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Vegan Thanksgiving at Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary

At this very moment, unspeakable things are happening in slaughter houses across the country: Turkeys and pigs are dying unnecessary deaths, so that Americans may give thanks for the grace of God next Thursday. They are dying because tradition can be heartless. And they are dying because humans are apparently often born incapable of empathizing with other living beings. So, far too many of us think nothing of the conversion of another's life into a frozen wad of flesh encased in plastic and put on display on freezer shelves. Lots of people buy these frozen wads of flesh, robbed of the context of their lives and deaths, and then they feed them to their families on Thanksgiving. Wouldn't it be great if we could all give thanks in a manner that doesn't require the suffering of sacrificial animals?
A Turkey for Thanksgiving
A Turkey for Thanksgiving
Hey, guess what: We can. And this is what some of us did today. We headed out through the rolling hills and idyllic farmlands in the heart of Cascadia, to the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary out in Scio. We went there to celebrate a "Gentle Thanksgiving and pig party" with a very distinguished guest list -- including ten new pigs recently rescued from the Iowa floods, and an assortment of horses, cows, llamas, chickens, geese, ducks, goats, sheep, donkeys, and etc. And let us not forget, the guests of honor: Turkeys. These are not the sanitized, frozen, white packets of the dead that are called "turkeys" in the stores at this time of the year. Here, the turkeys come with dewy, jewel-like eyes and gentle voices and curious, questioning glances. Here, they live authentic lives and make friends and find love. Here, they have found Sanctuary.

There are all kinds of reasons for all kinds of beings to give Thanks at Farm Sanctuary, and we were there to share the celebration with them, because we were thankful too. Human guests were asked to bring apples and carrots to present to the Sanctuary residents, and volunteers laid out a vegan feast of banana bread, muffins, cookies, hot cider, and other delicacies for the humans. There was guitar music and lively conversation. I met a whole family of pigs. There was Rosebud and her babies, and there was Donna and Dubman. There were two huge, tusked, hairy pigs (Yorkshires, I think) sitting on clean straw, and there was a surly but endearing boar who kept trying to push his way through a fence to get carrots from my pocket. We handed them apples and carrots and cranberries, and patted their broad foreheads and scratched their ears. Now and then, Rosebud would lunge at two one-year-old female pigs when they ventured too close to Rosebud's babies. Like any mother anywhere, she is protective of her young. She gets to be that way here. (On factory farms, mothers are confined in tiny pens and never enjoy natural relationships with the piglets born to them. But here, it is clear that pigs have loving relationships and tight social bonds.)

I also met Carmen and Taj. Carmen is a sweet, thoughtful little brown turkey with a magnificently jeweled face and glowing eyes. She came to Sanctuary after being thrown from a car. Taj is an elegant, exotic, black and white turkey whose story I do not know, but who is unabashedly grateful at not being on anyone's table come Thursday. Each of these birds has its own individual personality, and each values its own life. It felt really good to see them today, knowing that they will still be here after Thanksgiving, and that they will live long, full lives.

We wandered through pastures and hung out with goats, and we slogged down muddy paths to watch a llama stick its tongue out at us. Roosters and hens and fuzzy little chicks zig-zagged through the grass all around us. My favorite new friend today is a tiny little donkey, no bigger than my dog. I do not know this donkey's name, nor did I notice whether it is a male or female. But she or he followed me around the pasture and reached delicately for the carrots I offered. I would have brought her (or him) home with me if I could have. I'm pretty sure I'll have to go back there soon, to visit this little one again.

For anyone looking for a reason to give Thanks this week, I wholeheartedly recommend visiting these rescued farm animals. You can find out more information about the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary, including how to get there, and how to help out, by visiting their website here:  link to www.lighthousefarmsanctuary.org. For all the farm animals who love their lives as much as we love ours, please don't eat meat.

Pictures from Thanksgiving 23.Nov.2008 00:41


Some of the animals who thank you for not eating meat.
Dinky Donkey (My favorite new friend)
Dinky Donkey (My favorite new friend)

A perfect Thanksgiving 23.Nov.2008 08:37


We had a happy party over at the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary. What a pleasure to see all of the animals, some having come from terrible abusive situations, relaxed and happy. The llama particularly enjoyed being on camera. Goats were running free in a large pasture, resting and playing with friends. It was a beautiful day, and the humans who attended enjoyed sharing food with these beings. Thanks to the farm sanctuary for this event. I will be visiting again.

More Photos From Vegan Event 23.Nov.2008 09:22


Animals react wonderfully to their status as safe, friendly companions to people.
Roy, the steer
Roy, the steer
A Smiling Pig
A Smiling Pig
Whistle a Happy Tune
Whistle a Happy Tune

I loved visiting with the sheep and the pigs 23.Nov.2008 10:35

Vegan Visitor

I was out there yesterday. I think the pigs are so sweet. I loved the big huge ones, Baxter and Duncan I think I heard them called, who wallowed around in the mud over by Roy (the big steer). It was so great to see pigs who will never be subjected to the cruelty of the repeated blows that happen before the "ham" appears on some Thanksgiving table somewhere. These pigs will never go through that. These pigs are safe.

I really liked the fuzzy sheep too.

