A fellow vegan and his animals-Your Thoughts Needed

Please choose from the scenarios provided below

  • 1. Sell eggs

    Votes: 1 25.0%
  • 2. Sell y products

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3. Sell Livestock as pets

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 4. Sell honey

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 5. Fruit and veg

    Votes: 1 25.0%
  • 6. No animals products, turn into petting zoo and sell vegan produce

    Votes: 2 50.0%
  • 7. all of the above

    Votes: 2 50.0%

  • Total voters
    4

ethicalvegan

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Soooooo, this is going to be controversial but I'm sharing with the intention to gain advise and clarity, not judgments or BS... Please keep it clean.

I've been a fierce vegan for about 9 years now. Strangely though, I've never had any vegan friends, never joined a vegan community and all my friends, colleagues and family members heavily consume animal products. When I first became a vegan, I vowed that one day I'd buy land, then buy some animals from farmers and slaughterhouses and set them free on the land and leave them to their own devices in total freedom without and away from human interference. Fast forward 8 years, in March 2021, I bought a plot of land. I am self-employed and work remotely; all I need is a phone, laptop, and internet connection. This has allowed me to work on the land - whilst still earning an income - to prepare it for the animals’ arrival.

Since I've started this, I have acquired far more knowledge and experience with and about animals than I have ever had in my entire life. I have discovered that domesticated animals are heavily reliant on humans, to care for and nurture them and in some instances, they would die without human intervention, whether it may be medical or physical support. Domesticated animals such as sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, alpacas, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and ducks (all of which I own) can’t be left alone like other wild animals. For instance, something as basic as worms, lice, mites, and other parasites can have detrimental effect on animals’ wellbeing and if left untreated, it may result in the death of the animal. Another example would be giving birth, animals like cows and pigmy goats just to name a couple, can significantly benefit from human support and interference when giving birth. So I’ve come to realise that these animals are/ have become heavily dependent on humans and can’t be left to their own devices. Thus my original view on them has changed from "animals should just be left alone" to "they should be looked after".

However, taking care, feeding, and medically treating these animals takes time and can be very expensive. In my case for example, the land, machinery, fencing, shelters, labour and the animals themselves have so far cost me in excess of £120K...and an entire year of my life.

That being said, whilst juggling and dealing with all the difficulties and responsibilities that come with any building project, management and care for the animals, my other business, and friends and family, I was nearly finished with the works on the farm, until storm Eunice on 18th Feb, completely ripped through the animal shelters fencing causing severe damage to the farm . Thankfully all animals were unharmed, but they are still without shelter as I haven't been able to salvage and put back together any of the shelters yet. With the weather getting a little warmer, the animals don’t necessarily require a shelter for now, however, this will not be sustainable in the long run and shelters will need to be erected and ready for winter.

Since the storm damaged the farm, I feel extremely overwhelmed and demotivated, as I am really overwhelmed, irritated, and fed up with the constant setbacks. I only wanted to help some animals, save them from slaughter and give them the gift of freedom. But the whole thing has for an entire year, drained me energetically, emotionally, mentally and financially.

Being focused on the farm for an entire year has resulted in loss of business in my own line of work. Not only have I lost on potential business, having spent over £120K on this project is starting to really daunt me.

Most of my friends and family think I'm crazy for dedicating so much of my time and money to this cause. I am proud of what was achieved on the farm (before the storm), and extremely happy about saving some animals that would have undoubtably imprisoned or sold for meat and sent to slaughter, however, having spent so much money, and after an entire year of being on my own with this project, not seeing the family and most importantly my little boy as much - since the farm is in another city about 2.5 hours away - and now having to start again on building animal shelters, I’m finding my motivation levels drop daily, and my patience and tolerance levels to keep spending time and money near zero.

I currently have, 4 ponies, 12 goats, 4 sheep, 2 donkeys, 3 alpacas, about 90 chicks and chickens, 1 turkey, 15 ducks, lots of fruit trees and a few beehives. I have built a strong bond with them all so I couldn’t just stop now and end the whole thing, but I cannot find any support and just feel drained, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Afterall, I do have other responsibilities also and I cannot continue to chuck money at it.

