An in-person tour of a farm sanctuary can be a fun way to have personal encounters with animals otherwise farmed for food. These up-close experiences can tap into our compassion and help us understand our shared sentience. Tours also provide insight into the dedication, ingenuity and resources it takes to ensure farmed animals enjoy a full and peaceful existence.
Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) coordinates with local farm sanctuaries within driving distance of the Twin Cities to offer tours. We do this to give you the chance to make personal connections with animals and learn their stories. When we begin to deeply understand how farmed animals experience the world, our motivation to protect the quality of their lives and embrace a plant-based lifestyle increases.
Here are some of the reasons you may want to visit a farm sanctuary:
- You’ll get to know the amazing stories of individual animals’ lives. At sanctuaries, most of the animal residents come from situations of abuse and neglect. Some residents have overcome or are dealing with challenging illnesses or injuries. Others may have come to the sanctuary through a surprising turn of events. Like humans, every sanctuary resident has a unique story that makes up the tapestry of life.
- Some sanctuary residents truly enjoy human touch and human company. Generally speaking, many pigs enjoy belly rubs, some goats may enjoy ear scratches, and certain cows or chickens may love to say hello by coming up to greet you. Again, every animal resident is an individual. Always be aware there may be sanctuary residents who dislike or even fear human contact. The sanctuary tour leader will typically let you know who prefers contact and who should be left undisturbed.
- See residents’ personalities in action. It doesn’t take long before residents’ personalities become evident. You’ll notice how they interact with you or other animals. You’ll see the unique ways they move and express themselves. Maybe they love a bed of fresh straw or get excited when food is offered. You might hear some vocalizations, too. Watching behavior emerge helps us appreciate that, like us, farmed animals have unique character traits that no other being has.
- Get benefits to your health and well-being. Studies have shown that interacting with animals reduces blood pressure and decreases levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Other studies suggest that time spent with animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost mood. (Source: National Institutes of Health, News in Health. The Power of Pets. February 2018.)
- Find new inspiration for your plant-based diet. When you make a personal connection with a farmed animal, you may naturally want to avoid eating beings just like them, or using products that make it impossible for beings like them to live freely and happily. The more we understand how much we share in common with farmed animals, the easier it is to support their rights and well-being.
- Your visit supports the sanctuary and the livelihood of the residents. When you tour a sanctuary for farmed animals, you are showing that you are interested in the residents and that you care. That means a lot to the people who run the sanctuaries. Your tour fee helps financially support the everyday operation of the sanctuary, including food, shelter, land costs, sanitation and veterinary care.
- Sanctuaries are an excellent way to introduce others to care for farmed animals. For example, volunteer Rae Hermeier brought her boyfriend’s mother on a tour of Farmaste. Rae’s guest fell in love with Timothy, a steer, and started transitioning towards a plant-based diet. Sanctuaries are a great way to help friends and family connect to animals raised for food and start to take action on their behalf.
Upcoming sanctuary tours in 2021
Join us for the next tour at Spring Farm Sanctuary on Saturday, May 15, at 2 pm. Find more information and register for the tour: here.
More sanctuary tours are being planned for the summer months. Check back periodically for new tour dates and locations by visiting our events page.