Dinky Donkey 23.Nov.2008 11:09


I just learned that the little donkey's name is "Donke'oyte" or just Oyte. (It took me a minute to get it.)(Get it?) He was abandoned in South Salem, and has lived at Farm Sanctuary for about 4 years. He's so cool.

no more windmills 23.Nov.2008 14:02


Well, the little Oyte won't have to tilt at anymore windmills. See how happy he/she is? This little guy is very quiet and sweet and likes to meet new people.

pictures 23.Nov.2008 14:10


I attached some pictures to my last message, but they didn't make it through techno-transition. I hope they do this time.

Thanks! 23.Nov.2008 20:29


Thanks for posting all those pictures, Don, Bess, and "."!

I love the closeup of Roy's snout. I tried to get a similar shot, but he licked my camera.

Baxter 24.Nov.2008 06:09

Up close

And Personal
Laughing pig
Laughing pig

Animals Love their lives and deserve Respect 24.Nov.2008 18:40


I love vegans too - for their 'respect for all life' and 'evolved nature'.

Great article Cat. Great photos as well.

All Are One (including the Animals)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=931Akr1kySE

"As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields." ~ Leo Tolstoy

"The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men." ~ Leonardo Davinci

- peace and solidarity

I might be joining you 25.Nov.2008 09:04


I was "preparing" my Thanksgiving dinner this summer. She was out in my pasture way up high, but not high enough for the fox. The fox ripped my dinner to pieces one night in July. My ax would have been a whole lot more humane. Anyway, I am now without a Thanksgiving turkey. Next year, I'll either cage them or shoot the fox.

A Turkey for Thanksgiving 25.Nov.2008 17:43


You can celebrate Thanksgiving by sponsoring or even adopting a turkey.

You can do this by visiting the lighthouse farm sanctuary website (link to www.lighthousefarmsanctuary.org), and going to their "how to help" page. You can download a form, and choose the animal you would like to sponsor.

Or, you could also go to the Farm Sanctuary in Ithaca New York (I think they also have one in California) to either sponsor or adopt a turkey. Their website is here:  http://www.adoptaturkey.org/aat/adopt/index.html

The Lighthouse sponsorship is a way to contribute the full cost of caring for a turkey for an entire year, while Ithaca is only asking for a $25 fee (probably because they have so many more sponsors, having been around for a longer time). If you have room for it, consider adopting a pair of turkeys, providing a loving, vegetarian home to them. You can do that through the Ithaca site. They will bring the turkeys to your home.

We decided to sponsor Carmen. (I am almost reluctant to say that, in case Lighthouse allows more than one person to sponsor the same animal. It might freak someone out if they have also sponsored the same turkey. But as far as I'm concerned, as long as they're using the money to feed and care for farm animals in the way they are doing, that's cool with me.)

Anyway, it feels really good to celebrate Thanksgiving by sharing resources with a being who gets to survive after all.

I should say that I've visited both the Farm Sanctuary in Ithaca (actually Watkins Glen, just outside of Ithaca), and the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary here in Cascadia. Both are really inspiring. Both are great places to live if you're a farm animal. I really loved the rolling hills and green trees in Ithaca. They have a bed and breakfast there, where you can sleep in a rustic but charming cabin surrounded by photographs of the animals there. You can walk around the farm and visit the pig barn, the rabbits, the horses and cows, and everyone else. There were many, many pigs all sleeping in a warm, dry, comfy barn when I was there. They snore! There was also an educational barn, and a vegan breakfast. I was afraid to go to Lighthouse, because I didn't see how anything could compare to the serene paradise I had found in upstate New York. But Lighthouse is also an amazing place where animals are well cared for. You can feel good about sharing resources with either of them. Please do consider sponsoring a turkey, or a pig (they are harder to shelter and cost more to feed, and just as stigmatized) for Thanksgiving.

(I understand there is also a farm sanctuary in Estacada, but I have never been there and don't know anything about it. If anyone has any information, please share it here.)

"Out to Pasture" farm sanctuary 25.Nov.2008 19:16

Goat Roper

I think you may be referring to Out to Pasture sanctuary, in Estacada. Here is what they have to say about themselves, on the following web site:
Out To Pasture Animal Sanctuary
PO Box 2315
Estacada, Oregon 97023

"Out To Pasture is a not-for-profit (501 (c)(3) status pending) no-kill sanctuary located in Estacada, Oregon, dedicated to providing permanent housing and care for a variety of abused, neglected or abandoned animals including large farm animals, pigs, rabbits, chickens and dogs.

We believe that animals value their lives as much as we value our own and deserve to live free of exploitation and cruelty.

Our animals were adopted from a variety of organizations including Oregon Animal Rescue, Friends of Shelter Animals, NW In Defense of Animals and the Northwest Miniature Pig Association. Other animals were adopted from individuals as a result of divorce, eviction or foreclosure. Some were intercepted on their way to auction or slaughter.

Many animals came from sad situations. Feral cats from an apartment complex where the manager was about to trap and euthanize them. Or the unruly horse being sold at dog food prices. Out to Pasture is a place where all living beings are treated with kindness and compassion."


getting it 27.Nov.2008 02:24

did i get it

Not sure what "Donke-Oyte" means unless it's pronounced "Donkey Hotie," i.e. Don Quixote ...