I have shared and thoroughly discussed my dilemma with my non-vegan family, friends and colleagues (FFCs), almost all told me to stop immediately and sell all the animals. When faced with my fierce refusal, many suggested to at least make the farm generate an income and self-sufficient.

Some suggestions were made, and I now would like to share these suggestions with fellow vegans to get their opinion to make sure I stay on the right track and don’t end up making the wrong choice due to huge pressure I feel at present…

1. Sell eggs - during my time taking care of chickens turkeys, geese ducks etc. I've noticed that if their eggs are left alone, they'll either

a) rot after a certain time has passed

b) chickens themselves would eat them

C) get broken somehow

D) eggs that aren't fertile will go off and never turn into chicks even if a chicken sits on them...

So essentially, unless they are all fertile and a chicken sites on them all, they'll go to waste.. So when sharing this with FFCs they suggested selling the eggs to generate an income which would pay for their feed, medication and upkeep.

2. Sell wool - Animals like sheep and alpacas have to be sheared, for their own health and well-being. Once sheared, I dispose of the wool, but FFCs suggest making use of or sell the wool. The argument is that I'm not keeping animals for the purpose of exploitation. It’s a by-product that would be cut off one way or another and unless used would otherwise go to waste.

3. Sell Animals - This is a huge one. Being a fierce animal lover, I could never allow myself to castrate any of the animals. This means they’ll eventually mate; their numbers will increase, and it'll eventually become difficult and expensive to feed and keep them all in the same space. FFCs have understood that I’d never sell them for meat - obviously - but they suggest selling them to fellow vegans as pets. This is because when we go out for a walk with my animals, especially little pigmy goats, a lot of people (some vegans) want to adopt and buy. I’m not entirely comfortable with this, I could never allow myself to separate mums from babies regardless of age, so not sure how this would work.

4. Sell honey - there are lots of evidence to suggest that removing a little honey from beehives is good for them and lots of evidence arguing against the idea. A close friend of mine is the founder of an organisation that breeds bees and he suggests its good for the bees - for various reasons which are too long to go into here - but in an ethical manner that supports the Bees and not harm/ starve them.

5. Sell Fruit and vegetables.

6. Sell no animal products, only fruits and veg and vegan produce, but turn the farm into a petting zoo, open it to public and schools etc. and charge a small fee per person. Whilst this if my favourite option, the council is not likely to allow this as it requires a change of use of the land. We could persist but would require planning agents and solicitors to put through applications and ensure compliance which can be very costly, but sadly and I cannot afford this at this stage.

I welcome your opinions...
 

David3

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Hi ethical vegan,

What if there were already another well-established, well-funded farm sanctuary near you? Would you consider giving the animals to them, possibly along with a one-time money donation to help support the sanctuary?

Such farm sanctuaries already exist in the UK. They already have the land, buildings, volunteers, medical staff, and money. I would strongly suggest that you contact them.

 
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ethicalvegan

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Hi ethical vegan,

What if there were already another well-established, well-funded farm sanctuary near you? Would you consider giving the animals to them, possibly along with a one-time money donation to help support the sanctuary?

Such farm sanctuaries already exist in the UK. They already have the land, buildings, volunteers, medical staff, and money. I would strongly suggest that you contact them.

Hi bud,
I suppose that would be an option.. but
1) its unlikely that id find a sanctuary that would take all animals, and it'll mean that I'd have to find multiple sanctuaries to see if they'd adopt
2) even if I was to bottle up the emotional pain that would result due to losing the animals, not sure how my son would feel as he loves the farm
3) it'd mean that I had wasted an entire year of my life
4) provided I can sell the land and machinery, I would loose over £60,000 of material that cant be salvaged and labour costs
 

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Hi bud,
I suppose that would be an option.. but
1) its unlikely that id find a sanctuary that would take all animals, and it'll mean that I'd have to find multiple sanctuaries to see if they'd adopt
2) even if I was to bottle up the emotional pain that would result due to losing the animals, not sure how my son would feel as he loves the farm
3) it'd mean that I had wasted an entire year of my life
4) provided I can sell the land and machinery, I would loose over £60,000 of material that cant be salvaged and labour costs
Re: #1: It's worth to check around (via emails and phone calls) to see which sanctuaries would be able to take the animals.

