Lucas the pig enjoys a mud bath at Peaceful Prairie
A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .
Last Sunday, I participated in a group tour at the nearest farmed animal sanctuary, Peaceful Prairie
, about an hour's drive east of Denver. Both we and the animals we visited were fortunate to have a warm, clear day to enjoy each other.
The first thing we noticed as we approached the property was a herd of llamas. I'd never seen that many, about fifteen, in one place. Then we drove through the gate and up to the house. Peaceful Prairie's founders and directors, Chris and Michele Alley-Grubb, welcomed us. First we chatted for awhile with Chris as everyone arrived, then Michele took us out for an extended meet and greet. She explained that the llamas had been abandoned to starve, and many had already died, before Peaceful Prairie was called to the rescue. We then walked to an area where goats, chickens and turkeys were milling about, curious about all these visiting humans. In a few minutes, a pickup pulled up and a volunteer began unloading boxes of unsaleable but still edible produce donated by Whole Foods. He spread the contents widely on the ground and all the animals, led by the goats who were nearest, moved quickly to the area. Who knew that a cow, for example, would go after a potato, or a goose rip eagerly into a bell pepper, or a goat enjoy a banana? And everybody loves apples, apparently. The geese were squawking, ducks quacking, everyone congregating--in short, it was an interspecies party!
Later we saw the chickens and turkeys close up. At each stage of the tour Michele explained the miserable lives each group of animals had had before arriving at the sanctuary. She poured some muddy water into a wallow to create bliss for Lucas the pig. Most of the animals were very willing to come up close: Roscoe the turkey constantly strutted around us, showing off his plumage, and the goats on several occasions walked up immediately next to me to be petted.
When we were all inside the house afterwards, Michele spoke about the current threat to farmed animals of so-called sustainable farms, or "happy meat." In contrast to the industrial food system, the myth of humane farming is lulling people who might otherwise have considered veganism to believe that it is OK now to eat animal products if these products come from a small organic farm. Yet the same abuses continue. You can educate yourself on these matters by reading "The Humane Animal Farming Myth"
on the Peaceful Prairie website.