For many, the idea of farm animals showing emotion is a concept out of reach. When you go to the grocery store to pick up dinner, it’s hard to understand that the food you’re picking up used to be a living, sentient being. In the United States alone around 27 billion animals are raised for food every year. These animals are subjected to extreme confinement where they live in fear and pain on factory farms. In the U.S., an incredible 99 percent of farmed animals are now bred in factory farms.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, there is never a better time to open your heart to the hundreds of farm animals who are smitten with their sweethearts. Don’t believe farm animals are capable of having significant others? Check out the farm animals below who are very fond of their partners!
1. Jessica and Stevie
Stevie the alpaca first arrived at Farm Sanctuary lonely and in desperate need of a friend. Farm Sanctuary notes that Stevie tried to make friends with the sheep and goats at the sanctuary, but they kept their distance. But then love struck! Stevie met Jessica, another rescued alpaca just like him, and now the pair is inseparable.
Alpacas have long been known for being gentle, intelligent, and observant. Alpacas are so emotionally therapeutic that they are sometimes used as therapy animals!
2. Dylan and Maybelle
Cows are extremely intelligent and emotional animals. Studies have shown that when cows are with their best friends, their stress levels decrease, and when separated from them, their stress levels increase. Cows also have strong maternal bonds and are attentive, protective, and loving parents.
3. Lyle and Snookie
Lyle and Snookie are a chicken couple that lived at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, Maryland. Lyle is a rooster found abandoned on a highway and Snookie, born with a deformed leg, wears a sweater to keep warm. The sweethearts loved taking long dust baths together and Lyle would also watch out for Snookie, who couldn’t walk very well. They took care of one another until they passed away.
Lyle’s protective nature of Snookie makes sense when you consider how chickens, descendants from dinosaurs, are amazing, intelligent and affectionate animals. They can solve complex problems, understand cause and effect, and anticipate and plan for the future. Did you know they have great memories and facial recognition skills? Chickens can recognize and distinguish more than 100 faces, animals, and humans!
4. Atlas and Turkey
Atlas the goat has passed but during his time at Catskill Animal Sanctuary, he loved cuddling with the turkeys. It’s really no surprise that Atlas was so smitten with turkeys considering how they have personalities as distinct and varied as cats or dogs. For instance, turkeys have a wide range of sounds. When they are startled, they will make a “purr” type of sound. Turkeys have also been known to make a cat-like “purr” when they are feeling relaxed and content.
5. Blossom and Daisy
Daisy and Blossom, both passed, have a love story for the ages. Both were broiler chickens, meaning they were bred specifically for their meat. Thankfully, both were rescued at two weeks old. Both passed away peacefully only a couple weeks apart from each other at five months because their bodies were too large to support their heart. Their short lives were spent together at The Gentle Barn, playing in the sun, chasing bugs, and cuddling.
Studies have shown that chickens are intelligent animals. Chickens have a complex communication system. It is believed that chickens have many unique vocalizations with about 30 calls and alarms already cataloged by researchers. Each call has a different meaning – calling the youngsters, alarm calls, and where to find food. We’re sure Daisy and Blossom vocalized their love for each other!
6. Lola and Reggie
Reggie and Lola spend their days together at Farm Sanctuary. Reggie was originally purchased by a food writer who planned to raise him for meat and document that experience, Farm Sanctuary explains. Lola, on the other hand, was a project of a Future Farmers of America (FFA) student. Today, Reggie and Lola enjoy exploring the Farm Sanctuary pastures together and will even snuggle up for a nap with the other.
As Reggie and Lola show, pigs are incredibly intelligent and emotional beings. Studies have shown that pigs possess the ability to empathize with one another, they can perform tricks just like a dog, and they even come running when they hear their name.
7. Tammy and Jolene
Rescued together in June of 2017, Tammy and Jolene now reside at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. The pair sadly came from a hoarding and abuse case but are now safe and loved at Woodstock. Now this adorable couple spends their days grazing at their leisure and tasting all the yummy grass they can find.
Just like all animals, sheep are unique, individual beings. Although sheep and lambs are not typically raised under the same intensive conditions that other farm animals suffer through, lamb meat is popular with backyard farming. Most of the lambs in this industry are killed before they even reach one year old and sometimes even sooner. What many people don’t realize is that cows, chickens, sheep, pigs, and goats are not, in fact, “stupid” animals who don’t care about their fate. To the contrary, these animals are highly intelligent and experience emotions in a very similar way to humans.
8. Gus and Sun
Gus lives at The Gentle Barn‘s California shelter where he has an infatuation with almost all of the turkey ladies at the sanctuary. The Gentle Barn explains that he was very shy when he was young and had a hard time bonding with the other goats. Eventually, Gus turned into a ladies’ man and could be seen sitting on the patio with the turkeys. He would affectionally kiss their heads and stand over them protectively. In the photo above, Gus is seen with his lady friend, Sun!
Just like all farm animals, goats are intelligent and capable of experiencing physical and emotional pain. Often used for their milk on industrial dairy farms, goats are crammed in by the thousands and essentially become milk-producing machines. There is an absolute disregard that these are sentient beings that feel pleasure and pain, just like us. We are so glad Gus is one of the lucky ones who is able to live his life free from pain.
Help Spread the Love
This Valentine’s Day, help us spread the message that farm animals love just like humans do. All of these wonderful couples live at sanctuaries across the U.S. that need help from compassionate people just like you. Through education and outreach, farm sanctuaries help the public understand the cruelty behind factory farming, as well as its impact on the planet and our communities. Farm animal sanctuaries also encourage people to consider a plant-based diet. By eating less meat and incorporating more plant-based meals, we can all help decrease the demand for cheap, factory farmed meat that causes so much suffering to animals (not to mention, the planet).
Volunteer at a sanctuary near you and you’ll not only help with their life-saving mission, but you’ll experience the love these amazing animals have for one another! Check out these other One Green Planet articles to learn more about volunteering at a farm sanctuary:
- 10 Farm Sanctuaries in the U.S. that Are Great for Volunteering
- 10 Awesome Farm Sanctuaries You May Never Have Heard of
- Three Awesome Farm Sanctuary Programs that Teach Kids Compassion For All Animals
Lead Image Source: Farm Sanctuary