As a birthday celebration for Cyprus and a way for us to cement our commitment to veganism, our gang took a trip to FARM SANCTUARY!
I cannot even begin to tell you the emotional and inspirational depth to which this trip to FARM SANCTUARY touched. There are no real words to describe the claustrophobic sadness and elated gratitude that swirl inside you as you look into the eyes of animals who have suffered so greatly. They look at you with such awareness and importance, seeming to understand that the people who originally tortured them were people who are not like most of us. They look at you with a trust that is rare even in the best of your friends and loved ones. It feels as if they know that humans don't mean to be so thoughtless and cruel, but we have been so misled and ignorant for so long about our diets, our planet, and even ourselves. Non-human Animals just ARE. I was not only sad for their history and because every day BILLIONS of animals die and suffer for pointless consumptions and conveniences, but also sad because despite their suffering, they seem to be so embracing of life, so present and trusting.
I, too, have suffered a great deal of pain as I grew up. I felt the distance between being helped and being trapped in a torture that no one wanted to see. I know what that is like because I lived in that prison of abuse for 18 years of my life. I know what it is like to be so discarded, abandoned, and to suffer as a child, which is the only human equivalent I can relate to the innocence of a non-human animal. My decision to become Vegetarian as a teenager (and a Vegan in adulthood) was directly related to my own suffering and recovery. I was in such powerful pain as a child, but factory-farmed animals know a pain and suffering that makes my childhood seem like a simple, dramatic, family episode of Dawson's Creek, The O.C. or 90210. I have always thought that if I felt that much sadness, separation, and pain, then it will never be my right or privilege to participate (directly or indirectly) in the imposition of suffering over another Being IN ANY WAY. It isn't even my right or privilege to SPECULATE on whether or not any other Being can feel the same kind of pain as myself. Just because no one knows MY pain doesn't mean I can't feel it. I believe the same is true of any Being. We can only empathize as a way to know another person or Being, using our selves as reference. A person who ignores his direct or indirect part in the equation of pain and cruelty to another Being is a person who does not know himself.There are vast differences among all species, but the ONLY common denominator of communication that we all share is our ability to convey that we are suffering or in pain. It takes very little heart and very little brain to recognize that another Being is in pain or wishes for its own survival. This method of communication across the species is as important for our survival as a community on this planet as it is for the creature, itself, but the acknowledgement of that cry is evermore vital. It is hard for me to understand another human being who ignores this or doesn't care.
To my mind the life of the lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of the lamb for the sake of the human body. I hold that, the more helpless the creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.I do wish the world would listen. I despise apathy. I wish empathy, peace, and freedom for all humans and non-human animals.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi
Farm Sanctuary specializes in rescuing animals who have escaped or were discarded from Factory Farms. Many of these animals were pulled from the "dead pile", which is the pile of animals who have suffered such intolerable conditions that they are no longer able to stand or move on their own. It becomes a nuisance and an inconvenience to maintain these animals, so they are thrown away onto piles while they linger for days among many of their own species, dying.
Adult Chickens who had been rescued from a tornado disaster of a Factory Egg Farm (thousands were left to die, but hundreds were saved by Farm Sanctuary)
My favorite of the animals were the Goats and Sheep; many of these were rescued from urban places (like Brooklyn) where religious idiocy demands they are sacrificed for rituals, or they are horribly provided as food sources. Notice the artificial leg of one of the goats. Several of these goats had lost limbs due to frostbite, torture, and neglect.
These geese and ducks were rescued from farms, but horrifying is the practice of creating Foie Gras.
Another favorite of mine was the Turkeys. I made a trilling, cooing sound and their necks would stretch and just look at me so seriously,inquisitively. They are such curious and affectionate creatures. We all know from what these were saved.
These pigs were rescued from farms and some from skin experiments funded by colleges and the government; Pigs are often used as experiments because their skin is so similar to human skin. They are burned alive to study the damages. One pig here had his own skin sliced off and then replaced in several sections across his body as an experiment in helping understand the importance of "face-lift" surgery.
Leo is at least 7 feet tall and most everyone's favorite animal that day. He was a massive animal rescued as a small calf from the veal factories.
Please take time to educate yourself about the choices you can make to increase the compassion on this planet. It is one of the single, most powerful choices you can make. When you remove yourself from the equation of cruelty in any or all of these things: diet, clothing, entertainment, and products, you make a quantum healing contribution to every aspect of discord on our planet.