Meet Fortunate Farm Animals at the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary | Outdoors | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

Most animal sanctuaries pursue the same noble goal: to give animals a safe home. The Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in High Falls takes it a little further. After they were established in 2004, the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary focused their mission on adopting animals that are commonly exploited, abused, or killed in the agriculture industry and connecting them to people in a meaningful way. Through tours of the sanctuary, the animals become the face for the causes of veganism and animal rights that the staff so fiercely advocate for.

Meet Fortunate Farm Animals at the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary
Courtesy of Rachel McCrystal
Animals and visitors come together at the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, providing the animals a higher caliber of care.

The sanctuary, which was originally located in Woodstock, moved to High Falls in 2015. The current 150-acre property is home to some 400 animals, large and small, from cows to bunnies. And they mean home—while some sanctuaries are simply a transitional spot for animals awaiting adoption, the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary lodges animals for the majority of their lives. They rarely permit adoption due to the resources and attention needed to take care of large farm animals such as pigs, sheep, and cows.

As of May, weekly tours of the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary are available to the public. These farm safaris allow guests to tour the property and hear the rescue stories of the cows, goats, sheep, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens, and turkeys they meet, while being educated about the animal agriculture and farming industries. Tour guides and owners of the sanctuary hope that visitors leave with the vision that farm animals, who are often seen simply as food or commodities, are actually individuals with real life stories that involve families, trauma, abuse, and neglect.

Meet Fortunate Farm Animals at the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary
Courtesy of Rachel McCrystal
Injured and abused animals are adopted and housed at the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, staying there for most of their lives and rarely being adopted.

This sanctuary provides an uncommon opportunity for people to meet larger farm animals that will not be sold, killed, or put to work in the future, with a kinder and less exploitative bent than a petting zoo. “Our hope is that people are inspired by the rescued residents they meet and incorporate more compassionate choices in their everyday lives after they leave the sanctuary, not only for the animals, but for humans and the planet as well,” says sanctuary employee Kat Farrell.

In order to continue rescuing and providing good lives for their resident animals, the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary recently completed its first annual fundraising campaign called “Woodstock Giving Week.” Under this program, they were able to successfully earn $80,000 in funds within 10 days of fundraising. The sanctuary is 100-percent donor-funded, with all contributions going directly towards their mission; donations may be gifted through their website year-round.

Meet Fortunate Farm Animals at the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary
Courtesy of the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary
Maximus in his shared pasture at the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary; he lives with Judy, Colin, and Woody, for that sense of community to help them acclimate.
Scheduled and ticketed tours take place weekly, running on Saturdays at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm until November. The 10am tours are recommended for families, as they are more suited for children. Tours provide guests the chance to meet goats like Sassy that have been saved from butchers, pigs like Stanley that spend their days living in the peaceful retirement barn, and shy sheep like George that love to interact, once you get to know them. Tickets can be purchased here for those that are looking to experience that strong animal bond with any of the 400 friends on site.

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