In late August, I made the trek to Farm Sanctuary’s shelter in Watkins Glen, NY, for FS’s annual Hoe Down. This was not your typical hoe down. Instead, this one highlighted the happily-ever-after stories of so many formerly abused or neglected animals that have found their way to a better life at Farm Sanctuary. The event also underscored how each of us can do more to protect the lives of these sentient animals.
Farm Sanctuary posted a wonderful wrap-up here, taking readers through two full days of Hoe Down events. As for me, I so enjoyed meeting the animals that we fundraise for day in and day out. I was particularly enamored by Josie Mae, a little goat with a big story of suffering and healing. We featured Josie Mae in a recent appeal, telling how she came to Farm Sanctuary from a dairy farm, where she was not given the veterinary care she needed, and suffered injuries to both legs as a result. FS provided her with the necessary surgery and a prosthetic leg. I’m thrilled to report that this adorable little kid now bounds around the farm, happy and healthy at last. You can see my mini-movie of Josie Mae below.
The Hoe Down also featured incredible speakers with refreshing attitudes about their work to promote veganism and other practices that don’t harm animals. Farm Sanctuary avoids judging people who eat animals or animal products. Rather, they aim to meet people where they are in their journey to veganism (they educate; they don’t convert). Consequently, the attendees were a mix of vegans, vegetarians, and “veg-curious” folks — all welcomed warmly and treated to delicious vegan food.
We learned so much about how we can help animals and our planet by adopting plant-based lifestyles. And that it’s not so hard to do (e.g. start with Meatless Mondays). I think everyone there felt empowered and motivated to do their part.
Beyond the farm animals that I felt I knew already from our storytelling about them, I met many warm and fascinating people. One was Tracey Stewart, an inspiring activist for animals who has partnered with Farm Sanctuary to open a fourth sanctuary in New Jersey. She also happens to be married to Jon Stewart.
Now of course, every good hoe down includes dancing, and this one was no exception. Experts and novices alike (I was in the latter group) lined up for an exhilarating contra dance to top off the event. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find that video.