Re: #2: You have said multiple times that this endeavor is draining you psychologically and financially. Yes, it will be difficult to lose the animals, but it's like grief. It will pass in time. And if you and your son need professional help to deal with it, that will be far less expensive than what you have already spent.

Re: #3: You absolutely did not waste an entire year of your life! You learned a ton and you saved quite a few animals from needless death. A commendable effort.

Re: #4: Yes, you would have losses, but land is usually valuable. You may get more than you think.
 

David3

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ethicalvegan,

Please remember that the principal goal of your sanctuary is to care for those animals. That being true, please consider letting other farm sanctuaries care for the animals instead. If you want to, you can always visit your animal friends at those sanctuaries.

You have said that the demands of your sanctuary are preventing you from spending more time with your son. Please remember that any farm sanctuary can care for your animals, but you must be the one who cares for your son.
 

David3

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ethicalvegan,

I don't think that selling the eggs, wool etc. would do much to offset your costs.

The wholesale price for wool and mohair is perhaps $5 USD per pound: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_EPAS_Reports/woolmohair042622.pdf . One sheep can produce, at most, 30 pounds of wool per year: Sheep 101: Wool production . You have 4 sheep. That is $600 USD per year - almost nothing.

Similarly, even the highly-bred chickens only produce about 300 eggs per year: Facts & Stats - United Egg Producers. That works out to 90 chickens x 300 eggs = 27,000 eggs per year, but the price paid for organic eggs is only perhaps $4 per dozen ($0.33 USD each): https://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/pyworganic.pdf. This works out to 27,000 eggs x $0.33 USD = $9,000 USD per year. That is not enough to significantly offset your costs.

What is this really about?
 

Tom L.

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Hi, @ethicalvegan -

Since the unfertilized eggs and wool that your animals produce anyway are presently going to waste, and the money you would get from this would help pay for your animals' keep, I think selling these (or garments you made from the wool) would be acceptable. I think some vegans who have rescued chickens advocate that the eggs can be fed back to the chickens- they say this replenishes some of the nutrients the chickens lose from laying eggs. I know almost nothing about chicken care, so I don't know.

I see how selling any of your animals is unacceptable to you. However, I don't know what to suggest when you mention you cannot sterilize (castrate) any of your animals. Animals normally have a very strong urge to breed, because if they didn't, predators would wipe them out. Your animals are safe from predators now- but their innate drive to reproduce is still there. If you have both sexes, they will reproduce; it's not their fault- evolution has made them this way. Most "farm animal" veterinarians probably don't love the animals they treat any more than ranchers or slaughterhouse workers do, but you'll have to find one who does or your herd and flocks will grow beyond your ability to provide for them. Or you'll have to keep the sexes separate (probably difficult, and maybe unreliable as well).

Making your sanctuary a sort of "zoo" and charging admission might be a good idea. You'd have to make sure your animals could not injure any visitors, of course.

Edited to add: I should mention that I'm not fully vegan: I use leather shoes and sometimes buy nonvegan baked goods which are at their last date of sale and will be thrown out, so long as they are still perfectly edible. However, this still makes me non-vegan.

ARGH- I knew I forgot something. I know little about beekeeping, but I think that when you take some of the honey (even making sure you leave enough for the bees), it's hard to avoid squashing a few when you take out and replace one of the supers.

Edited to add (again!): @David3 mentions, above, that the sale of eggs and wool from your animals would not get you enough money to appreciably offset your costs of caring for your animals. However... perhaps people buying your eggs, etc would otherwise have purchased from operations which don't provide NEARLY as good care for their animals as yours get.
 
