On Saturday morning, I had the pleasure to start my morning outside at Freedom Farm Animal Rescue, in hand-numbing weather and with welcoming sounds of roosters and chickens clucking, goats bleating – and much more. I got to watch the goats jump around when they saw Jamie Castano, president of Freedom Farm Animal Rescue, coming over with their food, play with pigs and kiss an alpaca!
Most farm animals don’t get to enjoy the freedom of walking around in the morning, feeling the warmth of the sun or interacting with their similar (or human) friends. Although there is no difference between farm animals and our loved dogs and cats (pigs and goats wag their tails when they’re happy, too), they experience the worst kind of cruelty. Over nine billion animals are raised and slaughtered for food each year in the U.S. On these factory farms, animals are stuffed into small spaces, beaten, and in constant fear. Just like us, they want to spend their life living happily and raise their families. Even farm animals aren’t trapped in factory farms experience cruelty with “small-scale” animal farming, families who buy them as gifts and give them up a year later (Castano sees Facebook posts like this all the time). Did you know that most goats are put into a machine that burns their horn buds off under a week old?
Freedom Farm Animal Rescue, Rancho Relaxo and The Barnyard Sanctuary (three of the farm animal rescues in NJ) teamed up, which means there was a whole lot of love on the way, to take a mission to save baby goats. If you didn’t know this already, brace yourself for the heart wrenching process I’m going to tell you.
Goats are constantly being impregnated, to produce milk and babies. After they have their babies, the males are sent away and ripped away from their mother immediately since they cannot produce milk and are sold for meat. The little girls are kept for breeders and after their mother have had enough babies, she is sent for slaughter and the baby girls take their mother’s place.
“I wish people were more aware of where their food comes from and what it takes for them to get it,” said Tamela Lester, founder of The Barnyard Sanctuary. “A lot of people have no idea that to make grilled cheese you have to impregnate the goat, take their babies away from them, send the males for meat, slaughter the moms and repeat with the babies. People think that you can milk goats and be able to feed their baby at the same time.”
The rescues were informed that this dairy barn had over 300 sick, dying, tortured baby goats. All together, they saved 37, but they wished they could save more. Out of 37 of them, about ten of them died. “There were babies dying, bones on the ground, even live goats trampling on the dead bodies,” said Lester. When the babies are taken away from their mothers, they aren’t given the chance to drink their mother’s milk which contains colostrum to give antibodies to protect them from diseases. Farm factories, barns, auctions handle the babies like they’re not real, living things. The goats are thrown all together in the cold, crowded, shocked with no shelter.
The baby goats who are still with us are weak, but they are healing. I felt honored to see some of these babies at Freedom Farm Animal Rescue. Despite what they are going through, they still had enough spunk to greet me with wagging tails and jump on me. One of them, baby Clark, was upstairs sheltered from everyone because of an abscess. Some of the babies have frostbite, some will need a leg amputated. Castano expressed his disbelief that these people at barns and auctions look at these babies as products, profit, just another number but to him and his fiancé, Tara Seay, they are so much more. The most important thing is that they’re all going to be free of ear tags and suffering and receive the love they deserve.
This is only one story about the horrors inside of factory farming. Another thing I was informed of by Castano was that if we killed off humans at the same rate chickens are slaughtered, the whole human race would be extinct in 13 days… 13! Keep in mind that factory farming not only affects animals, but us and our environment too. If you want to learn more about how factory farming impacts the environment, Cowspiracy is an excellent resource.
To leave you after this post, I want to include this video below of why people normalize eating farm animals, but not dogs and cats. Leave your thoughts below and support these rescues that help the innocent victims of factory farming!