Have you ever spent an afternoon with a gang of baby turkeys? During the summer of 2014, the board of Vegan Action visited Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, one of the few farm sanctuaries located on the East Coast. The chicks (baby turkeys are actually called poults!) were rescued and brought to Poplar Springs to be cared for among other feathered friends, including a flock of turkey toms and hens, peacocks and peahens, geese, ducks and, of course, chickens. Lucky for these baby turkeys, they were rescued and sent to the sanctuary to live their lives socializing (turkeys are very social creatures!) and running through the fields and forest.
In addition to the turkeys, we met a flock of sheep, including Adam, one of the most affectionate sheep I had ever met, a litter of young pigs and a cow named Caroline. Located on 400 acres, Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary provides care, rehabilitation, and permanent sanctuary for neglected, abandoned or unwanted farm animals. Poplar Spring staff and volunteers educate the public on farm animal and wildlife issues and promote compassion and treatment for all animals.
The Maryland-based sanctuary is part of a tradition of caring people responding to the brutality of factory farming. The very land where the sanctuary calls home was once a traditional farm sending many animals to slaughter each year. In the US, factory farming dominates food production where animals face inhumane living conditions where they require large amounts of antibiotics to stay alive. In addition to the drugs administered to simply stay alive in unhealthy living conditions, the animals are also given drugs to grow unnaturally fast and large. This treatment of animals exists to maximize profits at the expense animal, environmental and human health. According to the USDA data, the number of dairy cows has remained relatively constant over the past five years (approximately nine million) however the amount of milk production has steadily increased during the same time period.