The Farm Animal Sanctuary was established nearly 40 years ago by our founder Jan Taylor. On a wet February morning, all those years ago, Jan visited a livestock market and witnessed the horrors unfolding before her. Sick, malnourished, diseased and deformed animals were being offered up for sale. Some were motionless and hanging on to life by a thread, unloved and unwanted. Jan’s heart extended out to these poor neglected creatures and she went on to purchase over 60 animals at several livestock markets in England and Wales. They were rushed to her vets and received the urgent veterinary care that they so desperately needed. This was the beginning of the sanctuary and since then, it has grown exponentially and now cares for hundreds of farm animals in need.
Jan’s rescue story that formed the starting point of the sanctuary, gained both local and national press interest. Not just because of the feel good factor of her battle to save neglected animals but because it posed a serious question about animal welfare in livestock markets and the laws that were meant to protect them. The woeful standards could simply not be ignored. Meetings were held with veterinary officers from the State Veterinary Service, private vets, market managers, Trading Standard Officers and representatives from the farming world. All of them agreed that the evidence presented to them was unacceptable and that improvements were to be made.
To this day, we campaign against animal cruelty with the aim to change both legal and individual perceptions on animal rights.
Our aim is to provide a safe and comfortable home for neglected farm animals, where they receive the care, shelter, dignity and respect that they deserve.
We cannot do this without the help of people like you. It costs over £2500 per week to provide proper care for our animals.
You can support our charitable cause in many ways. Adopt an animal, donate, attend an event or get involved in any way you can. We truly appreciate the help of our supporters that allow us to continue to bring life, health and happiness to our residents.
Meet our wonderful, caring team – heartbeat behind our sanctuary.
To find out how you can get involved, raise funds and support our charity, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
“Whoever believes that farm animals can be reared and killed humanely should be aware of the numbers of lamb deaths in the lambing season.
“Born at the coldest, wettest time of the year when there’s no grass for the ewes to eat to help them produce milk. Freezing, wet, windy weather will soon cause vulnerable lambs to die from hypothermia, as they’re unable to maintain their own body temperature for the first three days of life. Their bodies are collected in large bags, numbers aren’t recorded. They’re just ‘a bag of dead lambs for incineration’.
“The survivors are ready for market/slaughter anytime from 24 weeks of age.
“Ewes grieve, lambs, trapped either in a lorry or pens in a noisy, crowded market can only become stressed. They can’t escape. Good ewe lambs can be kept for breeding more lambs, and so the cycle continues.
“Humane slaughter? How is it possible to take away the life of a healthy animal, whatever the age, who most definitely would not choose to die, in an atmosphere that reeks of fresh blood and are forced/led into the killing pen by who? Realistically, not someone who is there to care for sentient beings. It’s just a job for someone who hasn’t any feelings one way or the other to watch a healthy animal killed.
“Walking through a Worcestershire Livestock Market one freezing, wet February morning in 1984 I felt as though I’d walked through the gates of hell. I was just an ignorant freelance journalist who liked animals and ate meat.
“The noise, the frantic bleats and calls of distressed animals, mixed with the loud shouting of men. Sheep running and slipping in the wet, soiled narrow passageways, crashing into each other in their panic. Old sows and boars, finding themselves at the end of their useful life, penned in isolated stress, chewing on the bars of the pen until their mouths bled, fear in their eyes.
“Cattle bellowing, not comprehending where they were or why they were there. They didn’t want to move because they didn’t understand where they were meant to go, men trying to move them forwards using sticks, more shouting.
“Orphan and unwanted lambs, some of them little more than 24 hours old, hung aloft by their front legs to be auctioned to the highest bidder. Sometimes 50p would buy a small, weak looking lamb, as much as £5 for an older, stronger lamb who looked as though it could last for more than 24 hours.
“A very small black lamb was brought into one market, carried inside a box by an elderly farmer. The lamb wasn’t moving, he was icy cold to touch, the advice to the farmer was to take it away as it would be dead before the end of the sale. I bought the lamb for £1, held him beneath my jumper, turned the heater up in the car and drove to the Vets. The lamb, who we named Taro, survived hypothermia, dehydration and a gut infection, he lived with us until he was 15.
“Word got around that I wasn’t a farmer, auctioneers began to refuse to take my bids, I was threatened by a dealer to ‘stop interfering, I know where you live’.
