Have you ever seen on the news a story of a cow who escaped a slaughterhouse and wondered what happened to them? Or perhaps a pig fell off a transport truck but you’re not sure of their fate? Stories of animals running for their lives and ones of animals being rescued from a neglectful situation are common across the country. One story that caught the attention of many was the break out by the “St. Louis Six,” six brave cows who took the opportunity to flee a slaughterhouse in St. Louis.

Thankfully, The Gentle Barn, a farm animal sanctuary that works towards rescuing, rehabilitating, and giving sanctuary to severely abused animals took in the six cows. The St. Louis Six were successfully transported to The Gentle Barn’s new animal sanctuary in Missouri late last summer and have been ambassadors for the millions of cows who aren’t as lucky ever since.


In addition to a sanctuary in Missouri, the non-profit also operates sanctuaries in California and Tennessee, where thousands of people are able to interact with turkeys, cows, chickens, pigs, horses, and many more animals. So, what if there were Gentle Barn sanctuaries in EVERY U.S. STATE?

It may seem far-reaching but for Ellie Laks, the founder of The Gentle Barn, that’s her exact goal. “I am a big dreamer, I have big goals, and I’m working hard every day to achieve them,” Ellie shared in an email to One Green Planet.

The Gentle Barn Missouri 


Being able to get up close and personal with a rescued farm animal helps people realize that humans are not the only species on Earth deserving of love and respect. Some farm animals are even smarter than dogs and can learn basic commands — something that often surprises people. With their unique personalities, farm animals are advocates for a brighter future where animals aren’t used for food.

The Gentle Barn Missouri 

A Promising Future

Starting and operating even just ONE sanctuary is a daunting task. From securing land, setting up appropriate shelters for the animals, and affording the food and medical costs, running a sanctuary is no easy feat.


With that in mind, The Gentle Barn already has three successful sanctuaries under their belt and is strategically planning their next move. Ellie shared that The Gentle Barn did originally have plans to set up in larger states first, such as New York andTexas, where a need for a safe haven is higher. But, animal rescue work is fast-changing and as it turns out, the states picked the Gentle Barn, Ellie shared.

The Gentle Barn

The Gentle Barn Missouri was secured because of the St. Louis Six needing a permanent home. The Gentle Barn Tennessee was founded because that’s where Dudley, a rescued cow who was given a prosthetic leg after he was rescued from slaughter, was saved. So, the next sanctuary could pop up simply due to an animal being in need of refuge. Even still, The Gentle Barn would like to set up a sanctuary on the East Coast in 2018 and move their Tennesse sanctuary located from their rented 12 acres in Knoxville, Tennessee to a larger forever location.


How You Can Help

If you are inspired by The Gentle Barn’s mission to create a sanctuary in every state, one of the best ways you can help support their mission is by donating to the cause. Any amount is appreciated! You could also “sponsor” an animal at one of their sanctuaries to help pay for their food, medical, and well-being costs.

The Gentle Barn Tennessee

Want to do more than donate? Ellie shared with One Green Planet that people can also donate land to The Gentle Barn. “There are many families who would like to preserve their land from development. This is a perfect way to do that while at the same time helping children and animals,” Ellie said.

Even if you don’t live near The Gentle Barn, there are still hundreds of sanctuaries that are looking for dedicated volunteers. No matter what your passion or specialty, your local rescue could use your help!

For more information on The Gentle Barn and the incredible work they do on behalf of all animals, visit their website.

Image Source: The Gentle Barn Tennessee/Facebook