Animal Sanctuary and National Animal Rights Day

This blog post deals more with opportunities to do activities related to my interests, rather than my work at NCSC.

Before coming up here, I decided I wanted to spend time doing activities and events in this area that I do not have access to back home.  Environmental and Animal Rights are both near and dear to my heart, especially since becoming vegan a year ago to improve my overall health.  I realized that not only did my health greatly improve, but I no longer contribute to the number one cause of carbon emissions - animal agriculture, which puts out more carbon emissions than the entire world's transportation systems combined.  I did not have much of a connection to the ethical side of veganism until recently.  I realized that while growing up and the way we are taught today, there is a great disconnect from the food on our plate and the process it had to take to get there. Before cutting out animal products, I did not want to hear about it or know about it. I was perfectly fine with being comfortably unaware.  However, after watching documentaries and seeing the truth of how animal products get to our plates, my only wish is that I would have changed sooner.  On Saturday, I took a step towards my goal of getting involved by participating in DC's first National Animal Rights Day event right in front of the White House.  I met two people from Chesapeake, VA, and we discovered we have mutual friends in the Hampton Roads area.

Jeremy the Cow

I spent Sunday volunteering at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, and it was one of the best days in recent memory. I got to see happy animals in their natural environment, and it seemed like they knew they were in a safe place. Every animal there (including chickens, pigs, goats, cows, horses, and sheep) had been rescued from a slaughterhouse or some form of abuse. One cow, Lucy, had just gotten there the day before, and her baby calf is hours away in an ICU.  A local slaughterhouse saw Lucy was sick and had just given birth to a male calf.  Because she would have cost more money to save, and because males cannot produce milk, they were of little use and profit for the company - so they tied them to a tree and left them to die.  They both survived after 3 days, miraculously, and the calf still only has a 50/50 chance of survival. I've heard of countless stories such as these, which is another reason I am glad I do not contribute to the industry.  Lucy was definitely not a big fan of people, and I do not blame her; I would not like humans either if every one I encountered had been cruel towards me. We were told to keep our distance from her, but I'm hoping she is more calm and acclimated when I return to volunteer next time, knowing she is now safe.


I spent 3-4 hours cleaning all of the pens for the animals, feeding a few treats to the sheep, holding a chicken who kept falling asleep in my arms, and genuinely just being happy to be there. I do not have an animal sanctuary near me at home, so I am thrilled to have had this experience just an hour away from DC. I will definitely be back to volunteer more of my time and to spend time with the animals.