Hannah Kibler with Sparrow, Animal caregiver at Farm Sanctuary. White Heath, IL
I want to spend my time doing something that will make a difference. Many of our animals are products of the factory farming industry and have horrible pasts and many issues related to what they've been through. I can't change their past, but I get to be a part of the happy ending to their story and contribute to the life they deserve to have.
I think its important for people to interact with the animals so that they put farm animals in the same category as their pets. Most people don't get to see farm animals' personalities shine through because they aren't able to live a life of peace and be themselves like our animals on the farm do. They get to come and see how complex and unique each animal truly is. I always tell people its like the difference between a dog thats been in a shelter its whole life vs. a family dog, they don't get to really be themselves when they aren't able to live as happily as possible. I think building that mindset of equality for all animals is really important for the future of veganism, and visiting the farm helps to do that.
The chicken I'm holding, her name is Sparrow. She only has one leg but she gets around just fine and in fact can be hard to catch sometimes. We have another bird on the farm with one leg as well, a duck named Arizona. I'm so inspired by them because everyday they just go about their lives getting around with one leg like its no big deal. They don't feel sorry for themselves and they don't let it hold them back. Its really inspiring and a great reminder to practice gratitude for the things we have.
I think Its all about aligning your actions with your heart. Its scary at first to connect to the fact that you may have contributed to animal suffering and environmental damage due to your food or lifestyle choices, but when you connect to that and change your actions to what is in your heart there is only happiness left. So I guess I would just say that educating yourself about how your choices affect animals, and changing your actions even just one thing at a time to be more compassionate would be a good start. Its not about being perfect. Every act of compassion matters, no matter how small it may be.