In all my 30 years on this planet, I’ve never eaten beef or pork, and I have no intention of ever doing so. As a Hindu, I grew up considering all beings holy, especially the cows. I’ve eaten chicken and lamb before I turned vegetarian in my early 20s (and I am trying hard to give up the  fish I eat occasionally), so I am no preacher. But anyone who has met these beings in person would think twice about eating their meat. Hopefully.

During a recent trip to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, I got a chance to mingle with these wonderful animals. It was not only an amazing experience but a spiritual one on so many levels. The Sanctuary, which rescues farm animals from cruel slaughter houses and factory farms is located in Willow, NY and ensures that the chickens, turkeys, pigs, cows, goats and the ducks all live the rest of their lives in harmony. They’ve been saved from spending their short lives in cramped cages awaiting their excruciatingly painful death. At the farm, they roam around free, eating grass, soaking up the sun and enjoying the company of four and two legged friends. The turkeys even get a special meal around Thanksgiving in the farm’s annual ThanksLiving event.  And the pigs just love getting their bellies rubbed.

Those who eat meat justify it in any way that makes them feel good about their choices- God put them here for us, we need to eat them to be healthy, killing them after raising them organically is okay- are some of the excuses. The meat and dairy industries try very hard to sustain themselves by feeding us a load of garbage through media (in some cases literally- did you know that your cheese burger could have bits of shit in it?) Anyway, there may never be a time on human dominated Earth where animals are not killed for food, fur, experiments and for hunting pleasure. It’s a sad reality. But I am happy that there are places like the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary and the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen and California, and good souls who are taking care of rescued animals and advocating for their rights.

Right before we left the farm, we visited the goats, including the three legged Albie that was featured in the NY Times Metro Section. They all gathered around us, wanting us to pet them. Two young pearly white goats, named Jacob and Edward by a Twilight fan, caught my attention. As I rubbed their backs and chatted (a habit I formed thanks to my dog), their golden eyes glimmered and I could just tell they were basking in the attention. As I sat next to them, one of them raised his front leg and put it on my thigh a few times, as if trying to communicate with me his gratitude. It was such a simple act, yet so endearing. For a moment, Jacob felt like my own pet. He was happy I was there, and so was I.

Recommended Reading:

Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide For Savvy Girls Who Want To Stop Eating Crap And Start Looking Fabulous! by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Why We Love Dogs Eat Pigs And Wear Cows by Melanie Joy

Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food by founder of Farm Sanctuary Gene Baur.

Donations and sponsorships are always welcome at these farms.

Thank you for reading.