“For every visitor who is inspired to stop eating meat, 83 animals are saved a year.”—Jenny Brown, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary
Who among us hasn’t fantasized about running off to the country and opening an animal sanctuary? Jenny Brown and Doug Abel moved to Woodstock two years ago to do just that. But they found that opening the doors to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary would be a lot harder than they expected.
Not hard in the sense that caring for abused and discarded cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep, and goats is a lot of work (it is). Hard because, unbeknownst to them, they would have to be prepared for expenses above and beyond their normal operating costs—like the construction that’s currently standing between them and the day when they can officially open their doors to the public.
That’s a shame, because only at places like Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary can you have a rooster like Brandy fall asleep in your lap. Or you can help Dylan the calf celebrate his first birthday (which is next week—happy birthday, Dylan!).
It’s not just country animals who end up here. Chickens are rescued from live-kill markets in New York City all the time. And because WFAS is so close to the Big Apple, it’s often tapped by Animal Care & Control to take in animals that the agency can’t house.
The two new assignments that have landed in WFAS’s lap are these: Pave the main road and build a parking lot. This might not sound like much, but when quite a bit of your funding would come from the regular visitors you can’t have until your town’s building codes are met…well, you can see how that might pose a problem.
Beyond the necessary capital repairs, Brown and Abel have other plans, like farm tours, lectures and workshops, and a film series. They’d also like to add critter-friendly sculptures—calling all artists!—to the pastures where the animals hang out. To that end, for the last year or so they’ve held benefits, like the one featuring singer Nellie McKay, and have welcomed visitors on weekends by appointment. But of course, direct donations are the most healing salve. Especially now.
Here’s how you can help: Make a donation to WFAS, because the faster Brown and Abel can get the sanctuary up to code, the sooner we can all start dropping by unannounced. Call and find out how you can volunteer—then hop on a bus and go do it. And spread the word. I often make donations instead of buying gifts for people, and I ask my friends and family to do the same for me. I’m sure whatever they spend will make Dylan a lot happier than it would have made me.