Farm animal sanctuaries: Protection from legalised cruelty
By Paul Mahony /

Did you know that, wherever you live, it’s almost certain that farm animals are not protected by key aspects of standard prevention-of-cruelty laws? Animal industries are generally exempt in respect of standard procedures that would be punishable by fines or jail terms if performed on a domestic pet. The practices involved include various forms of mutilation without anaesthetic and, for certain species, life-long confinement indoors.

In this way, cruel practices are permitted by law and followed as standard practice. In a classic case of Orwellian double-speak, they are usually specified in documents such as the “Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals”.

So if someone tells you, “the animals must be treated well, because the producers assure us they’re following the model code of practice for the welfare of animals”, please enlighten them. The animals are on their own, at the mercy of producers who derive profits from cruelty.

That’s where farm sanctuaries perform an invaluable service. Although the number of animals protected by such havens is tiny compared to the number involved in food processing and other industries (we’re killing more than 66 billion land animals for food each year), farm sanctuaries represent a lifeline to peace and security for  the individual animals who inhabit them. They also allow visitors (including those online) to relate to farm animals in a way that may otherwise have not been possible.

Here are a few images that give some indication of the wonderful work of farm animal sanctuaries:

Cisco (left) meeting another resident early on. (You can see him again below.)

Image above: Cisco (left) meeting another resident early on. (You can see him again below.)


Some bubs, including a couple with bottles:


Image above: Cisco, rescued in August, 2013. His mum was not so lucky.



Image above: Sammy, a rescued piglet now living peacefully at Greener Pastures Sanctuary, Waroona, WA

Some others just hanging out:


Image above: Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary | Image: Jo-Anne McArthur | We Animals

The sanctuaries referred to in this post are not farms. I believe that all animal farming is a form of exploitation, and therefore unethical. The best way to protect animals is to avoid consuming products derived from them.

The sanctuaries are also not zoos. In the words of Canadian photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur, “What separates a sanctuary from a zoo or any other institution that keeps animals in its care is that it places the best interests of its residents above all else. The animals are there to be protected and live out their lives in comfort. They are forevermore exempt from being used for food, entertainment or vivisection.”

At the end of this post, I’ve included a list of farm animal sanctuaries and related organisations. Some of the sanctuaries may not be open to the public, or may only be open on certain occasions. There are no doubt many more. If you’d like any others listed, please mention them in the comments section below, and I will update the post.


I’ve shown lambs, a piglet, goats (including a tiny kid) and a chicken. I apologise to all  the magnificent, beautiful, fascinating animals whose images I was unable to show. I also apologise to the billions of individual animals each year who are not so lucky, and who become victims of the animal industrial complex.

Thank you to those wonderful people who have committed so much of themselves to saving or caring for animals who would otherwise have suffered horrendously.

Blog Author: Paul Mahony (also on on Terrastendo, Viva la Vegan, Twitter, Slideshare and Sribd)

Images: Courtesy Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary, Marjie Bremner and Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals

Some Sanctuaries (farm animals and wildlife):


A Poultry Place, southern New South Wales

Brightside Farm Sanctuary, Cygnet, Tasmania

Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary, Willowmavin, Victoria

Greener Pastures Sanctuary, Waroona, Western Australia

Gunyah Animal Healing Sanctuary, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Little Oak Sanctuary, Canberra, ACT

Tall Oak Farm, Longwarry, Victoria

Willowite Animal Sanctuary, Freshwater Creek, Victoria


Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen, New York

International Bird Rescue, California, Alaska and Oregon

Leilani Farm Sanctuary, Haiku, Maui

Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Florida

Sasha Farm Animal Sanctuary, Manchester, Michigan

Save the Chimps, Florida

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, Willow, New York


Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary, Stratford, Ontario

Fauna Foundation (chimpanzee sanctuary), Quebec

North Mountain Animal Sanctuary, Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia

Snooters Farm Animal Sanctuary, Ontario


Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary


Animal Aid Unlimited, India

Animals Asia Foundation. China, South East Asia

Free the Bears, South East Asia

Laos Bears


Ape Action Africa, Cameroon

Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Uganda

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Kenya

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Farm animal sanctuaries: Protection from legalised cruelty