Yesterday was my maiden trip to the local slaughterhouse to help rescue, firsthand. I’ve been volunteering with PSGR for a couple of years now and have submerged myself into all that our work entails but I had yet to accompany Barbara on a slaughterhouse rescue. For a while, I wasn’t ready. Not that I think one can ever truly be ready to witness animals on death row at a slaughterhouse. I know myself well enough to know that for a long time, I just wasn’t ready to go there. Luckily, the need never arose for me to do so. As I learned more, experienced more, understood more and not just in my head but in my heart, I decided that when I was needed, I was ready to go. Yesterday was that day. In some ways it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. In other ways, it absolutely was. Throughout the day I posted photos of our rescue on our fastest growing social media account, Instagram. The response was overwhelming and immediate. I was so clearly reminded of what amazing people there are intertwined in the world of goats and animal welfare. This past year, through our various social media accounts, I have met, both in person and virtually, some truly inspiring people who all share one thing in common; a love of animals and a desire to make the world a better place for them.
A few months ago, I had the privilege of attending a dinner with Gene Bauer, President and Co-Founder of The Farm Sanctuary. A man who years ago, sold veggie hot dogs outside of Grateful Dead concerts to fund farm animal rescues and was a pioneer for farm animals in countless ways. Today, he continues to put farm animal welfare in the national spotlight. I had the pleasure of meeting Matthew Dominguez, Public Policy Manager for the American Humane Society of the US. A man who is motivated, like no other, to fight for farm animals. Farm animals, who are often forgotten in a world that when it comes to animal rights, focuses more on companion animals. Every single day he is on the front lines fighting against AGAG bills, traveling the country and demanding a voice for the animals.
This past winter I fell in love with the stories and photos of some animals rescued from one of the worst animal cruelty cases in New Jersey’s history. For weeks, I sent words of encouragement and kept up to date on how they were doing through Instagram. Today, goats Ansel & Petal, calf Lilly and so many others, because of the caring people who invested in their recovery and care, have turned their tragic beginning into an incredible story of resilience and hope. They are helping shed light on the farm animal cruelty that happens every day in our world.
There is a kindred spirit amongst us all. The rescuers, advocates and sanctuaries who take to social media daily to share the story of our animals and raise awareness of the plight many farm animals face. Together, we reach millions of people. We touch lives, we help educate and are in turn, inspired and humbled.
The messages that poured in yesterday, from strangers, all over the world, were incredibly touching and motivating. Witnessing what I did yesterday, was heartbreaking, but we saved 13 lives. It may be just a drop in a much bigger ocean but it’s something. I believe that together, all of our drops can make a pretty powerful impact. Whether you’re on the front lines pushing for accountability for farming practices or simply sharing pictures and stories of rescued animals; whether you’re rescuing from the trenches of cruelty cases and slaughterhouses or adopting rescued animals of your own; we are all in this together. Each and every one of us is invested in these four legged friends that need our help.
I’m honored to be a part of this community and when it’s time to go back into the trenches, you can bet I’m going right back in. I’ll be doing so knowing I have a pretty awesome group of people behind me.