Animal Acres is a farmed animal sanctuary about 3 hours north of San DIego, CA.
Acres of Love
Animal Acres’ “Connect the Dots” Program brings compassion to public schools
The little hand-painted sign that reads: “Animal Acres” in black, crackly paint is our first indication – on an almost three hour trip- that we’re actually going the right way. Having driven 169 miles from our home in San Diego to the little town of Acton, nestled in the Sierra Pelona Mountains, we’re antsy to get there- we’re on a mission.
My daughter, Zoe, sits up in the back seat as we follow the left-pointing arrow on the handmade sign just off the freeway. She’s holding a 5×8 white folded piece of cardstock she received as a birthday gift. Inside is a full color photograph of a hen. Dirty-white and disheveled looking, the hen seems to be in cautious mid-step. There’s a patch of feathers missing from her chest. She’s not pretty. Rather, she looks beaten down and the missing feathers seem to illustrate some untold damage to her heart. Beside the picture, glued into the card on typed white paper, is her story. She was rescued from an egg factory farm, a dark existence of unbelievable cruelty and neglect. Now that Zoe is her sponsor, we’ve finally made the trek here to meet her.
Like many vegetarians, I feel a sense of hopelessness deep in my heart and react vehemently when I come face-to-face with a caged animal. These confines, even those existing squarely in the abstract of “us and them” are concrete proof of all the pain and suffering mankind has employed to martyrize their quieter creature brothers. In the end, slaughter must be a welcome refuge from broken limbs, starvation, dehydration and abuse.
Will we ever be educated enough to stop making the choices that cause such suffering and fear to the billions of other inhabitants with whom we share this world? Our children are born with true humanity, which is slowly sapped from their hopeful hearts as they are taught to shut their eyes to this pain and accept. But, if we if we can harness the still largely untapped muscle of Humane Education we may, someday, be able to assure them that their love and innocence for all the earth’s creatures is not a “childish” ideal, but rather the true inheritance to which we were born.
The Humane Education Act was passed in April of 1917 in New York and is a general requirement for public schools in the participating twelve states in the United States.
The California Education Code Section 5233.5 –Kindness to Animals, states:
“ Each teacher shall endeavor to impress upon the minds of the pupils the principals of morality, truth, justice, … and the meaning of equality and human dignity, including the promotion of harmonious relations, kindness toward domestic pets and the humane treatment of living creatures….”
Little did anyone know the tiny bit of compassionate language slipped into that code would eventually become a catalyst for improving not only the lives of students and their “pets,” but also those of thousands of animals suffering in hundreds of American “Concentrated Feed Operations,” also known as factory farms.
Go to Part 2
Check out the video below to watch geese take flight in slow motion. Beautiful!