Sanctuary Stories

Advocates like Kindred Community Farm Sanctuary rescue individuals like Badger from a brutal end in Canada’s horse meat export business

Keryn Denroche, a woman with short gray hair and a gray mask, poses with a soft looking brown horse on her farm sanctuary
Keryn Denroche, a woman with short gray hair and a gray mask, poses with a soft looking brown horse on her farm sanctuary
Denroche and Badger. Photo provided by Kindred Community Farm Sanctuary

Most North Americans don’t consider horses a source of food, and many recoil at the idea. Yet unbeknownst to most, Canada is one of the biggest exporters of horsemeat and live horses destined for consumption, thousands shipped and stuffed into crates per year, in the world. For years, activists have been trying to expose the industry and shut it down, while behind the scenes, advocates have been rescuing horses bound for slaughter.

Keryn Denroche, founder and director of Kindred Community Farm Sanctuary on Canada’s west coast, is one of those advocates, and the sanctuary’s resident horse, Badger, is proof that horses are friends, not food. …


A group of ducks congregate on some garden rocks and shallow water, with green trees and blue skies in the background
A group of ducks congregate on some garden rocks and shallow water, with green trees and blue skies in the background
All photos provided by Unity Farm Sanctuary

Sanctuary Stories

Purchased to provide comfort, cuteness, or social media clout, ducklings are often abandoned as they grow into ducks

Since the spring, Unity Farm Sanctuary co-founder Kathy Halamka has been coping with a sudden surge of new feathered residents. There are 23 of these “lockdown ducklings” now at the Sherborn, Massachusetts sanctuary, but, says Halamka, they are just a small part of a much bigger problem that is impacting sanctuaries across North America: baby ducks used for temporary entertainment during the Covid-19 lockdown, now with nowhere to go.

Of the ducks currently under Halamka’s care, some arrived in a cardboard box dumped on the sanctuary’s driveway, some were called in by desperate owners looking for a way out, and some came from other overwhelmed sanctuaries. …


Sanctuary Stories

Lola and Phoenix are in for the good life now that they’ve found sanctuary at The Good Place

Two white chickens with bright red head combs stand behind a wire mesh fence.
Two white chickens with bright red head combs stand behind a wire mesh fence.
Lola and Phoenix. Photo: Jessica Scott-Reid

On a quiet highway not far from the longitudinal centre of Canada, a big red barn and a sprawling plot of prairie land offer refuge to an assortment of farmed animals, each saved from some form of human exploitation. It’s simply and aptly named The Good Place, and it’s where two young hens, now named Lola and Phoenix, are learning to feel safe after surviving the unimaginable.

In early July, members of Manitoba’s animal rescue community got a call about a live hen found at local landfill. …


Sanctuary Stories

2 piglets rescued from a factory farm are named for someone who wanted every pig to have a chance at the good life

2 white-and-brown spotted piglets cuddling on a blanket on the floor next to some dog crates.
2 white-and-brown spotted piglets cuddling on a blanket on the floor next to some dog crates.
Regan and Russell. Photos: Arthur’s Acres

On the grounds of a former backyard slaughterhouse now resides new life, new freedom and new hope, and at a time when many animal lovers could really use it. At Arthur’s Acres pig sanctuary in New York, two pigs recently rescued from a factory farm now hold an important namesake, that of Regan Russell, the dedicated activist who was killed this month by a truck carrying pigs to a slaughterhouse in Ontario, Canada.

Pigs Regan and Russell may not know it, but they are now helping to carry out Russell’s legacy by living out their lives as she would have wanted for all farmed animals: free from oppression and harm. …


Sanctuary Stories

Rescued from a zoo that’s since been shut down, 3 little goats finally have a respite from the stress and anxiety of their past life

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Paddy and Shamus. All photos courtesy of Wendy Lee Riley

With pandemic restrictions lifting in many regions across North America, one animal sanctuary owner wants parents of stir-crazy kids to reconsider a classic outdoor summer activity: petting zoos. Wendy Lee Riley, owner of R and R Ranch Sanctuary in BC, Canada, would rather parents and children learn of Paddy, Shamus and Nanny, the three little goats who offer a message that petting zoos are not the innocent family fun they are made out to be.

