CAS supporters show their support for our work on behalf of voiceless animals in so many ways — they donate money or supplies, sponsor a critter, or offer their professional services (like photography or graphic design) for free. Over the years, hundreds of souls have even gone veg, for it’s truly impossible to spend time at CAS and not see food animals in a new light. Interestingly, though, I often hear people say that one of the most fulfilling ways of helping out is when they roll up their sleeves, grab some tools, do farm chores, and get dirty.
On Saturday, April 9th, 70 volunteers came from all over the Hudson Valley, New York City, and central New Jersey for our Spring Work Party. With big smiles and kind hearts, teams planted greenery in the chicken yards, resurfaced gravel entrances to horse fields, painted and repaired long stretches of fence, and cleared pastures.
As Outreach Director, I have the pleasure of leading road trips from New York City to CAS, and this past Saturday, 3/4 of the folks on the bus had never been in the close company of farm animals. While Iâ€™ve been involved with CAS for 3 years, I love seeing the place through the eyes of first-time visitors and learning about how chance encounters with the animals open their hearts and minds in new ways.
Throughout the day, I heard things like â€œI am just crazy about Amelia! I had no idea that pigs are so smart, and I donâ€™t think I can eat pork ever again,â€ and â€œHorses have such soulful eyes â€“ I want to know what theyâ€™re thinking,â€ and â€œItâ€™s amazing how Atlas the goat can love and trust humans again, after all the suffering heâ€™s endured.â€ Sentiments like these embody the magic and beauty of this special place â€“ lots of folks leave with a profoundly heightened understanding and appreciation of farm animals.
That evening, after hours of hard physical labor, people were buzzing on the bus ride back to New York City. The energy and enthusiasm was palpable â€“ it was clear that many people had been moved by the dayâ€™s experiences. Deeply grateful, I settled comfortably in my seat, knowing that the animals would be very proud, and looking forward to the next road trip.