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In the mid 1980s America’s first farm animal sanctuary was established. Today, Farm Sanctuary, located in upstate New York and in California, serves as a model for sanctuarys like Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville MD. Located on 400 acres of pristine up-county Maryland farmland, Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary serves as a beacon of comfort, care, rehabilitation and permanent sanctuary for our nation’s neglected, abandoned or unwanted factory-farmed animals, victims of inhumane confinement and cruelty.
It is here at the sanctuary that each rescued animal is transformed from a commodity into being recognized as the cogent being that they are, respected and cherished for their individuality. And it is this very transformation that serves to caution us not to abuse the gift of dominion that God gave to us. Instead of choosing to rule God’s gifts through tyranny, we should instead choose to rule in the image of God’s loving dominion over us, his children, by exercising benevolent stewardship over the the fruits of our earth.
For their part each year, and along with other farm sanctuarys across the country, Poplar Spring’s Thanksgiving with the Turkeys event shines a light on the cruel and needless annual slaughter of millions of factory farmed turkeys by hosting a vegan potluck dinner for hundreds of their friends and supporters.
Preparations are well under way for dining with the turkeys!
Sprital and Irene are chickens rescued from Hurricane Katrina.
Gobbles is how we picture what a traditional Thanksgiving turkey looks like. However, years ago consumers were turned off by the dots of color from the black feathers that sometimes remained on the skin of packaged turkeys. So factory farmed turkeys were bred to have only white feathers. As a result of consumer’s demands for bigger, plumper breast meat, further genetic manipulation has produced freakishly overweight turkeys who suffer from devastating chronic organ disease and painful, crippling bone disfigurements. Their life of torture and misery begins shortly after hatching, when turkeys (as well as chickens) have the ends of their beaks and toes clipped off. These mutilations are performed without anesthesia, ostensibly to reduce injuries that result when birds stressed by confinement and pain are driven to fighting.
You can learn many more documented facts of animal cruelty practices as it relates to turkeys and other poultry here.
Edward Peacock is the first to arrive!
Wilbur is a pig who was rescued from a Virginia farm where he had been left to starve.
Harry is a pig who was used in university medical research, his entire miserable existence spent alone in a small cage. When his research was done he was brought to Poplar Spring.
Jake was a 4-H project calf who was sold by the girl who raised him at a 4-H auction. Thankfully, a neighbor who had fallen in love with him was the winning bid against a slaughterhouse.
Jacob fell off a veal auction-bound truck at one-day old, with his umbilical cord still intact. He was rescued from the side of the road.
Hearing the heartwarming tales of rescue
Everyone partakes in Thanksgiving!
” That’s where the goats and sheep are hiding! ”
Lenny is a goat who was born on a dairy farm and the same day discarded on a pile of dead and dying babies by the farmer.
As a newborn lamb Hickory was rejected by his mother and subsequently abandoned and left to die by the farmer who owned him.
Bought at auction Dorothy and another sheep were destined for slaughter for a family’s religious holiday. The family was so traumatized after killing the first sheep that they brought Dorothy to Poplar Spring.
Hannah the goat was found wandering in a park in SE Washington DC.
Living outdoors in the fresh air in a natural setting at last!
No more fear of being tortured by mass confinement, force feeding and chronic, painful organ disease for Foie Gras!
The rescued animals of Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary are now living the balance of their lives in a beautiful sylvan setting, freed from a life of misery and a gruesome death. However, even with the loving care and rehabilitation administered by the sanctuary’s loving and dedicated staff, the grim reality is that many of the sanctuary’s animals retain permanent emotional, psychological and physical disabilities. Here at the sanctuary you can see up close the devastating results of animal engineering, hybridized animals bred to meet the demands of mass consumption. The super-sized cows and pigs struggle painfully to support their out-sized frames, and many of the chickens and turkeys fail to eat in a normal manner, having to compensate for the results of factory farming’s painful de-beaking process.
Yet, despite their tragic histories, it is inspiring and uplifting to witness the profound results that loving patience and care has on healing the inner spirit of these survivors, encouraging them to courageously and joyfully go on with their daily lives. We have much to learn about the power of persistence, determination and forgiveness from these ‘other nations’ who would have every reason to want to continue to live in terror of us.
For those of you who choose to eat meat I would at least ask you to please consider compassionate choices. Become a conscious thinker and learn the real truth behind many of the labels such as ‘cage free’, ‘free range’ and ‘grass fed’. You can start by visiting reliable organizations’ websites like Mercy for Animals, Humane Myth, and Farm Sanctuary to find out how you can make more informed, cruelty-free choices.
“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves.
And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
Henry Beston American writer and naturalist