“I’d seen sheep with gangrenous mastitis, a peach sized tumour growing out of a sheep’s eye, burst abscesses, feet so infected by footrot the sheep were unable to stand, an old ewe taking her last painful breath as she lay dying from pneumonia.
“Cows with dripping distended udders and overgrown feet, calves a few days old shaking with fear and cold, already showing signs of infections. Their destination, a cold, dark, veal unit somewhere in Holland or France, kept in isolation in a narrow crate, no bedding, no company, just fluids. All for those people who demand white, tender meat.
“Sad little featherless ex battery hens sold for 10p. Listening to the comments ‘she won’t even make half a sandwich’.
“Ducks, feathers clogged with filth, never having had access to water in their short lives. Turkeys, Geese, Guinea fowl, the list went on, even pet rabbits, all seen as food, never as living, sentient beings. That was how the Farm Animal Sanctuary came about. It wasn’t planned, but what I’d seen couldn’t be ignored. I bought 68 of the worst animals from several different markets in England and Wales, all were seen by my Vets straight after purchase.
“One ewe had to be put down in the market as I was too late to save her life. The others all survived to lay down the foundation of the first Charity formed to give a home to all abused, neglected and abandoned farm animals. Currently we are caring for almost 600 animals, all of which have the right to a life of respect.
“Have things changed in the markets? Farm animals are right at the bottom of the heap when it comes to the monitoring of welfare issues. I’ve heard this saying so often from the farming community, ‘if you have sheep, you need a shovel’. Why? ‘They can’t wait to die, they’ll find all ways’.
“One conversation I will always remember. In the days when three tier lorries didn’t have a roof on the top tier, (presumably to save money), I asked a haulier, ‘what would happen if one happened to jump out or be squeezed out?’
‘Stupid bugger would only do it once’.”
“I started volunteering at the farm when I was 12. It wasn’t long before it became my second home, spending every waking minute helping Jan out and well, I’ve never left. When a job became available it was perfect for me. That was 16 years ago and honestly, I’ve never looked back.
“I know all the animals and the animals all know me. I love coming in first thing in the morning and shouting ‘hello kids’ and hearing them all shout back. I work with a great bunch of people, we’re all a little bit crazy but that’s what makes us such a dedicated team!
“I’ve seen a lot here at the sanctuary, I’ve said hello to many new faces and I’ve also been faced with many a hard goodbye, which are all as heart-breaking as the next. Seeing cases of cruelty that I will never understand doesn’t just upset me, it angers me as to why or how some people think it’s acceptable!
“I love that we are given the chance to rescue animals, to give them the life they deserve, watching them get their fight back when they have very nearly lost it.
“Rescuing animals is what I/we live for. It’s such an amazing feeling when they are back on their feet, living their lives without a care in the world, knowing they are safe, healthy and have a forever home. You don’t get better job satisfaction than that.
“It’s not always easy here at the sanctuary but believe me it is always rewarding, shutting that gate of an evening knowing those 600 animals are warm, safe and have a loving home, knowing we have made a difference to their lives. This is more than a job to me, it’s part of my life and I love it, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
“I love all the animals, and there are a few which I have a soft spot for, particularly my Larry. I remember him brought in as a teeny, little lamb. Now he’s a big strapping boy who still loves a chest rub and loves human company. Gorgeous George the pig is a real gent, he only has to hear a voice and he’s out to see what goodies you’ve got for him. Fergus was a real sorry state when Jan and I went to pick him up. A young lamb covered in maggots, sores and very bad feet. We brought him back to full health, so to see him everyday living his best life is the best! My list could go on!”
“Almost before I could talk, my passion for animal welfare led me to pursue a career as a Vet. Aged 14, I began volunteering at The Farm Animal Sanctuary, while it was still based in Bromsgrove. When the Sanctuary moved to Evesham I followed, and continued to volunteer each Saturday, until I went to Veterinary College in 2000. Qualifying from the Royal Veterinary College in 2005, I went to work in a mixed practice in Worcestershire and Warwickshire for 4 years. In 2009 I moved to MacArthur Barstow and Gibbs in Droitwich, pursuing my passion for Farm Veterinary Work.
“Janet and I had kept in touch during my time at University, and through my early career. It was an honour when she asked if I could come and do the veterinary work for the Sanctuary. Since then, I have become more involved with the committee, fundraising, and admin side of the charity’s work, becoming a Trustee in 2019.”
