Saturday, September 8, 2012

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

Photo:  "Little Dude" a pig c/o WFAS
The family and I took a nice trip upstate a couple of weeks ago to breathe some fresh air and get away from the craziness of New York City.  While we were there we saw family, roasted s'mores in a bonfire, swam and hiked and generally had a fabulous time. Since our girls are old enough to walk and love animals, we thought it would be nice to see some farm animals while we were there.  Some quick research led us to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.  Located just a short drive from the town of Woodstock, this lovely farm is home to farm animals that have been abandoned or saved from slaughter.  Tours are available on weekends and children can be introduced to animals in the best of all environments - their home.  Our 20-month old was particularly taken with Albie the goat, who happens to be missing a leg, and learned firsthand how animals poop.  Our visit to the farm was close and personal, and certainly a lesson in how happy animals live.

Since we've been living in New York, I've been a practicing pescatarian - for environmental reasons but also for health reasons.  Going to this farm gave me another reason to give up meat - for the humanity of it.  Seeing my children playing with animals that are clearly happy, which sadly is not the story of most animals these days, was moving and touching.  The owner of this Woodstock farm, Jenny Brown, recently wrote a book, "The Lucky Ones" about her life experience and of her passion for animals.  I was particularly struck by a statement where she connects our care for the environment with our abusive food system:
The bottom line on this issue is that caring about the environment means more than recycling or turning down the heat in the winter or driving a fuel-efficient car.  It means changing the way we eat.  A recent United Nations report on livestock and the environment could hardly be more sobering: The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.
It's not really the animal's fault that they consume massive amounts of water and food every day and emit all that CO2 - it's our insatiable appetite for them.  So I walked away from our weekend in the country a little changed.  A little more aware of the mistreatment of animals and my love for being around them.  We'll be back to visit Jenny and her farm - maybe next time to volunteer to clean up a little poop (hey, that's all our 6 year old talks about anyway).  And to breathe fresh air and learn about and hug our friends - the pigs, turkeys, cows, rabbits and goats. 

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