Thursday, January 24, 2013

Visting New Friends

It's been a while since I've had a chance to update. I've been busy trying out recipes for cookbook reviews, planning a new animal advocacy project with a friend and (perhaps best of all) traveling. I recently spent a little over a week in Virginia, DC and Maryland to visit a vegan pal and to meet a few others with whom I've been corresponding or interacting online for years. I got to sample Ethiopian and Burmese food for the first time ever and enjoyed such a wide variety of vegan fare that it's a puzzle how I was able to roll myself into my plane seat to make it back home.

Perhaps the best part of my whole trip was an afternoon we spent walking around and meeting the furry and feathered residents of the 400-acre Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, MD. I was also introduced to the two vegan humans -- Terry Cummings and Dave Hoerauf -- who also call it home. Earlier in the week, I'd met Deb Durant who writes the Invisible Voices blog and who also volunteers at PSAS. She'd offered to show us around a little the following weekend, but we ended up scheduling a visit during the week instead since I was flying out on Sunday. It would have been great to hear each of the residents' stories. Dave shared a few when our paths crossed and Deb's filled in some blanks since then. I've also been spending time reading up on them over on PSAS' website and Invisible Voices (and you should too if you'd like to learn more about the place or would consider sponsoring one of their residents).

It's heart-wrenching to know what some of them have been through.  Then again, it's heart-wrenching to think of the lot of each and every other animal who ends up bred for exploitation and slaughter. Meeting these individuals and seeing the joy with which they're now living their lives left me grateful more than ever that I yanked myself out of that cycle of exploitation by going vegan.

Mini Moo

Chelsea was a sweet walking companion during our visit.

Duchess, precious sentry who held me at bay for several minutes.
Napoleon, who along with his buddy Sebastian off to the left, is a pygmy goat who was rescued from a hoarding situation.
Sal, who is blind in one eye, was rescued from a hoarder a few years ago.
Harley was rescued as a piglet when he fell off a truck heading to an auction.

Lance was rescued from a reptile show last April.

Ainslie was rescued as a calf before being sold for slaughter at a "veal" auction.
Enjoying the sun on an otherwise chilly day.

My host, Gary, enjoying a cuddle with Zachary a baby who arrived at the shelter less than a month ago. Zachary was seized by animal control officers after someone heard him bleating from a small cat carrier outside on a neighbour's porch. He was going to be killed in a sacrificial ritual and the only reason they were allowed to take him is that it was illegal for residents to keep "livestock" in the area in which he was found. Now he'll get to spend the rest of his natural life at PSAS.

As the afternoon neared its end and it was time to go, all I could think of is how beautiful it had been to see the sanctuary's residents finally living out their lives in comfort, no longer victims, but instead sheltered refugees.

No comments: