When it comes to setting the ultimate example as a vegan and as an animal advocate, there’s no better action you can take than to volunteer at an animal sanctuary.

By volunteering at an animal sanctuary, and truly participating in the kind of world you’d like to live in, you are showing and sharing something with those around you unlike anything they have been likely to know.

As a volunteer you get hands on experience interacting with and caring for farmed animals. These aren’t domestic animals like cats or dogs, both present in over 77 million households in the U.S. as pets, who most people have the opportunity to interact with on a regular basis, but animals who are typically only seen in a farm/petting zoo environment, or in media like film, television and marketing. These farmed animals are especially never seen in the harsh light of the reality of their situation which is often in a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) factory farming environment. And this non-transparency is for a reason.

When you volunteer at an animal sanctuary and work with these animals, you begin to see them for the individuals that they are. You learn their names, you find out where it is (and how it is) that they like to sleep, you see which other animals they have formed friendships with, and a plethora of other wonderful things that most people never get to experience.

Adelaide and Blaze enjoying some mother-son bonding time.

You also experience what it is like to put the needs of another, in this case an animal, above your own human wants and wishes. It’s a selfless act that not only provides for the animals, but in its own remarkable way provides for you too. There is nothing more rewarding in this world than doing things for others in need.

Volunteering also creates community! Getting together and working towards a common goal with like-minded people is extremely liberating and like they say, “There’s power in numbers.”

I like to think that if more people donated their time to farmed animals and animal sanctuaries, that they too would have their eyes opened to the exceptionally unique individual traits and characteristics that each and every animal on this planet possesses, all of which/who deserve to be acknowledged and protected. They would no longer see pigs, cows, chickens and the like as faceless, lifeless objects on their plate, but for who they really are, sentient beings with their own purpose and desire to live.

Pictured Above: Bitsie (right) Stewie (left) and myself.