I have all sorts of things I’m passionate about other than yoga. Animal rights and protecting our planet are two of those things. My love for animals goes WAY back. I often think about my poor mother who would kindly suggest that we not add another animal to the family, since we probably already had a dog, cat, some kind of rodent, etc. I would smile, nod and head off to a pet store where I would save whatever animal I could from its horribly small cage, invasive fluorescent lights, and deafening sound of children cooing and tapping on their glass prisons. I would rehearse a heart wrenching story, walk into the house and present my mother with the $1.00 feeder mouse that would now cost her $100’s to comfortably house. This happened on repeat, for many years….sorry mom!
I am much older now but my love for animals has never dwindled. If anything it has become much stronger and abundantly more educated. I have been 100% vegan now for more than 5 years and vegetarian on and off my entire life. I say on and off because I was raised in Wisconsin (The Dairy State) and I was raised by a meat-eating family. I was given the nickname “Bird” at a very young age due to the fact that I had very long, skinny legs like a bird and I was an incredibly picky eater. I would pick all the meat out of my dinner. I often questioned why we ate meat and some time around High School I was almost completely vegetarian, against my mothers wishes as it caused her even more work in the kitchen (preparing multiple meals for dinner). There were only a few times after High School when I was on my own that I was convinced that eating meat was better for my health. I choked down meat here and there and was 100% vegetarian when I realized that eating meat was only making me more unhealthy, literally and mentally. I just couldn’t do it.
Around the time I started college I learned about factory farming and quit dairy cold turkey. I had no idea what was going on in dairy farms and was mortified! As I mentioned above, I am now 100% vegan and have been for more than 5 years now. I do not consume any animal products. I don’t wear leather, wool, silk, or anything that comes from an animal. There are zero products in my home that have been tested on animals (so basically no L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Johnson & Johnson, S.C. Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, Reckitt Benckiser, Church & Dwight, Unilever, Dial/Henkel, and many, many more). I research every single product that comes into my home, that touches my body or enters my mouth. Yup, I’m that vegan, and I’m proud of it!
I have lots and lots and lots of vegan information to share with you BUT that’s for another blog, coming soon! Today I want to talk about some of the companies that are helping to protect the animals on this planet that do not have a voice. These people work their butts off to take care of the animals that no one wanted, that were being abused, that were meant to be slaughtered, etc. Most of these people work as volunteers and make no money at all, but they do it because they love these animals so much and they know that if they don’t do it no one will.
There’s so many reasons I love these places. They give the animals a place to live out the rest of their lives if they cannot be safely returned to nature. They allow people to come and visit so they can look into these animals eyes and to be educated further about how factory farming is not only hurting these animals but also destroying our planet. They rehabilitate and release animals back into the wild, where they belong! Not to mention that they’re basically in my backyard and that means that I can visit whenever I want. So without further ado, here are some animal rescue and rehabilitation sanctuaries you can visit right here in California to show your love for our little and big animal friends.
Pricing: Adults $20, Kids $10
Hours: Sunday 10am – 2pm.
Address: 15825 Sierra Hwy, Santa Clarita, CA 91390
The Gentle Barn was founded in Tarzana, CA in 1999. In 2003 The Gentle Barn moved to a six-acre paradise in Santa Clarita, CA. The property is complete with large horses and cow pastures, a red and white barnyard for the smaller animals, an organic vegetable garden, lots of shade trees, and a panoramic view of gorgeous mountains. They have over one hundred and seventy rescued animals that live a safe and happy life.
Of course anyone can visit Gentle Barn BUT the founders also work with children from the inner-city, group homes, mental health care facilities, foster homes, and schools to teach them that even though we are all different on the outside, on the inside we are all the same and are deserving of the same rights, respects and freedom.
When you visit you get to see lots of different animals, interact with them, touch them, learn about them and more. You can buy a membership, sponsor an animal and you even get to eat some tasty vegan treats provided by their weekly sponsor. The best way to help is by making a donation, sponsoring an animal or sponsoring a group of school kids, at-risk kids or special-needs kids to come to The Gentle Barn.
Animal Tracks Inc.
Address: 10234 Escondido Canyon Rd, Agua Dulce, CA 91390
Phone: (661) 268-1314
I visited Animals Tracks earlier this year and it was AMAZING! They provide a safe, happy, and healthy home for wildlife and exotic animals that cannot be returned to their natural habitats. Wild and exotic is an understatement. I got to hold a snake that weighs like 70 lbs. It was incredible!!! They have monkey’s, wolves, wallaby’s & kangaroo’s, pigs, an armadillo, horses, snakes and alligators. Our tour guide Christina Guerrero was hilarious and provided lots of important information about the animals and how we can help to protect them in the wild.
