For a small and chronically under-funded sanctuary, we’ve had an outsized impact on the animal advocacy movement. That’s because of the projects we pursue alongside direct animal care.
Shortly after the sanctuary was founded in 2000, cofounder pattrice jones attended and spoke at the annual United Poultry Concerns Forum. The theme of that conference was the role of farmed animal sanctuaries in the animal liberation movement. Our contribution included a strongly worded call for the animal liberation movement to work in coalition with other movements on issues like trade globalization. We were pleased to find movement leaders like Karen Davis, Lorri Bauston, and Jim Mason receptive to our forthright analysis of the need for the animal liberation movement to recognize the intersection of oppressions, improve its internal diversity, and forge coalitions with other movements.
We were also struck by something Jim Mason said about the need for sanctuaries to have projects beyond the day-to-day care of animals. We saw that many other sanctuaries, like Poplar Spring and Farm Sanctuary, were doing a very good job at promoting veganism by introducing people to farmed animals. United Poultry Concerns had cornered the market on researching and publicizing the plight of chickens. What could we do that somebody wasn’t already doing? What were we in an especially good position to do? What ecological niche could we fill in the animal liberation movement?
Our previous work in other activist movements positioned us well to work on fostering diversity and coalition-building within the animal liberation movement, which we immediately began to do through conference presentations, publications, and our website. We’ve also worked within coalitions, such as Global Hunger Alliance and Global Justice for Animals and the Environment.
Sanctuary co-founder pattrice jones facilitates GHA meeting in Rome
We quickly identified agriculture reform — not the introduction of welfare reforms to current factory farming practices but, rather, the wholesale reorientation of local and global food systems away from meat, egg, and dairy production — as another area in which we might make a difference. We believe that “go vegan” campaigns focused on changing consumer preferences must be joined by serious and strategic attention to the economics, logistics, and politics of trade and agriculture at the global and local levels
On the Sanctuary side, our most innovative ongoing project concerns the rehabilitation of former fighting roosters. We were the first to develop a method of soothing and re-socializing roosters who have been used in cockfighting. In addition to continuing to work with newly rescued birds, we work to rehabilitate the reputations of roosters so that more sanctuaries will be willing to offer them shelter and also to show how this form of animal abuse helps to promote and maintain hurtful gender stereotypes among people. Similarly, the gay ducks among us provoked us to start thinking about the intersections between animal liberation and LGBTQ liberation.
Finally, as we believe all animal advocates should, we devote some of our time to the most urgent problem facing all animals: climate change. As with agriculture reform, we believe that strategic, knowledge-based activism in this realm can lead to greater change.