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silva

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Strongly suggest looking into farm sanctuaries and trying to recoup your losses
Many good hearted people take in stray animals without having them neutered and the suffering that comes from increasing population is horrific.
These animals are victims, they were never meant to have the traits they do from selective breeding, they were never meant to be domestic animals. They're in a place of limbo. Why would you allow this to continue?
I would choose none of the above. While I understand the production of eggs, or wool,is not from an bad place, it certainly perpetuates the whole idea of "ethically sourced", or "humane and cage free". How could you possibly ever argue against others who use those terms in there business? How would anyone take your position seriously?
The profits would not be enough to make a difference anyway

You bit off far more than you were capable or prepared for, and without cutting your losses now it is only going to get incrementally worse.

First off, get these animals fixed, for there own benefit!
 
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First of all, kudos for what you have done and achieved so far. Very few people will have the energy and zeal to put in so much effort.

I agree with a lot of what had been said already. Neutering is the lesser of two evils, and the animals will recover and become their own self again relatively soon after the procedure - at least this seems to be the case in my admittedly limited experience with dogs. Whereas if you don't neuter, the result is more suffering, both for the animals and for yourself. It's not a sustainable solution.

I also wanted to say that if you manage to make an agreement with other sanctuaries to take the animals, then you may be able to volunteer with those sanctuaries. That way you may be able to see at least some of your animals on a daily basis even if they don't live on your own farm/land any more.

And yes, realistically, you probably won't find one single sanctuary that can take all your animals. You're probably going to have to send them to a couple of different sanctuaries.
 

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You say that vegans ask about buying the animals—so I'm guessing that you know something about who in the area is vegan. If so, you can market the unused eggs, wool, etc. specifically to vegans to avoid promoting animal consumption. Hopefully the vegans will appreciate that the funds are for continuing the sanctuary and not primarily for personal profit. Hopefully they will appreciate that the items are exploitation-free. They may not be interested in eggs themselves but might buy them for friends/family who are not vegan and would otherwise purchase typical animal products. I would try to sell these items for more than they typically sell for. Even if you know only a few vegans, you can network with them to find others who might be interested buyers.

You can do the same if you decide to sell some of the animals. Prioritize selling one sex or the other so you'll have less risk of reproduction if you decide to keep the sanctuary going.

I agree that reaching out to other sanctuaries is a great idea.
 
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ethicalvegan

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ethicalvegan,

I don't think that selling the eggs, wool etc. would do much to offset your costs.

The wholesale price for wool and mohair is perhaps $5 USD per pound: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_EPAS_Reports/woolmohair042622.pdf . One sheep can produce, at most, 30 pounds of wool per year: Sheep 101: Wool production . You have 4 sheep. That is $600 USD per year - almost nothing.

Similarly, even the highly-bred chickens only produce about 300 eggs per year: Facts & Stats - United Egg Producers. That works out to 90 chickens x 300 eggs = 27,000 eggs per year, but the price paid for organic eggs is only perhaps $4 per dozen ($0.33 USD each): https://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/pyworganic.pdf. This works out to 27,000 eggs x $0.33 USD = $9,000 USD per year. That is not enough to significantly offset your costs.

What is this really about?
if what you say is accurate then it means in first year:
Eggs: 9K per year
Honey, wax and pollen: 30K
Fruit & veg: 15K per year
Without the sale of livestock £51K per year should pay for food, medication and upkeep of the farm. Having shared this on another vegan forum, I have been encouraged and thus decided to seek some financial and man power support in order to apply for permission to open the farm to public and schools. The revenue generated from this should be enough to cover ongoing costs plus take on more animals. Thank for your support.
 
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ethicalvegan

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I knew I forgot something. I know little about beekeeping, but I think that when you take some of the honey (even making sure you leave enough for the bees), it's hard to avoid squashing a few when you take out and replace one of the supers.
Thank you for your input, with regards to your comment about the bees, when using the mason jar design, there will be no need to disturb the bees and moves the supers for the purpose of honey collection.
 
