Monday, April 11, 2011

Animal Acres

Animal Acres is a wonderful animal sanctuary situated on a 26 acre hacienda ranch in Acton. a mountainous region about 45 minutes from Hollywood. There they rescue farmed animals and run a learning centre for their protection.

In March my daughter- a dedicated animal lover and Vegan- decided to celebrate her birthday there, making it a happy outing for her friends and their children. The farm caters for birthdays, providing a vegan birthday cake (and allowing you to bring your own vegan food) and including a two hour "meet the animals" tour of the farm, invaluable for both City children and adults.

Arriving, you are aware of the surrounding mountains in this peaceful (apart from animal noises!) setting:

And here Violet, my Granddaughter, arrives for a new experience:

You are met at the gates by a lot of pushy goats (as well as very friendly, welcoming staff) and soon find yourself surrounded by apparently hundreds of poultry, including turkeys who look as if they are animatronic, alien beasts from a sci-fi movie. What I really appreciated was knowing that these birds were not lying-in-wait to be roasted for Thanksgiving or Christmas...

Hungry, we ate right away from tables set out in the Rose Garden accompanied by this noisy, equally hungry, collection of birds- hens, geese, ducks and, of course, turkeys:

Unsurprisingly, some of the children- and adults too!- were intimidated by these pecking, scavenging birds, this goose in particular:

After lunch it was the birds' time to be fed and the children were encouraged to feed them lettuce by hand, under supervision:

Now it was time for the tour, led by Cameron- one of the team who was excellent with the children. First he led us to the cattle. Before entering the field he pointed out this very fierce looking bull on the far side, saying we should be prepared to make a fast exit if he approached!

Sure enough, he DID start to move in our direction, so we didn't spend too long stroking the cows there....

Needless to say, the donkeys were very popular and it was lovely to watch the children's faces as they made physical contact with them:

Pig time next:

Here we were warned to be cautious not to alarm these very large beasts. So we all stood back while Cameron supervised the semi-slumbering sow being given "belly-rubs". Again, it was a delight to see the children's expressions:

After this we wound our way to the Goat section. Personally, I have always been a bit wary of goats (inspite of being a Capricorn!) as I have known some pretty vicious ones in my life- but apart from a bit of butting these were all civilized- and some undeniably cute!

Now it was wind-down time:

Having seen quite enough animals today, how about just getting into a hole in the ground?

I have not mentioned all the animals we were introduced to, just the more memorable ones. What I have not told is the many horror tales we were told of some of the animals' previous lives before they were rescued by these amazing, dedicated people.

Post Script:

Before leaving I took some time out to look at the collection of photos displayed showing famous people who were Vegetarians: Tolstoy, Thoreau, Gandhi, Alice Walker, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Schweitzer, Albert Einstein, Bernard Shaw...surely these are all people worth listening to?! They all had great quotes attached to them- I will just show two:

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