An inspiring visit to Farm Sanctuary

By Midge Raymond,

I was so glad to be able to join Love Rhymes with Everything authors Dana Feagin (a Sanctuary One board member) and Kat von Cupcake (a Sanctuary One former board member and adopter) for a visit to Farm Sanctuary in Orland, California, for the sanctuary’s Twilight Tour (followed by the best vegan happy hour ever).

It was a wonderful opportunity to visit with the sanctuary animals (who loved the additional affection from visitors) and to learn more about how their lives have turned around thanks to those who do the important work of rescue and providing a safe home.

It was a broiling-hot day in Orland, but all of the animals were cool and happy; the barns had misting fans, and staff and volunteers made sure to keep the animals comfortable…such a contrast to their former lives on factory farms. The Orland sanctuary is on 300 acres, with more than 300 rescued farm animals, including pigs, sheep, goats, cows, chickens, turkeys, chickens, and waterfowl.

Because this was a Twilight Tour, one of the topics was bedtime for the animals, most of whom are only able to sleep for the very first time once they arrive at the sanctuary. Due to the horrible conditions at factory farms, animals from pigs to chickens don’t ever get to fall sleep (to lower one’s guard even for a moment means getting trampled or suffocated), which means they live their entire short lives under unbearable stress.

National Shelter Director Susie Coston talked about how the animals’ lives change so much when they arrive at the sanctuary; they can finally sleep in peace, for the first time in their lives, in addition to being able to enjoy other natural behaviors, like snuggling with others and being able to stay with their families. The animals also tend to sleep very deeply; Susie says that the sanctuary staff often receive concerned calls and emails from people watching the Farm Sanctuary Live Cam: the animals sleep so soundly that viewers worry they may be sick or injured. (Visit explore.org to virtually visit the sheep and turkey barns, the pig and cow pastures, the cattle pond, and more. And don’t panic if the animals don’t move for a while! When we visited the pig barns in person, the pigs were so happy and relaxed they didn’t even look up; they enjoyed belly rubs and ear scritches with their eyes closed.)

During our visit we also got a chance to chat with President and Co-Founder Gene Baur, who gave an inspiring talk about reaching out with kindness to educate those who don’t realize how much these animals suffer, and how making compassionate choices leads to a better world for animals, humans, and the planet.

Sanctuary One wildfire evacuees are up for adoption!

By Midge Raymond,

It’s been a fiery, smoky summer in Southern Oregon, and last week Sanctuary One evacuated its 60 animals — including pigs, goats, sheep, alpacas, horses, duck, geese, dogs, cats, and rabbits — as nearby wildfires got closer. It was a tremendous community effort, which you can read about here on the sanctuary blog, and here in the Mail Tribune.

Brian, Operations Manager, watering down Sanctuary One’s 100-year-old barn

 

John and I went out to the farm on Thursday to pick up three of the sanctuary’s feline evacuees: Thor, Bear, and Harlan. We want to share a little bit about these cats because, like all of Sanctuary One’s animals, they are still up for adoption even while they are in temporary foster homes.

The first thing you should know about these three cats is that they are awesome. The second thing you should know is that all three kitties have Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). This means that Thor, Bear, and Harlan must be indoors-only and should live as only cats, or with other cats who also have FIV to prevent spreading the virus to non-FIV cats (the virus is mainly spread through bites). FIV-positive cats are otherwise very much like any other house cat; they can live long, healthy lives and don’t need any special medication. (Also, FIV cannot be transmitted to humans or other animals.) Learn more about FIV here.

Now, more about the cats! Let’s begin with Thor & Bear, a bonded pair who are best buddies and are looking for a home together.

Thor is a gorgeous tabby who’s had a tough life…he was found on the streets after a mighty battle, and he is not only FIV-positive but he’s missing one of his back legs. Yet this hasn’t slowed him down one bit … this tiny five-year-old can be shy and skittish as he learns to trust you, but he’s the feisty one of these three for sure and can definitely hold his own. (Just watch Bear try to take a bite of his food.) Most of all, he is a total lovebug; he loves chin scritches, sitting on your lap, and he can snuggle forever. He’s got an amazing purr and is insanely soft.

Thor’s best buddy, Bear, is a gentle giant at 14 pounds. (He’s not fat, just big-boned.)

Bear is also a snuggler — he loves laps (he and Thor have both climbed into my lap at once for snuggles) and he is incredibly mellow and sweet. He and Thor often head-butt and snuggle with each other, and they are a beautiful pair. It’s hilarious to watch Bear eye Thor’s food … if he gets too close, Thor will sometimes give him a little swat, but usually it takes no more than a stern look, and Bear will back away and wait patiently until Thor is finished, then go lick the bowl. Bear is 10 years old but incredibly playful, chasing toys around like a cat half his age. He’s also an Olympic-class napper and loves thick blankets and warm sunny spots.

And finally, there’s Harlan.

Those of you who know our late, beloved General Manager know that we have a soft spot for orange and white cats, and of course Harlan is no exception. Like so many orange cats, he’s got a big personality and is tons of fun. Harlan is five years old and as playful as a kitten; he loves playing with wand toys but often just finds random things to chase and attack. He is also extremely curious and has explored places we didn’t even know a cat could get to.

Somehow he does it all with so much grace, getting in and out of odd places without any harm to himself or the house.

Harlan does very well with his two roommates and is a very easygoing, mellow kitty — but he’s also independent and entertains himself. He loves people and will stretch out next to you; he also loves being held if he’s in the mood. We suspect one day he will be a lap cat … he’s 100% not there yet, but he’s very affectionate and adores attention.