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ethicalvegan

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Thank you all for your support.
I have invested a year of my life, lost on seeing family, potential earnings, and spent a lot of my hard earned money. I am not about to let it all go :joy::joy:

The way some of you speak is as if £120k is pocket money... well maybe to you, but not for me!! It'll also be an insult to my son, if in the end it was all for nothing.

My main concern with the income generation was how other vegans perceived me, I have decided not to consider the feelings of other vegans as the more important thing is ACTUALLY doing something for the animals, rather than what seems to be the main activity of most vegans these days: posting their cooking skills or judgmental messages on social media.

So I will seek financial support, and I will get volunteers involved to help finish the project asap. Then put planning applications through to open the farm to public. Doing so may mean there will be no need to sell any animals or animal produce. The entry fees and any potential donations may help with the upkeep of the farm.

With regards to the castration, I could never allow it.. PERIOD. So the solution would be to purchase more shelters and subsequently land to keep the boys separated from the girls, and perhaps allow mating in a controlled manor. But first things first, we will get this farm finished, then will come expansion plans.

Thanks again
EV
 

Tom L.

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Thank you all for your support.
I have invested a year of my life, lost on seeing family, potential earnings, and spent a lot of my hard earned money. I am not about to let it all go :joy::joy:

The way some of you speak is as if £120k is pocket money... well maybe to you, but not for me!! It'll also be an insult to my son, if in the end it was all for nothing.

My main concern with the income generation was how other vegans perceived me, I have decided not to consider the feelings of other vegans as the more important thing is ACTUALLY doing something for the animals, rather than what seems to be the main activity of most vegans these days: posting their cooking skills or judgmental messages on social media.

So I will seek financial support, and I will get volunteers involved to help finish the project asap. Then put planning applications through to open the farm to public. Doing so may mean there will be no need to sell any animals or animal produce. The entry fees and any potential donations may help with the upkeep of the farm.

With regards to the castration, I could never allow it.. PERIOD. So the solution would be to purchase more shelters and subsequently land to keep the boys separated from the girls, and perhaps allow mating in a controlled manor. But first things first, we will get this farm finished, then will come expansion plans.

Thanks again
EV
I hope it works out well for you, your family, and your animals. I find the sheer scope of your endeavor intimidating- but then, the most adoptees I've ever cared for at one time was 3 cats, 2 rabbits, and 5 gerbils (or, a few years later: 1 cat, 2 rabbits, and 5 goldfishes). I found even that to be awfully close to my personal limit- but some people can manage it. Still, it feels wonderful not to have to worry about anybody in my care anymore. (I still have family and friends whom I care about deeply- but I'm not responsible for them, and this is a HUGE weight off me.)
 
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ethicalvegan

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I hope it works out well for you, your family, and your animals. I find the sheer scope of your endeavor intimidating- but then, the most adoptees I've ever cared for at one time was 3 cats, 2 rabbits, and 5 gerbils (or, a few years later: 1 cat, 2 rabbits, and 5 goldfishes). I found even that to be awfully close to my personal limit- but some people can manage it. Still, it feels wonderful not to have to worry about anybody in my care anymore. (I still have family and friends whom I care about deeply- but I'm not responsible for them, and this is a HUGE weight off me.)
You're absolutely right. it is a massive responsibility and a huge weight on my shoulder. A decent farmers wage is about £33K anually. If if things go according to plan, then I'll be able to employ a local farmer to take care of the day to day needs :)
 
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Have you thought of giving tours to outsiders and asking for an admission fee?. You could teach children and
adults to respect animals and not eat them this way. Some sanctuaries have like an airbnb setup, where they allow
guests to pay per night (say $100 or $150 a night), work, get fed vegan meals, learn about animals. I do not know if
this would work for you....congrats on everything you have done so far even though its' a lot of time and money.