Farm Sanctuary works to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living.

Why do we eat what we eat? What qualifies as a pet? Do all animals have rights?

Most people would cringe at the idea of eating a dog. But they would be outraged if you told them first the dog would be put in a tiny pen with a concrete floor, some living their short lives ankle-deep in their own feces. How about having their beloved pet subject to painful mutilations, ears cut, tails cut, without anesthesia. Then once ready to grind into meat they’re stunned with a stun gun, with only most rendered unconscious. These dogs, some still conscious, now hanging upside down by their back legs, will then have their throats sliced open with a knife so that they may bleed out. However, often, fully conscious dogs can be left to hang upside down, kicking, struggling, and whimpering, while a slaughterhouse worker attempts to slice their throats open. If the worker is unsuccessful at this first station, the dogs would be carried to the next station on the slaughterhouse assembly line, the scalding tank, and boiled alive fully conscious.

This is what happens to pigs on many factory farms.

“Pigs love video games.”, she began. We were in the middle of pitching hay, cleaning pens, and befriending the rescued cows, pigs, turkeys, and other farm animals when we all turned to listen. It was a story of a pig and dog playing video games. It was simple, not only were the pigs far better than the dogs at playing these games but once the reward treats stopped, the dogs instantly lost interest. The pigs kept playing.

I don’t know why this hit me as hard as it did. Perhaps being face-to-face for the first time with the question: At what cost do we please our taste buds? Food is such a delicacy, such a source of pleasure in people. Where do we draw the line? If the only way you can have bacon is to torture an animal smarter and more curious than your pets, is that okay? Should we not get outraged? Is there even such thing as humane killing? And who are we to breed an animal into existence just to take its life? These thoughts flooded my head that day in Acton, especially as my taste buds experienced the wonderful dishes of a vegan pot-luck, surrounded by such majestic creatures, these farm animals.

“Let’s face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short.”
― George Orwell, Animal Farm


Orientation: Mandatory. Part of the 6hrs.
Commitment: 6hr. cleaning animal pens.
Cost: $0, a vegan meal for the potluck lunch.

This entry is part of 2011’s Project 365 – Volunteering 12 places in 12 months.