My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Gentle Barn Foundation, Tarzana, CA, USA
As animal advocates and educated individuals, it is our responsibility to vet the organizations we support. It is our responsibility to hold them accountable to the highest standards – for the good of both the animals in their care and the overall health of the animal rescue community. We must question everything we read and everything we are told and not allow ourselves to fall victim to emotionally manipulative stories and photographs. And we must never, EVER allow the truth to be manipulated in any way. For all the animals we have ever loved, for all the animals who have made it to sanctuary and, most of all, for the millions and millions who NEVER WILL, we must endlessly seek the truth in every situation and live by our highest ethics.
If you are not allowed to ask questions, something is probably wrong. If the dates don't add up and the math doesn't work, something is probably wrong. If you're involved with an organization where you are not sure where the money is going, or where animal care seems negligent in any way, if that little nagging voice in your head starts saying something seems wrong...you are probably very right.
In April 2012 a popular animal sanctuary in Santa Clarita, California took in many severely abused animals from local authorities following an investigation of a now convicted backyard butcher. As quoted by the sanctuary's founder at the time of rescue, the animals were "...emaciated, malnourished, scared to death, they have infections, open sores, are infested with parasites, their eyes are infected causing blindness, their noses are runny and they have hacking coughs. They have high fevers..."
Over the past few weeks this sanctuary has been announcing births from some of the sheep rescued in last year's operation. This may bring joy to your hearts, as a lamb born into the safety of sanctuary is always wonderful news, but if you take a moment to research the gestation period of sheep, that joy may not be long-lasting. The gestation period for sheep is 145 days.
These sheep were rescued in April 2012 and started giving birth in January of 2013, which means they were impregnated six months after being brought to sanctuary.
Either this sanctuary is grossly unskilled at detecting the differences between male and female genitalia and, as a result of this ignorance, were not able to separate them at the time of rescue, or they simply allowed these sick and terrified animals to breed.
Evidence of neglect in basic understanding of reproduction and healthcare, or blatant breeding of rescued sheep should bring us all pause.
UPDATE 2/18/13: The sanctuary in question has responded to inquiries about the birth of the lambs with the following (names redacted):
"(......) policy is to never breed, if we have room for more animals we want to rescue them, not make them. When we rescued the animals from the backyard butcher, (......) was a tiny baby and when he was a couple of months old it was time to neuter him but he was very sick and the vet said we needed to wait to he could get stronger. we were going to separate him from the others but the vet assured us that he was too young to do anything. We neutered him when he was only 4 months old, but apparently he did do something. The babies that he has created will live in peace at (......) with their moms for the rest of their lives and the one male that was born will absolutely be neutered at 8 weeks!"
If this lamb was "tiny" at rescue in April and was neutered at four months of age, his surgery would have been in July. The sheep who have been giving birth over the last few weeks were impregnated in September - two months after they claim the lamb was neutered.
It is vital to question and verify everything, especially when the innocent are at risk of neglect or exploitation.
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