics – instead they are my family, they are loved ones who I cherish. The farm animals at our sanctuaries are true ambassadors. They allow our members and staff, like me, to meet them as sentient beings – individuals. And those interactions can truly transform lives.”

Caregiver Sierra Sundseth shares a moment with Maya pig.

At Farm Sanctuary, every day is Vegan Day – and we are honored to share our lives with so many incredible individuals (animal and humanimal alike) who make the world a better place. Here, veganism is all about love – for ourselves and the animals with whom we share our planet. Kindness in any form makes a difference – and no matter where you are on your journey, we are thankful for the role you play in our work to create a more compassionate world for all.

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Jumping for joy about Farm Sanctuary life! Animals like Lulu goat benefit from every compassionate food choice you make!

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