Mother’s Day can be a wonderful celebration of the nurturers and caregivers in our lives, a way to thank them for their dedication, love, and kindness. Mother’s Day can also be enormously difficult: for people who want to become mothers and can’t, for people whose relationships with their mother or children are strained, for children who’ve lost mothers, and for mothers who’ve lost children.
At the Sanctuary, Mother’s Day can be similarly bittersweet; we celebrate the mothers who were rescued together with their babies, or who came to the Sanctuary pregnant and gave birth in a safe place where they would never be separated from their children. We also mourn the losses that so many of these animals have experienced: as refugees from the animal agriculture industry, they’ve known the pain of losing their mothers. Many of them have lost children.
The recent arrival of Chester, Mollie, Levi, and Arlo was a stark reminder of this sundering. When we shared the first video of these four adorable ten-week-old goats, we were peppered with questions: Where are their mothers? Why didn’t their mothers get rescued too?
And our hearts ached when we answered: We don’t know.
Because farming requires animals to become pregnant to produce milk, the babies are a “byproduct” who are taken and given a milk substitute so that their mother’s milk can be consumed by humans — these babies would have been separated from their mothers long before the closure of the farm, long before being taken in by local animal organizations like Hudson Valley Animal Rescue and Sanctuary. The boys likely would have been sold at auction; the girls, turned into milk producers like their mothers, part of an endless cycle of exploitation.
We can’t replace the mothers from whom they were separated, but we will love these goats with our whole hearts for their entire lives.
We also take comfort in the sight of the new families that we’ve seen form at the Sanctuary:
- Nina, the rescued Easter lamb who was adopted by Shirley, the shyest sheep.
- Alice, the baby goat rescued last July who has been gently guided into adulthood by Hermione and Tigger.
- Lyle and Sanchez, the bonded pair of chickens who live with and look after our Colorado flock.
- Jasmine, the dignified “step mama” who brings calm to her energetic adopted piglets (who are all grown up!): Kevin, Merida, and Madeline.
- Christopher, the sheep who lost his mother, Noelle, who now lovingly looks after blind Junior.
- And then, of course, there are our human caregivers, who nurture the animals at the Sanctuary. There are over 300 rescued farmed animals who live here, and our remarkable team cares for each of them with steadfast dedication and unconditional love.
A Sanctuary is more than just a location. It’s a place of safety and support, where healing happens and families are formed. Today, we acknowledge all mothers, and the children who have lost them, regardless of species. And we look forward to a future where families of all species are together on Mother’s Day.
Love Spoken Here.