Celebrating Farm Sanctuary: Donors Reflect on 36 Years

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“I first visited the Watkins Glen Sanctuary 10 years ago, around the time I became vegan. It was a very impactful trip: I was lucky to see Julia pig and her babies, and learn their story—her babies were still tiny at the time. I still think of Julia often.

I started bringing my daughter, Nola, to Farm Sanctuary when she was very young (she is now almost 8), and she also met Julia, and then very large kiddos Maggie, Diane, and Liza. Nola fell in love with all of them right away. Over the years, we continued to visit Julia’s girls, and I always get emotional knowing that Julia is no longer with us, but thankfully she was happy in the end, knowing her kids were safe and had the freedom to be themselves. My daughter also fell in love with the sheep and decided that Ash is her best friend (of course). If everyone could just spend a little time in that sheep barn, and bring that peaceful happy energy with them, the world would be a better place.

We are always in awe of the beautiful and gentle special needs cows who have been through so much, yet are so kind and tolerant of us visitors. And my daughter loves to tell the story of Frank the steer. She has named her little cow doll Frank, and he sleeps next to her every night.

We moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 2020, and visited the Acton shelter last year when it reopened. It was nice to make some new friends, and we look forward to going back.

Every November we sponsor at least one turkey. This year Nola adopted Alexandra, as well as Celeborn for her cousin, and Thelma for her current teacher. Her teacher said that receiving the adoption certificate for Thelma led to important and thought-provoking conversations at her Thanksgiving table.

Last year, for the first time since she has been in school, Nola’s teacher did not include eating turkeys as part of their Thanksgiving conversation. She read a book to the class about a turkey ordering a pizza (let’s assume it was a vegan pizza!) for Thanksgiving and enjoying it with the family, instead of being eaten himself. Nola was so surprised and thrilled because usually she dreads all the turkey-eating talk. The teacher told me that it was because of Nola being vegan that she decided to rethink how she approaches the class discussion going forward. I believe even small changes like this are significant.

Farm Sanctuary has been a very important part of why being vegan is so natural for my daughter. The thought of eating animals, or taking anything from them just does not make sense to her. She says kids ask about it at school, sometimes challenging her about being vegan. She never tells them what to do, but she always stands up for animals and tells them the truth. She now has some friends saying they want to be vegan too!

The impact of Farm Sanctuary’s work is far-reaching and personal. I am forever grateful.” —Laura

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