Mike Lanigan isn’t your typical cattle farmer.
He comes from a long line of ranchers, but he’s the first to convert quit sending his cows to slaughter and instead, keep them to live our their days at his farm sanctuary.
Now, Farmhouse Garden Animal Home, is being hailed as Canadian first, made possible in large measure by a crowd funding initiative dreamed up with the help of a cashier from his local produce market. With the help of Edith Barabash, Lanigan has made his epiphany a reality.
Or, as the sanctuary’s Facebook page notes:
“Multi-generational organic farmer and cattle rancher Mike Lanigan was looking over at his cows one day and had a change of heart: he no longer wanted to send them off to slaughter. Instead, he is now working to convert this cattle farm into a safe haven for the animals within it.”
It was an encounter soon after the birth of one young calf, tagged 5Z, that triggered that change of heart. The thought of lovingly raising the wee thing only to be turn into meat was just too much to bear.
“Every time a big bill comes in, somebody has to die,” he explains in a video put together by Barabash.
The animals that already live on his 100-acres farm north of Uxbridge, Ontario won’t be bred. The farm is home to horses, ducks and a donkey named Buckwheat.
They quickly reached an initial fundraising goal of $6,000.
“The amount of love our animal residents have received is just overwhelming, and we are so grateful,” Lanigan and his team recently wrote to supporters. “This money will be put on reserve for the coming winter months when we may need more feed, maintenance, or potential vet bills!”
But they’re in this for the long haul.
“We would also love to have the opportunity to rescue other farm animals who need a loving home, and your contributions will ensure that we can provide everything that these animals need,” Farmhouse Garden says.
The cattle, by the way, are still being put to work. Well, their manure is. It’s being used as fertilizer to grow Lanigan’s organic vegetables.