The majority of the farm animals who live in the U.S. are raised on factory farms. In fact, over 99 percent are brought up in horrible conditions in the name of producing cheap “food” for the masses.
Several organizations such as HSUS, the ASPCA, Compassion in World Farming and Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) are bringing to light the awful plight of these sentient creatures, who live in extreme confinement and are subject to a variety of routine mutilations. Thankfully, people are becoming more and more aware of the conditions that animals raised for food are kept in, and many are reducing or eliminating their consumption of animal products as a result.
While the stories of most farm animals do not end with a happy ending, some individuals are able to break free of the cruel animal agriculture industry, whether by being seized and rescued, or literally running for their lives.
Many farm animal sanctuaries have been established nationwide to care for these formerly abused animals. These safe havens for farm animals provide them with daily care, allowing them to live out their lives in the most natural environment possible – without being exploited. Staff at these sanctuaries work tirelessly in all weather and are extremely grateful for the help of volunteers, who can aid them in a variety of tasks ranging from cleaning, painting and maintenance to animal socialization and guided tours.
And what a rewarding way to spend some free time!
1. Farm Sanctuary, Locations in Orland, CA, Acton, CA and Watkins Glen, NY
Each Farm Sanctuary shelter hosts monthly volunteer work parties, complete with a vegan potluck lunch. Chores are based on each shelter’s needs, and the work parties are a huge help for completing large projects. The Acton, California shelter has various volunteer opportunities within the Education Department, and remote opportunities are available via the Compassionate Communities Campaign.
2. Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, New York
Asking for a minimum of three hours of work, Woodstock’s chores include mucking barns and coops, raking and pasture cleaning. Be sure to bring a vegan lunch and, as with all farm work, dress for the weather – and the dirt!
3. Sunny Meadow, Massachusetts
Fill in a short form to become a volunteer at Sunny Meadow, where you can help out with general farm maintenance and cleaning, as well as grant research, fundraising and socializing with the animals.
4. Poplar Spring, Maryland
5. Animal Place, California
Attend a scheduled orientation at Animal Place to get started with helping out – you’ll be mucking barns, helping with animal health checks and tours, table sitting and much more. Fill out an application today!
6. Sasha Farm, Michigan
Sasha Farm is looking for dedicated volunteers who have a few hours spare each week. The work mostly involves barn cleaning or helping with the cats, but Sasha is open to other relevant skills you may have.
7. Catskill Animal Sanctuary, New York
All skills are needed at Catskill Animal Sanctuary! Click here to see a whole list of areas where help is needed, including graphic design, assistance with cooking classes, tabling at festivals, and more! Schedule your orientation today.
Catskill Animal Sanctuary/Facebook
8. Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, Texas
Calling all Texans! A list of positions are available at the ranch, which is run in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States. Gardeners, photographers and tour guides are among the many voluntary roles available. As well as farm animals, the ranch rescues animals from roadside zoos and research laboratories.
Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch/Facebook
9. Ching Farm Rescue & Sanctuary, Utah
Ching Sanctuary is looking for volunteers who can work from 9AM to 12PM at least once a week. Though they cannot accommodate “one time” volunteers, they do have group volunteer days on a regular basis throughout the warmer months. Click here for more information!
Ching Farm Animal Sanctuary/Facebook
10. Pigs Peace Sanctuary, Washington
Book a sanctuary tour to get the ball rolling at Pigs Peace, where you can help with mucking barns, moving bedding, weeding and painting. In addition, roles are available for clerical and technical work, and your personal skills may also be utilized!
Get Out There and Volunteer!
I can personally tell you that volunteering at a farm animal sanctuary is an incredibly worthwhile and beneficial experience for you, the sanctuary staff and the animals. Sure, the work can be physically challenging. But I can tell you this – you’ll sleep better than you ever have, you’ll build muscle you never knew you had, and most importantly; you’ll go home recognizing that you’ve worked to help animals who have endured more than we can know.
Lead image source: Catskill Animal Sanctuary/Facebook