We really can’t say enough about how much we love our temporary new housemates. We were thrilled to be in a position to take them in, and it’s a privilege to share our lives with them as they await their permanent homes.

If you are looking for a cat, or two, or all three — please visit the Sanctuary One website for more info on each of these kitties, and to get started, fill out the sanctuary adoption form here. You are also welcome to contact us if you have any questions about them before or during the adoption process. Please also feel free to share this with anyone in the Rogue Valley who may be looking for a feline companion (or two, or three).

And if you aren’t able to adopt one of these charming boys, a gift to Sanctuary One will help them care for these three and many more!

Saving the planet begins on our plates

By Midge Raymond,

It’s frustrating to go to an fundraiser for an animal rescue and find animals on the menu. Many organizations that believe in saving cats and dogs unfortunately do not believe in sparing cows, pigs, or chickens. Slowly, education and progress is happening — Animal Place‘s Food for Thought program offers wonderful tools to help organizations see that all animals matter — yet many organizations still resist.

Likewise, very few environmental organizations make the connection between animal agriculture (which is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined) and the environment — and yet this is a vital connection to make, especially during a time when our government is rolling back environmental protections. We as citizens and consumers can do so much good simply by making wiser choices — not only in how we get to work but what we put on our plates. Consider these statistics, from the Cowspiracy website (Cowspiracy is a must-see film about the connections between environmental degradation and animal agriculture):

  • Even without fossil fuels, we will exceed our 565 gigatons CO2e limit by 2030, all from raising animals.
  • Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually, compared to 70-140 billion from fracking.
  • Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of the water in the US.
  • 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.
  • 5% of water consumed in the US is by private homes; 55% of water consumed in the US is for animal agriculture.
  • Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land.
  • Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.
  • 3/4 of the world’s fisheries are exploited or depleted — we could see fishless oceans by 2048.
  • For every 1 pound of fish caught, up to 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-catch.

There is good news, however: Increasing numbers of animal rescues see the myriad benefits of protecting all animals, and some environmental organizations do realize that saving the planet means being plant-based. I reached out to many of them to learn how they came to this realization and how they deal with those who challenge them … and most of all, to thank them.

All rescue and environmental organizations need to consider their food policies in order to truly do their best for animals and the planet. Oceanic Preservation Society executive director Louis Psihoyos puts it well: “You have to walk the walk in the environmental movement. I don’t believe in gray areas in this issue…People are starting to understand that the best way to make changes for the environment is to change what’s on your plate.” And GREY2K USA president Christine A. Dorchak says, “Helping dogs while hurting cows, pigs, or chickens just doesn’t make sense.”

I spoke with Barbara Troyer of Food for Thought, as well as the executive directors of Alley Cat Allies, Animals Asia, the Beagle Freedom Project, Foster Parrots, Grey2K, Oceanic Preservation Society, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, Sanctuary One, and the Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies. I ended up so inspired by their passion for and dedication to the animals, the environment, and to making the world a better place. You can learn more about all these wonderful organizations in these two articles in Barefoot Vegan Magazine and in VegNews.

On Valentine’s Day, Love Rhymes with Everything!

By Midge Raymond,

Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to launch our newest title, Love Rhymes with Everything: Animal Ruminations through Poetry & Paintings.

This beautiful book is the result of a unique collaboration among artist, poet, and publisher, all of whom have volunteered their time, skills, and resources to create a full-color art book that will delight and entertain — as well as benefit animal rescue organizations!

In Love Rhymes with Everything, you’ll meet sanctuary animals and beloved pets, rescues and strays now living in peace among their own, or in forever homes with their human families. You’ll meet cows and pigs, dogs and fish, chickens and ducks, cats and goats — and many more.

You’ll see the beautiful faces of these exquisite creatures captured by Dana Feagin’s whimsical paintings, and you’ll hear their voices in Kat von Cupcake’s affecting poetry. In this collection of rescued and beloved animals, you’ll learn that, for these fortunate animals, love truly can conquer all — and, with all proceeds from this book benefiting animal rescue organizations, that love stretches far beyond these pages.

Every penny from the sales of Love Rhymes with Everything will benefit animals; visit the book’s web page to see which animal organizations — including Karuna for Animals, Sanctuary One, and The Sanctuary at Soledad Goats — are selling the book, and buy directly to support them.

If you’re with a rescue organization and would like copies of Love Rhymes with Everything for fundraising purposes, please visit our Nonprofit Partners page.

And for all of you in Southern Oregon: Join us for our book-launch event on Sunday, February 26, at South Stage Cellars in Jacksonville. South Stage Cellars has generously donated its tasting rooms for the event, and all proceeds from this launch party will benefit Sanctuary One. Click here for more details!

Art & poetry at Ashland’s Enoteca

By Midge Raymond,

For all of you in Southern Oregon (or visiting!), be sure to stop by the wine tasting room Enoteca this month to see the wonderful collaboration of artists Dana Feagin and Kat von Cupcake.

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This exhibit, “Animal Ruminations: A Collaboration in Poetry and Paint,” a show of Dana’a paintings paired with Kat’s poetry, will be at Enoteca until November 30. The opening reception will be on First Friday, November 4, from 5 to 8 p.m, featuring music, wine, and appetizers.

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Original art, cards, and prints of Dana’s fantastic animal paintings and Kat’s delicious baked goodies will be available for purchase during the reception. This two-month show is a fundaiser for Sanctuary One. All proceeds benefit the Sanctuary.

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Here is a glimpse of the art/poetry pairings you’ll find … and when you visit you’ll see (and read about) animals from cats and dogs to pigs, ducks, and roosters.

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Enoteca is located in the Plaza in downtown Ashland; click here for hours and other details.