Editorial: Why we need farm sanctuaries


The ISD Editorial Board explains the benefits of farm sanctuaries for farm animals that have been injured or abandoned. 

Editorial Board

Farm sanctuaries provide a happy and healthy place for discarded farm animals and those involved in accidents during travel.

Animals get tossed to the side of the road, abandoned on farms and spilled from transportation trucks on their way to slaughter. They are left behind or deemed useless by the agriculture industry. They are still living, breathing, feeling creatures.

Why do we stop caring about animals once it’s realized they do not benefit us? Everyone should see the problems in that question. The value of animals should not depend on how much they benefit humans.

And really, they never stop benefiting us. Animals at farm sanctuaries may no longer financially benefit the animal agriculture industry and have lost the potential to benefit taste buds, but they offer companionship and laughs and deserve to live a good life no matter what.

The Iowa Farm Sanctuary in Oxford provides “a safe haven to rescued farm animals in need of love and compassion while providing humans the opportunity to experience the unique sentience and intelligence found within these animals.”

Those working and volunteering at any farm sanctuary are able to help rehabilitate the animals and provide enrichment, food, kindness, shelter and other resources to advocate for their value beyond a source of food and money.

Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 and has two locations, one in New York and one in California. Its website features animal rescue stories dating back to 2009. All animals have a unique personality and these feature stories show just that.

Farm sanctuaries can also be a great opportunity for humans. People can find great satisfaction from volunteering or participating in an internship at a sanctuary. Their time is spent hanging out with and taking care of cute animals.

Students pursuing animal care careers such as veterinary medicine, careers in writing or nonprofits can include this volunteer time and internships on their resumes and there are jobs available for after graduation. Farm Sanctuary alone has six current career opportunities.

It’s no secret one of Farm Sanctuary’s purposes is to “combat the abuses of factory farming, advocate for institutional reforms and encourage a new awareness and understanding of farm animals and the benefits of cruelty-free, plant-based living.”

It makes sense the animal agriculture industry would not be a fan of these sanctuaries. If people can separate the animal agriculture industry from this, that would be good for the animals.

Farms exist and a world without them is unrealistic at this time, but farm sanctuaries are there to take care of the living “byproducts” from the farms.

Iowa is full of rural areas, which often have farmland. We have veterinarians who take care of those animals when they are sick or suffering from injuries.

So just like we have veterinarians for the animals when they are on the farm, we should have farm sanctuaries to save them when they fall from trucks or can’t be sold.