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:
Continued from Part 1
Lorrie Houston, founder of Animal Acres, a farmed animal rescue operation just outside of Los Angeles, has managed to employ 5233.5 as a tool to build a solid bridge between California schoolchildren and these animals. After obtaining grant funding in 2007 (approximately $20,000 from a handful of organizations), she appealed to the Los Angeles Unified School District requesting Animal Acres be named a registered site for Humane Education field trips, pointing out that current Humane Education programs typically omit farm animals. The sanctuary was approved soon after– a great victory for Houston, the animals, and ultimately, the children whose lives would undoubtedly be forever changed by the events yet to unfold.
A program was borne from the grant, aptly named “Connect the Dots”. Essentially an educational field trip, it traces the route an animal takes from birth to the dinner plate, incorporating direct contact with animals who narrowly missed that same journey, having been rescued from factory farms, which are the origin of 99 percent of the meat that is consumed in the U.S. The children get hands-on interaction with the animals and learn their individual stories, leaving with an understanding of something blatantly under-taught in every school setting; where food comes from.
In her grant, Lorrie states:
“The lack of farm animal discussions and lessons in humane education is alarming, and we believe it has directly resulted in a lack of understanding, and compassion, for the largest group of animals that humans interact with. Animal Acres has demonstrated that children will bond with farm animals and be committed to their protection, IF they have opportunities to interact with farm animals, and learn that cows, pigs and turkeys need protection, and love, too.”
Participating schools can choose one of two presentation themes: a focus on environmental care or compassion in education. With younger children, the focus is simply teaching them that animals have feelings and to break down the specieist bias that house-pets are more worthy of affection and care than “food animals”.
Obviously, there’s a thin line to be toed. What, then, do you teach a second-grader when you’ve personally rescued a baby goat with its ears cut off, left in a field to starve to death, or a calf with a foot-wide hole in its side mended with duct tape?
“Less hardcore facts,” says Houston. “At 8 yrs old you have to be very careful with the kinds of information you present to them.”
But, she says, the kids open the doors all by themselves. They ask questions and Houston says the answers are always truthful.
“If they ask questions, we won’t lie,” says Lorrie. “ We say, ‘Well yes that is where pepperoni comes from.’” She laughs and says, “We can only imagine the dinner conversation that night.”
Go to Part 3
Check out the video below to watch some wild horses.