SAM ODROWSKI The Standard
UXBRIDGE: A 3rd generation cattle farmer from Uxbridge, changed everything in the summer of 2016, when he converted his cattle farm into a sanctuary for animals. The sanctuary is home to 31 cows, three horses, three chickens, a donkey and a duck, who will all live out their full natural lives on the farm.
Mike Lanigan, owner of the Farmhouse Garden Animal Home, had an epiphany when he was trying to save a three month early, premature calf, who was about the size of a puppy.
As he was trying to save the calf, he had the thought, “I wonder if there’s any way I can stop killing my cows?”
Mike continued, “I thought it was a bit hypocritical to be so loving and caring to the cows, then, at the end of two years, knock them on the head, chop them into pieces, and sell them, without any remorse.” From there, Mike decided to take the step and stop slaughtering animals for a living. Out of this, Farmhouse Animal Garden was born.
He uses most of his land to grow over 75 different organic vegetables, which is Mike’s primary source of income.
After putting out the idea for the Farmhouse Animal Garden into the internet, Mike received an overwhelming amount of support from all over the world.
He said, “We got such support that there was no turning back.”
Currently the farm has 60 volunteers who come and help with the daily operations of the animal sanctuary.
“It’s pretty special to have 60 people drive from all over, after they’re days’ work in the city, to come and shovel out pens, and make beddings,” Mike said. He added, the support is overwhelming.
Mike hosted a fundraiser, November 12th, and over 400 people came out to attend.
“We couldn’t fit all the people in the barn. My barn will hold 50 cows and 4000 bales of hay but we couldn’t fit another person in there. 30 people couldn’t fit in the barn.” Mike said, “We even had supporters that drove from the United States for this event.”
At a fundraiser, earlier in the year, Mike said a woman from Switzerland flew out to his farm to show her support.
“It’s a worldwide thing. People think what we’re doing is pretty cool,” Mike said.
The local support has been fantastic as well. Animals are very close to people’s heart and people appreciate what Mike’s doing to rescue them.
“I’ve had about four different ladies come up to me and say we pray for you at each meal,” he said.
Running the animal sanctuary can get difficult at times, according to Mike. The Farmhouse Animal Garden is a non-profit organization, so all the work Mike does out in the field for the animals, is volunteer.
Prior to starting the animal sanctuary, Mike made a good living off of cattle farming.
We had some really good beef customers. The last time I sold beef at the market, an entire cow from tongue to tail was sold in nine minutes,” Mike said, “I had some ladies at my market at 3:15 in the morning, that’s an hour before we get there, waiting to be the first one, to empty my coolers.”
Now, when Mike goes to the market, he attracts a different crowd, with lots of vegans and vegetarians, buying his organic vegetables.
“We have a dedicated flock of customers that I can rely upon to cover my basis.”
Mike has run the sanctuary for a little over a year now and is happy to shelter so many happy animals.
“I just wanted to save my cows and now I got a whole lot of people that are helping me and its really wonderful. I got support from all over the place and it’s really a good feeling,” he said.
Anyone looking to learn more about the Farmhouse Animal Garden can visit their website, at http://www.farmhousegardenanimalhome.com/. On the website, people can sponsor a horse or cow's feed for the month for $50, or find about upcoming fundraisers.
Any person who is interested in volunteering at the Farmhouse Animal Garden can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike is very grateful to receive so much support and hopes to eventually pass the animal sanctuary down to his children for future generations.
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