The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

My Visit to Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary

Posted on July 16, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Ivy Grob

I’ve been an environmentalist my whole life, and when I became a vegan, it was for the environmental reasons. It look me a while to make the connection that all animals, including the ones typically eaten, are also part of this environment that I’ve made my life mission to protect. Animal rights were never important to me until this stage of my life, something I cannot fathom since I grew up surrounded by animals and the wildlife of coastal Northern Florida. Veganism has taught me to extend my love to animals beyond cats and dogs, and to see all creatures as worthy of respect and care. So when I heard there was a farm animal sanctuary just outside of Baltimore called Poplar Spring, I knew I had to go.

As I drove through the beautiful, lush Maryland countryside, my excitement grew and grew. I was finally going to be able to check going to an animal sanctuary off of my vegan wish list. The moment I stepped out of the car I knew I was in a special place. There was a welcoming cow hanging out at the entrance to the driveway and a flock of geese and ducks waddling across the road towards the pond. The vegan bumper stickers on all the other cars served as a good indicator that I was going to be among like-minded, passionate people. I arranged ahead of time to volunteer, so I headed over to the sheep barn to meet the co-director, Terry, and I got to work. Throughout the morning I helped clean up animal pins and fields, with plenty of breaks to stop and admire the animals.

At noon, the tour began and I was able to learn more about the story of Poplar Spring. This animal sanctuary is located in Poolesville, Maryland and is home to over 200 rescued animals on over 400 acres of land. They are able to operate solely from public donations and do not rely on any other assistance. The animals that they care for come from abused and abandoned situations, and they are brought to Poplar Spring to be rehabilitated and to live out the rest of their lives in peace and comfort. I was able to experience the care Poplar Spring gives to their animals firsthand. During the tour we visited pigs, chickens, turkeys, horses, cows, goats, sheep, and even had the privilege of seeing the peacock up close and personal. To the owners of Poplar Spring, every animal is a family member and they know each one by name.

My favorite part of the day was feeding bananas to the pigs and rubbing the backs of cows as they stare back at you in wonder. I was filled with amazement at the stories we were told about what some of the animals have gone through, and it made me glad that I am able to live a lifestyle that promotes non-violence. If you live in the Baltimore or Washington, DC area, or ever find yourself passing through Maryland, I highly suggest a visit to Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary. If you are able, you can donate while on the farm or through their website, where you can also find out how to sponsor an animal. If you are unable to do either of these things, you can still help animals everywhere by choosing compassion every single day. Veganism is compassion.

Ivy wrote this piece while doing an internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group.

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