At first, prisons and farm sanctuaries seem like polar opposites. One is a concrete structure, filled with barred iron gates and a heavy air of oppression, the other is a haven for the abused, a hopeful place characterized by wide open fields and loving humans. Kate Powell once had an aspiration to layer these two worlds – a dream to become a prison warden and give incarcerated individuals the chance to connect with animals as a way to overcome their own tragedies and trauma. However, as Powell became more familiar with farm animals, she felt that it was important that she fully devote her time to the marginalized group, and spend her time learning about their rich and complex lives, rather than split her attention in two. This decision brought her to current role as Shelter Manager of Northern California’s Farm Sanctuary location.

Powell’s love for animals first amplified when she decided, that before pursuing a master’s degree in social work and criminal justice, she would get some hands-on animal experience at a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in Texas.


From there, Powell fell in love with farm animals and realized that assisting this particular group of animals was her true calling.  

Just from being around farm animals, Powell saw herself transform from a vegetarian to a vegan. “Nothing is worth putting any animal through any type of suffering or cruelty. Absolutely nothing.” she shares

In 2013, Powell officially joined Northern California Farm Sanctuary as Shelter Manager and has been loving it ever since. As she relays, being shelter manager has a lot of bright moments. There’s sharing cuddles with abused animals…

…taking silly photos…

…having tickle sessions… 

…and just learning about all of the little quirks the animals have. 

Of course, being shelter manager isn’t just a job of nuzzles and playtime. Powell also does a lot of life-changing work. This includes helping injured animals… 

…giving them personalized care… 

…and making sure they always feel safe. 

Powell’s compassionate actions are not only beneficial to the animals, they send a bold and beautiful message to the world: all animals have value. 



Powell’s ambition to help animals is truly admirable. In a world where so many people only see animals through a skewed filter, as objects and not beings, Powell was able to rip away the norms set by society and acknowledge these animals for the majestic creatures that they are. Powell is able to see that each one of the animals she works with has a unique and vibrant personality, deserves to be recognized as an individual, and deserves a peaceful life. Through her actions, she helps the world see these animals in a similar way.

All image source: Animals of Farm Sanctuary