6 Compassionate Sanctuaries Giving Animals A Second Chance
Most people in today's world take the confinement and consumption of livestock for granted as part of our food system. But a growing movement is working to change that attitude, creating sanctuaries to rescue and nurture animals that would otherwise be killed and eaten, and encouraging the public to view them as fellow creatures rather than commodities. The organizations reviewed here, arranged in no particular order, provide shelter and care to animals formerly destined for slaughter.
#1 in our overview is Sanctuary One, a care farm providing a home for rescued animals, as well as a space for humans to enjoy interactions with other creatures. Visitors can explore the grounds and meet the herd on tours or field trips, and the farm hosts internships for those looking to gain experience with agriculture or animal care. The organization also cultivates gardens using environmentally restorative techniques, growing produce for donation to local food banks.
Along with its internship program, Sanctuary One offers a variety of service learning opportunities, including volunteer visits and immersive multi-day educational stays. The group also creates lesson plans for parents or teachers looking for hands-on activities to help kids learn about nature. Its adoption program places rescued animals, from cats and dogs to goats and cows, in permanent homes with lifetime care agreements.
Next up, at #2, is Catskill Animal Sanctuary, which provides shelter for former farm animals, opposes the mistreatment of non-human creatures, and promotes vegan living. Hundreds of rescues reside on its grounds without being milked, bred, or slaughtered, available for adoption by individuals inspired to help. Visitors can tour the Sanctuary and learn about its work, or book a stay at its eco-friendly renovated farmhouse.
The New Leaf Vegan Mentor Program helps those interested in reducing or eliminating their use of animal-based goods, pairing them with experienced guides and providing resources to make the lifestyle adjustment easier. The Compassionate Cuisine initiative extends additional support in the form of recipes,classes, and a vegan cookbook. Through her blog and podcast project All Beings Considered, Sanctuary founder Kathy Stevens challenges mainstream attitudes about the use and abuse of non-human beings.
Our #3 is Indraloka Animal Sanctuary, a private charitable organization that rescues and provides lifetime care for former livestock who have faced abuse and neglect. It also serves as a space for education, hosting programs like Hopeful Heroes, which lets children experience STEM learning in a natural setting and in the company of rescued animals. Indraloka's youth programs provide emotional support to at-risk young people, and the organization offers customized educational activities for those with special needs.
Indraloka works to inspire compassion through storytelling, creating videos, articles, and podcasts that share the histories and personalities of its rescues. The organization provides keynote speakers for discussions of animal rights and ethical leadership, and spreads awareness of the environmental and nutritional benefits of a plant-based diet. The Indraloka Liberation Meditation Series shares videos of the Sanctuary's inhabitants, designed to inspire contemplation and serenity.
At #4 we have Peaceful Fields Sanctuary, which provides a caring home for numerous animals who have suffered at the hands of previous owners. Guests can tour the property and meet inhabitants like Brownie, the Sanctuary's playful donkey, or Watson, its large and gentle cow. Visitors learn how to interpret the animals' behavior and have rewarding interactions, and those inspired to sponsor a specific rescue can arrange private personal visits.
Inspired by Jewish principles that prohibit animal cruelty and affirm responsibility for improving the world, PFS founder John Netzel shares perspectives on care for non-human creatures as an act of devotion, while welcoming guests regardless of their beliefs or backgrounds. The Sanctuary offers numerous volunteer opportunities for anyone interested in working with animals and supporting the group's mission.
#5 on the list is Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, originally a beef cattle ranch until founder Renee King-Sonnen became vegan, and raised enough money to buy her husband Tommy's herd. The couple has converted to a plant-based lifestyle, transforming the ranch into a produce farm while continuing to save animals, from pigs raised for slaughter to roosters rescued from cockfighting rings. Visitors are welcome, giving people the chance to interact with and befriend non-human creatures.
In addition to providing a safe home for its rescues, Rowdy Girl works to transform cultural attitudes towards farming and meat. Its Rancher Advocacy Program aims to inspire others to convert animal agriculture operations into sanctuaries or plant-based farms, offering support and assistance for those making the transition. The Sanctuary produces videos and articles making the case for a switch to vegan living, as well as sharing inspirational literature through the Rowdy Reading Corner.
We'll close with #6, Farm Sanctuary, the first organization in the USA to house animals rescued from agriculture. Both its New York and California locations provide guided tours, educating guests about the realities farm animals face in the modern food system. The Sanctuary's detailed species profiles introduce readers to the creatures humans raise for slaughter, and its classroom visits help students deepen their understanding of other living beings.
To further its educational mission, Farm Sanctuary has created The Someone Project, sponsoring cognitive research to demonstrate sentience in non-humans. The group also organizes campaigns in support of legislation for transparency and humane treatment in the food system, promoting laws against cruel confinement or concealment of slaughter records. Its Youth Action for Animals program provides informational tools and a supportive network to help young people fight for change.