by Sheila Julson
Rhonda-T Warren and her partner, Mitch, had long known about abuse in animal farming on a national level, but they were shocked to learn about the number of farmed animals that were being neglected and killed locally. Seeing a need, they took a hands-on approach to saving some of those animals and formed Terra Farm Sanctuary in 2016.
“We had been considering buying a home together, so it made sense to establish a home for those beings we could save as well,” Warren says. Terra Farm Sanctuary is currently home to 28 individuals including dogs, goats, donkeys, sheep and birds. The residents are mainly rescued from situations where they would have been slaughtered for food. “Just because they were born male, the majority of the individuals at Terra were headed for slaughter as babies because they did not make milk, eggs or offspring, and were considered useless.”
Starting a nonprofit sanctuary involved a great deal of research involving zoning and legal issues, as well as costs for infrastructure, maintenance, feed, supplements, veterinarians, farriers and other specialty care. “We wanted to start slowly, which was very difficult to do, because emotionally, we wanted to go out and save everyone,” Warren says, “but realistically, that is impossible. We knew we would need to continue with our daily employment to financially support a sanctuary. We are extremely fortunate to have a few loyal donors who have been with us for years, but the majority of our expenses are paid out of pocket. Finding volunteers has been difficult, but again we are very fortunate to have had a few volunteers commit to give their time to the animals. We are grateful for our volunteers.”
Terra Farm Sanctuary does not adopt out their residents, but instead provides them with a permanent loving home for the rest of their natural lives. Visitors are welcome by appointment, and Warren and her team of volunteers are compassionate about providing resources and information about vegan lifestyles. “We felt that in supporting the victims of animal agriculture, it was important for us to share the truth about how they came to live at Terra. Millions of animals like them are handed a death sentence every day,” she emphasizes. “Most people see non-humans as disposable property to be used. Through vegan education, we share the realities and injustices of animal commodification, and show how, as vegans, and as a result of consuming only plant-based products, we support environmental health, and the health of our own bodies as well.”
For more information, call 509-368-0670, email Info@TerraFarmSanctuary.org or visit TerraFarmSanctuary.org
Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout country.