Bill and Ellen Crain started Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary as a way to rescue as many farm animals as possible. They provide animals with a safe home, raise awareness about the mistreatment of farm animals, and advocate for veganism and the end of deforestation. Safe Haven hosts a variety of farm dwellers, from bunnies, to turkeys, to cows, and rescues animals from dangerous factories, slaughter houses, and abuse situations. These animal lovers are working hard to improve the lives of farm animals everywhere!
How did you decide to start a rescue farm?
My wife Ellen and I felt our hearts going out to animals as we got older and we became really passionate about their plight. We saw an ad for a piece of property and decided to buy it to turn it into a farm sanctuary for animals rescued from slaughter and abuse. After restoring the whole barn, we took our first animals in 2008. Now, we have 120 animals and had to move to a bigger location down the road. We have sheep, duck, donkeys, horses, pigs, chickens, and so much more. Ellen retired from her job as a pediatrician to focus on the animals, and I was interested in studying the similarities between animal and human behavior since I’m a psychology professor. I wrote a book called “The Emotional Lives of Animals & Children: Insights From A Farm Sanctuary” about all that I have observed on the farm.
Where do your rescue animals come from?
We get several calls per day from people who can’t take care of their animals, from authorities who are responsible for relocating animals, and from individuals who hear of abuse situations. Sometimes people see animals wandering around who have escaped from live meat markets or livestock trucks and they are brought to us. Although horses can’t be slaughtered in the U.S., sometimes they are shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter and we step in to save those horses. Around the springtime, people tend to buy more chicks and ducklings to celebrate Easter and then realize they don’t know how to take care of them. Every animal has their own story and we try to take as many as we can, but eventually we run out of room. We hope that our visitors will learn about the animals’ stories when they come to the farm and will want to help them more.
Can you tell us about your advocacy work in promoting veganism?
Animals are suffering around the country— there are 10 billion animals slaughtered per year for food that are raised in terrible conditions. Animals should be seen as our relatives and as living creatures, not as food. If the whole world were to turn vegan, a major source of global warming would immediately end. Methane from farm factories would disappear and there would be no more deforestation to make room for pastures. Being vegan is the best option in terms of protecting the environment and its animals. Until the food industry shapes up and eliminates their cruel practices, I hope people will consider transitioning to a vegan diet. People don’t realize where their food is coming from and the harm that it causes, and everytime we buy an animal product we are supporting the poor practices of the food industry. Although our daily focus is on the farm, we do a lot of work to promote veganism and to protect trees from being cut down.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Farming is hard work and requires a lot of cleaning and special attention to the animals who have health problems. That being said, it’s so rewarding and fun to work with animals everyday. There are so many positives about my work and it’s really become my calling. Taking some time to mingle with the goats and sheep is the best part of my morning. I also love watching the children come and play with the animals. They have a natural fascination with the farm and are so enthralled by the animals, which is really uplifting for me to see. It’s truly a magical place for people to learn about animals, and there are a lot of subtle gratifications that make the work very rewarding.