About the Farm Animal Sanctuary
Farm Animal Sanctuary is located in Evesham, Worcestershire, and has been running since 1997, making it Britain's first sanctuary for 'farmed' animals. It was founded by Janet Taylor, formally a journalist. “This was in the days when the News of the World did great campaigning work,” says Janet, nostalgically. She was convinced that British lambs were being illegally exported from Belgium to other parts of Europe so she and a colleague went to investigate. Sure enough, the consignments were travelling non-stop through Belgium and on to France. She tracked one lorry to Perpignan and was shocked to the core when she saw the animals being shot – inaccurately – as they came down the lorry’s tailboard. Perhaps that awakening accounts for why there are so many sheep on this well-ordered, 80 acre farm. "There’s the gang of three and working together they can open any gate on this farm. They stick their tongues through the holes in latch gates; if a bolt is stiff, one will lean against the gate to ease the pressure while another slides the bolt back with his mouth and the third kicks it open.” Like many of us, Janet cannot comprehend the brutal attitude of market and meat industry vets. One dejected little New Forest mare who was bleeding profusely was passed as fit to travel and would probably have been illegally sent to Belgium for meat.
Janet bought her for a few pounds and took her home. She had recently foaled and complications had led to the bleeding. Janet’s vet also suspected severe kidney damage, which was confirmed when the poor little creature died. When confronted with the post mortem results, the market vet just shrugged disinterestedly and insisted she had been fit to travel. But he now knows he’s being watched. There are over 550 animals at the sanctuary - pigs, ducks, geese, sheep, cows, horses, shetland ponies, donkeys, rabbits, hens and turkeys. All have been turned from mere commodities into powerful personalities. Janet has only two full-time and one part-time staff and relies on volunteers to help at the farm. Every week she has to raise over £1,500 to provide food, veterinary care and the amenities each animal needs.