Farm critters don't have to worry about their future at the Animal
It's a typical day at the animal shelter — Bagel is getting a good
belly rub. Roscoe and Kirby are receiving pats and scratches on their
heads. And Sophia and Precious Moment are being softly stroked as they
nestle closer to humans.
Dogs? Cats? Bunnies? No, they're farm animals, namely pigs, cows and
turkeys — and they're having a great time. These and other critters
roam, snort, cluck and bleat freely at a new 25-acre rescue shelter
devoted to caring for farm animals.
Animal Acres opened its doors last fall and has since welcomed 150
creatures to its bucolic pastures in Acton, 45 minutes north of Los
Angeles. Here, animals that were once destined for slaughterhouses,
factory farms or lives of indentured servitude are treated with a fond
familiarity that's usually reserved for conventional pets.
In addition to Saturday's festivities, the sanctuary holds a Farm
Chore Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday (participants must be
16 years and older), as well as offering guided tours to the public at
11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sundays.
"So many kids never have the opportunity to interact with these
animals," says Lorri Bauston, director of the shelter. "We want kids
to understand, love and desire to protect these creatures as they
would any other living thing."
Bauston certainly knows her way around the farm scene: She started the
rescue movement in 1986 by opening up the first-ever sanctuary in
upstate New York for abused and abandoned farm animals.
Now about 26 sanctuaries, by Bauston's estimate, dot the country, not
only rescuing farm creatures but also advocating for better care and
humane treatment of animals that are raised primarily for human
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