Written by: Katie Beczak
Are you an animal lover? Have you ever fed a turkey, given a pig a belly rub, or taken a selfie with a 1,000-pound cow? If not, you’re missing out on an eye-opening and beautiful experience. Nestled on 175 acres in the rolling hills and picturesque scenery of Watkins Glen, NY, Farm Sanctuary is an American animal protection organization. It is the first ever shelter for farm animals, founded in 1986.
Farm Sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates hundreds of animals each year. The animals at the sanctuary have been rescued from horrendous living situations, in stockyards, factory farms, and other abusive situations. The sanctuary provides refuge for each animal – a place for them to recover and a loving, safe environment with spacious green pastures, ample food, and care from a dedicated team of caretakers.
Farm Sanctuary was founded by its now President, Gene Bauer. At the time, Gene was selling veggie hot dogs out of a van during Grateful Dead concerts to fund farm animal rescues. At a stockyard’s live animal auction, Gene and his friends stumbled upon an abandoned and injured sheep in a pile of dead animals. He rescued the sheep, provided her veterinary care, and named her Hilda. Hilda lived out the rest of her life in peace and was the first animal officially rescued by Farm Sanctuary. Now the sanctuary hosts over 500 rescued farm animals – including pigs, cows, goats, sheep, turkeys, and chickens!
Visitors to the sanctuary are educated about the conditions farm animals face in stockyards and on factory farms. The Watkins Glen sanctuary also offers the opportunity to tour the sanctuary, visit up close and person with the animals, and even to spend the night in cabins on the property. By meeting the animals, and connecting with them as intelligent individuals, capable of emotions, visitors are encouraged to expand their circle of compassion to all living things.
How to Get Involved
- Plan your visit! The sanctuaries are home to hundreds of rescued cows, pigs, turkeys, and other farm animals and each has a special story.
- Buy a copy of Gene Bauer’s book “Living the Farm Sanctuary Life“
- Follow Farm Sanctuary online:
Guest Blogger: Katie Beczak
Katie Beczak works in international recruitment and enrollment at RIT and is a passionate lover of Rochester since moving to the city three years ago. Currently, she sits on the Board of Directors for the Junior League of Rochester and the Rochester University at Buffalo Alumni Association.