Have You Wondered What It’s Like to Intern at Catskill Animal Sanctuary?

Read summer intern Kaden’s experience.

Miss Piggerty and Kaden
Miss Piggerty and Kaden

Two years ago I arrived at college a new vegetarian after having just read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. I wasn’t vegan yet as I thought it was impossible. Then a met a fellow student who showed me how easy it was and two weeks later I was vegan!

I spent a lot of time advocating for non-human animals with the Vassar Animal Rights Coalition, but I hadn’t actually met any of the farmed animals I was fighting for. That’s what brought me to Catskill. At the sanctuary I was able to see other animals experiencing freedom. Their individual personalities were able to shine and I watched them get into plenty of shenanigans. I remember how the goats from our Underfoot Gang (the animals who get to wander freely around the barnyard) would stand with their front feet on the fences to reach the tastiest branches of the willow trees. Resident pig, Miss Piggerty would root herself a ditch in the mud and then sink into it to cool off from the summer sun. They all palpably exhibited joy and loss, regardless of whether or not it was the same as our human experience of these emotions.

On my barn work days, I mainly scooped poop – which is more fun than it sounds when you’re in the company of the other animals! But sometimes I was able to assist with the medical care of the “broiler” chickens by wrapping their feet. (“Broilers” is a term coined by food industry describing chickens bred to be broiled, baked, or barbequed.) These birds are bred to be extremely large so as to produce more meat. It’s their abnormal size that causes them to develop Bumblefoot. It’s like having bedsores on the bottoms of their feet, which is why we have to treat them and wrap their feet. Even birds without Bumblefoot have difficulty walking. I have never seen one of them jump more than an inch or two off the ground despite the fact that other breeds of chickens are excellent jumpers. At Catskill, I learned the important lesson that the bodies of farmed animals grow too fast and too large and cannot sustain them for a natural lifespan. At Catskill I learned how to confront non-human disability with compassion.

Kaden and Amos
Kaden and Amos

My experience at Catskill was one of the most rewarding in my life. It’s a place that stands against all types of animal exploitation. I made so many new non-human friends and I’ve learned their stories as best as I could. Hopefully, in the coming school year I can share their stories to change the hearts and minds of the people I meet.

Kaden is co-leader of Vassar Animal Rights Coalition.

Are you or someone you know looking for a terrific internship experience like Kaden’s? Check out our openings and apply today!



A Day in the Life, Herd Around The Barn, Sanctuary Life, Why Sanctuaries Matter