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Combined, the sanctuaries are home to more than 1,000 animals, with a team to care for them:
At the sanctuaries, animals have space and comfortable surroundings. They can roam open pastures and spend time with their fellow animals. “At Farm Sanctuary, the animals are our friends, not our food. … The animals get to be who they are,” Baur says.“They’re provided with a healthy environment, with nurturing food and with veterinary care when they need it.”
If you visit these sanctuaries and interact with the animals, you might be surprised by what you see. How these animals act might remind you of your pets.
“Most people think that, for example, sheep are easily frightened, but sheep are friendly and run up to people,” Coston says.“The animals also learn their names — even chickens. If you call an animal a name on a regular basis, she learns it.”
According to Coston, people are especially surprised to see this behavior in birds. She says people are inclined to relate to mammals more, but birds are very social and friendly and are capable of doing things most people picture cats and dogs doing.
“Farm animals are not that different from cats and dogs in terms of the fact that they have personalities — they’re individuals. Some are much more outgoing than others, some are more shy and, like all animals, they also respond to how they’re treated,” Baur says. “If they’re constantly abused, they become very fearful, just like a dog or a cat, but they also respond to love.”
Baur sees these animals form relationships, recognize friends and remember the experiences they have.
“They respond to being in a kind environment. They learn to trust again, and that is a very important lesson for everybody,” he says.“That’s something these animals teach us every day at Farm Sanctuary. Like everybody, they just want to live a happy life. They don’t want to be abused. They’re very similar to us, cats and dogs, and all other animals.”
Learn more about Farm Sanctuary and how you can help farm animals on the organization’s website. You can also visit its Facebook page.
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