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Planet Earth: Our Loving Home

Farmhouse Garden Animal Home: From Slaughter to Sanctuary, Part 1 of 3

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On today’s program, we’ll travel to Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada to visit Farmhouse Garden Animal Home, an animal sanctuary co-founded in 2016 by Michael Lanigan and Edith Barabash. For many years, Mr. Lanigan had been a fulltime farmer, earning his income by growing organic vegetables and raising beef cattle for slaughter. Although he did not like having his animals butchered, he did not know what else he could do. However, two events made Mike deeply question the ethics of his livelihood and inspired him to create an animal sanctuary for his cows. The first event was the birth of a calf named Hope. Edith explains. "And she was born in the summer of 2016, very prematurely, and she was very weak. And Mike had to work with her day in and out to make sure she survived, and she got her mother’s milk and everything. And as he was working with her, he was thinking about how hypocritical it is to give this calf so much love and so much care and then, in two years, he would just have to send her to the butcher shop and slaughter her. And he thought that it was a really odd and hypocritical way to make a living for himself personally. The second event that profoundly affected Mike was when his four-year-old son Nathan decided to stop eating beef." After much discussion, Mike and Edith decided to found an animal sanctuary where the cows could live out the remainder of their lives in peace. But how would they manage financially? "So Mike still runs his vegetable garden and that’s how he makes his money. He makes his living off of the farm, at the farmer’s market. And then we fundraise separately in order to help feed the animals. And fundraising for them is always a challenge because it costs a lot to run an animal sanctuary. But we have amazing supporters and a really creative volunteer team, so we have been able to do it so far. Mike was making more money off of the operation before, but he realized that part of transitioning to a farm sanctuary would be taking that hit financially. He was okay with doing that if it meant saving the animals and making sure that he wasn’t having that moral dilemma anymore. I can’t say that it’s more profitable now than it was before, but ethically he knows that he is doing the right thing." Many thanks, Edith and Mike, for your courageous, noble decision! May Heaven bless you abundantly for your compassionate work.
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