“Hi, I’m Connah! During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic I found myself furloughed, and having so much time on my hands, I began to think about what I really want to do with my career. I was never very good at school, having struggled with dyslexia. I found it much easier to learn hands-on rather than by reading and writing. I have always loved animals, and have a variety of pets at home, so when I heard that the sanctuary had a position available, I immediately got in touch. I felt welcome straight away and being surrounded by animals all day every day is like a dream come true. I have already learnt so much in a short time at the sanctuary. Every day is different and there is always something new to learn about.
“I love that we all work together to change animals’ lives for the better. It is so rewarding to see them thrive when they come from terrible circumstances.
“My favourite animal is Joe the sheep because he is very loving, he has beautiful kind eyes and he loves a cuddle and a rich tea biscuit. Closely followed by Cleo the cat, who loves nothing more than sitting on anyone’s shoulder having a fuss.”
“Hi! I’m Nicholas, I have finally found my calling here at the sanctuary! After a few years of working in different jobs I was really feeling that I hadn’t found a lifelong career. I began thinking about things that I really enjoy and could turn into a career – I love spending time in the outdoors and have an affinity for animals, having had a menagerie of rehomed animals when I was growing up!
“I grew up in the village so I have visited the sanctuary on many occasions, and when I heard of an opportunity to work here, I jumped at the chance. Since then, I haven’t looked back and I love every moment being here. I love being outdoors, keeping active, and most of all I love the animals.
“It’s very difficult to choose a favourite animal as they are all incredible, but if I had to choose one, I would say Lily the Shetland Pony. She always manages to make me smile no matter what, and she is always willing to have a cuddle.”
“My previous experience in animal rescue and rehoming was enjoyable and gratifying but was unrivalled to the more hands-on and rewarding work conducted at the Farm Animal Sanctuary.
“Since being employed at the farm, my understanding of animal husbandry and farming practices has developed, as well as my desire to avoid consuming the delightful characters I take care of.
“The job is especially enjoyable when we are actively able to make a change in an animal’s life, whether that be in the form of rehabilitation, increasing their comfort or simply keeping it out of the food chain. Additionally, it’s a pleasure to work in the great outdoors with likeminded people, doing something positive and worthwhile.
“The animals I love the most are those who express anthropomorphic characteristics, like Larry the sheep who is essentially a nosey and grumpy old man, and Freda the pig who just wants to eat and lie the sun all day.”
“I first came to The Farm Animal Sanctuary for a week of work experience in 2009 and felt at home straight away. I had fallen in love with all the animals and wanted to spend every minute at the farm, so I continued to volunteer whilst studying for my A Levels and degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare.
“In January 2015 a full time position became available and I knew it was the perfect job for me! Nothing is more rewarding than rescuing animals in need, watching them flourish and live out their lives with the dignity that they deserve.
“Everyone at the farm is part of my second family, humans and animals included! No day is ever the same here and there is always a new challenge, it’s certainly not always easy. I think the most difficult parts of the job are seeing the horrific cases of cruelty, and of course having to say goodbye to those we have loved and cared for. It never gets easier, but even on the darkest of days there are 600 happy faces to pick us up and help us carry on.
“And then there’s the best parts of the job, which for me is when the sun is shining, the fields are full of lush green grass, and the animals are all doing what they should be doing. Pigs wallowing, lambs bouncing around playing, elderly residents sleeping in the sunshine with full bellies, cows frolicking, chickens and turkeys sunbathing, and alpacas splashing in a paddling pool. And we can breathe and take a moment to enjoy the peaceful tranquillity of the sanctuary. For me this isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle choice, and I can’t imagine my life anywhere else but here.
“I can’t possibly choose one favourite animal so I’ll name a few…
Matilda the turkey – never in my wildest dreams did I expect to bond with a turkey the way I have bonded with Matilda! She loves nothing more than to sit next to me or on my lap and have a cuddle. She chats away happily and loves to see everything that’s going on. She is the first one I talk to in the morning, and always says good morning back to me!
“Freda the pig – the sweetest natured pig, she loves nothing more than plonking herself on your feet and rolling over for a belly rub. She always has a lot to say and always has a beautiful smile on her face!
“The alpacas – I don’t know what it is about them but they are so endearing! I’ve always had a soft spot for the feisty characters and our alpacas can certainly be feisty, kicking and spitting should they feel the need (not very often thankfully!). Having them here has been a huge learning curve for us as they are different to any of our other animals in so many ways, but I have loved learning about them and getting to know them all individually. The fact that they smell like popcorn is a bonus too!”