November 17, 2019

Farmer takes his lambs to sanctuary instead of slaughterhouse


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by Susan Bird from Care2

A livestock farmer in the UK made a life-changing decision for 20 lambs he’d raised since birth. As he drove them to the local slaughterhouse to meet their fate, he realized he couldn’t go through with it.

Sivalingam Vasanthakumar changed his mind. He decided that the money he was getting for those lambs was poor compensation for those innocent little lives. Vasanthakumar changed his destination and drove the lambs 200 miles to Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries in Kidderminster, Worcestershire.

“The main reason was because I didn’t like them being killed,” he told The Independent. “It was a very emotional time, I would have to watch all the animals I raised be lined up for slaughter.”

Vasanthakumar, 60, from from Totnes, Devon, was a livestock farmer for 47 years – beginning in on his parents’ dairy farm. Raising animals for slaughter was nothing new to him — and that was the problem.

“I’ve always taken my animals to slaughter and killed the pork myself, I’m not ignorant to how farming works but it always made me stressed,” he told The Independent. “It would stress the animals out too, they knew their fate.”

After arriving at the slaughterhouse, Vasanthakumar often had to get into the back of the transport truck and physically force the animals to offload. He’s convinced they knew where they were and why they were there.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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“They would try to hide in the back of the trailer and wouldn’t want to come out. I would have to push them out, it was very stressful for me and the animals,” Vasanthakumar said.

There wasn’t anything special about this particular group of lambs, according to Vasanthakumar. After years of sending animals to their deaths, he’d just reached his breaking point and had to stop.

“It’s been difficult for me for many years and having always worked on farms this has been in the back of my mind,” he told The Independent. “For the last three months I was getting a batch ready to go and I decided I couldn’t do it anymore.”

It wasn’t just the lambs whose lives changed that day that Vasanthakumar decided to drive to a sanctuary instead of an abattoir. Vasanthakumar made some personal changes as well. He decided to change the way he eats and the way he makes money.

Vasanthakumar says he is now a vegetarian. He once ate lambs, but no longer will. Vasanthakumar doesn’t raise animals for slaughter anymore, either. Instead, he plans to be a vegetable farmer and sell cooked Indian meals at a street market in Totnes.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Photo credit: Getty Images

More and more, we’re hearing stories of animal farmers who decided what they were doing is unacceptable. From ex-pig farmers like Bob Comis to former cattlemen likeHoward Lyman, it’s refreshing to know that people in this line of work do have a conscience.

It may take years to manifest, but more and more animal farmers are revealing the horrors of their professions to the outside world. Where once they were the enemies of animals, today they’re doing them a great service.

These farmers are pulling back the curtain and exposing a horrific industry to public view. It’s now time for those of us who care about the welfare and rights of farmed animals to take the next steps.

Advocate for animals. Do everything you can to advance the idea that plant-based eating — not consumption of meat or other animal products — must be our shared future.

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