The petting zoo that Paddy, Shamus and Nanny originated from “was one of those typical ‘take the baby when they are a couple of hours old, stick them in a pen, and let kids chase them around for hours’” type places,” Riley explains. She’s grateful that the zoo is now shut down, and that when it did, Paddy, Shamus and Nanny eventually found their way to her. But before arriving at the sanctuary, a family first acquired the three goats, and kept them in their backyard. “It was obviously a step up from the petting zoo, but not the best setting for them,” says Riley, who soon got a call from the family seeking a better option for the goats. …


Sanctuary Stories

Many animals have headed to gas chambers after Covid-19 outbreak forced factory farming operations to close. These were the lucky ones.

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Photos provided by Shawn Camp

When Shawn Camp saw a post making the rounds on Facebook, about a farmer in Iowa giving away chickens, she immediately gathered a team and sprang into action. Camp is the founder and executive director of Iowa Farm Sanctuary, one of a number of groups currently saving animals from farming operations shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plummeting demand for meat due to shuttered restaurants, schools and hotels, and closures, or slowing of slaughterhouses due to workers falling ill, have left many farmers across North America with a surplus of animals. …


Sanctuary Stories

When universities shut down, labs close, and the animals caged there die. Beagle Freedom Project is trying to give them another chance.

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Duchess and Georgie. Photos provided by Mati Nabhan

When COVID-19 hit the US, universities across the country shut their doors. …


Sanctuary Stories

Remy was terrified of humans after her initial rescue, but now she loves to play and snuggle

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Photos and videos provided by No Dogs Left Behind

In the midst of these turbulent times, Tina Peters is grateful that there is increasing attention on the cruelty inherent in the global animal trade and in China’s outdoor slaughterhouses. …


Sanctuary Stories

It is the exploitation of threatened animals like Polly which likely caused the COVID-19 pandemic; advocates hope it will be a wake-up call

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Polly, a pangolin at Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. Photos provided by SVW

To those of us in the Western world, the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it an introduction to an animal many had never before heard of: the pangolin. “Some western countries, even South American, they do not know about the pangolins,” says Dung Nguyen, communications officer at Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW). “When we talk about the pangolin, some people say: ‘Penguin?,’” she laughs.

Recently, however, pangolins are making headline news around the world, due to their possible connection to the origins of the novel coronavirus. …


Sanctuary Stories

How a third-generation cattle rancher became the founder of a sanctuary where cows like little Hope can live a full, long life

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Photos provided by Farmhouse Garden Animal Home, except when noted

As a third generation cattle farmer, Mike Lanigan never imagined he’d be running an animal sanctuary. But according to Edith Bar, the one-time farm intern turned sanctuary founder and executive director: Over time, farmer Mike had a change of heart. And then he met Hope. The ailing calf is now considered a big reason for the creation of Farmhouse Garden Animal Home, in Ontario, Canada, where Lanigan’s last herd of cattle now call their forever home.

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Hope, one week old.

“She was born really prematurely,” says Bar, of Hope nearly four year ago. “She was very, very weak, and [Lanigan] had to work with her constantly,” to get her to feed. “It was while working with this calf that it really clicked for him, that he’s putting so much love and effort into it, and then two years later she’s going to be butchered.” Bar says Lanigan speaks often of this time nursing Hope to health, “and how he would also think of the other good farmers he’s known, and all the [farming] practices that they’ve helped instil in him,” to help care for animals like Hope. “Then he’d think how all these farmers just end up sending those animals to the slaughterhouse, and that there’s an element of hypocrisy to that.” …

Jessica Scott-Reid

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