This is a super interactive tour and I would highly recommend it! I can’t wait to go back again! Animal Tracks goal is to educate the public through guided tours, educational outreach, and amazing up close animal experiences and that’s exactly what we got.
You can donate, purchase items they need from their wish list, visit and volunteer. Check them out today!
RANCH TOUR: An educational adventure tour of facility, with hands on interaction. The tour lasts 2 hours and unfortunately, children under 5 are not permitted.
$25 per person
THE MONKEY EXPERIENCE: Experience a full hour of monkey talk, laughs, and hugs with four of our resident primates. Please note: Kids under 16 are not permitted at this event.
$50 per person / $75 private experience
PAINTING WITH PRIMATES – WILL RESUME IN THE SPRING: Take a finger painting master class with Chrissy the baboon! We’ll provide the materials, you bring your artistic flair.
$40 per person
PRIVATE TOURS: Want to spend even more one-on-one time with our incredible animals? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on private ranch tours.
Prices start at $100 per person
Purchase your tour tickets here!
Location: 14831 Little Tujunga Canyon Rd, Sylmar, CA 91342
This place is a little different from the others. The only way to visit Wildlife Waystation is to either become a volunteer, book a safari party, or host and event.
This place was founded in 1965 and incorporated in 1976. It’s located on 160 acres in the Angeles National Forest in Southern California. They are internationally recognized and have accepted 4 tigers from Ireland, lions from New Zealand and Canada, other exotic animals from across the United States, as well as native animals in Southern California and other states. Since 1976 they have helped more than 76,000 abused, abandoned, orphaned, and injured animals. These include Siberian and Bengal tigers, lions, leopards, tigers, jaguars, mountain lions, wolves, coyotes, camels, primates, hyenas, bears, foxes, reptiles, exotic birds, birds of prey, and more.
They provides 24-hour care to more than 400 permanent animal residents. They have a health center and provide full-time veterinary care to each animal based on their individual requirements. They receive no funding from federal, state, or local governments, but are supported solely by private donations, foundation and corporate grants, bequests and animal sponsorships. The sanctuary is staffed 24 hours-a-day, 7 days a week by a professional staff and highly trained and dedicated volunteers.
It’s pretty amazing what these people do for the animals they care for. Definitely check them out if you’re interested in volunteering or setting up a safari party for you and your loved ones.
California Wildlife Center
This center is closed to the public due to the fact that it is a rehabilitation center and contact with humans needs to stay at a minimum so the animals can be released back into the wild.
California Wildlife Center is the premier wildlife medical care and rehabilitation facility in the Los Angeles area. They strive to ensure that each animal in their care receives the highest level of care to allow them to return to their wild state. Since 1998, CWC has experienced a steady increase in animal patients, caring for more than 44,000 wild animals, many whose injuries were caused by the impacts of their urbanized environments.
A long-term goal of the center is to promote protection of wild habitats and the environment through education, training and partnerships with the communities it serves.
Coexistence begins with the understanding of how to share our communities with wild animals. In order to do this, they educate individuals about the animals in their environment and provide solutions to existing problems, such as helping a neighborhood discourage a prowling coyote.
You can become a volunteer, donate, attend events (The most recent event will take place on September 25th, it’s the “Wild Brunch,” check their website for more information), or book an educational outreach event.
Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres
Farm Sanctuary has 3 different locations: Watkins Glen, NY; Orland, CA; and right here in our backyard Los Angeles, CA. The Los Angeles location offers 26-acres of land in Acton, just 45 minutes from Hollywood.
They provide shelter for approximately 100 animals, offer one-hour guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays and group tours which are available by appointment. They have a sanctuary gift shop, open before and after tours, which allow visitors to find educational materials, apparel, books, and souvenirs.
Their goal is to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living.
They were founded in 1986 to combat the abuses of factory farming and encourage a new awareness and understanding about farm animals. Today, they are the nation’s largest and most effective farm animal rescue and protection organization. They have rescued thousands of animals between their 3 locations. They also educate millions of people about their plight and the effects of factory farming on our health and environment. They are committed to ending cruelty to farm animals and promote compassionate vegan living.
Of course there are many, many more, but this gives you a place to start! We can make a difference, one person at a time! Each of us deserves to be treated with respect, even those who cannot speak for themselves. Take care of each other, take care of our non-human friends and take care of our planet.