An insight into the FRIEND farm volunteer day

We want to help animals but apart from signing petitions and choosing a more ethical lifestyle, we don’t know what to do. Both of these things are valuable but sometimes we just need something more physical. Sometimes we just want to spend some time with animals and feel that helping animals makes sense. I spent a day like this at the FRIEND Farm Animal Sanctuary in Tonbride, South east UK.

” Our mission is to offer sanctuary to unwanted, neglected and abused animals, while educating about animals, veganism and ecological sustainability. We hope to contribute to a world in which humans and animals can live in a mutually sustained environment through practices like vegan organic permaculture farming systems. “

  • Everyone is welcome to join the volunteer day but remember that the sanctuary is vegan and people often bring in food to share. Please don’t bring meat with you. Even if you eat meat, I’m sure you can last a day without it.
  • The farm rescues animals but does not breed them. All their animals are neutered.
  • FRIEND is a no kill farm. All their animals live long and happy lives.
    Rosie – the oldest cow is 20 years old!

Dave friend farm

Dave the goat

Meeting Dave, the most sociable goat on the farm, showed me that goats are charismatic, playful, affectionate, smart and can be temperamental. Dave only let me touch him when I scratched his back specifically on the spot he pointed out to me with his horns. When I touched him elsewhere, he walked off in a “how many times do I have to show you” kind of way.

Apart from meeting adult goats, the sanctuary has just adopted 4 white baby goats from a dairy farm that was closing down. They were only supposed to take 2 due to lack of space but ended up with 4. What can I say, they have big hearts.

baby goat friend farm

See them grow

Seeing how big pigs can grow when allowed to live as long as they possibly can is wonderful. At FRIEND, they can lay in the sun, chill in the straw and spend time with their fellow pigs. Seeing how they behave towards each other and form relations is just amazing. Everyone should spend a day like this with animals to realize that their behavior is similar to ours.

pig friend farm

Affectionate turkeys

Have you seen the video of chickens and turkeys hugging children? Turkeys at FRIEND are just as affectionate. We referred to some of the volunteers as turkey whisperers because the birds would gather around them and literally hide in their arms.

turkey friend farm

turkey hug friend farm
Now that’s a hug.
You don’t have to be known worldwide to inspire others to do good.

When your energy is so calm, that even animals do not show a single sign of fear of getting near you, that’s hugely impressive and motivational to me. That’s what I call an inspiration.

Chicken friend farm
I shared my apple with a chicken. It was great.

Several people that volunteered at the same time as me are vegan activists. They attend events such as cubes of truth or “Meat the victims”.

Meeting them allowed me to understand how difficult activism can be mentally. Fighting with animal abuse every day. By going in to slaughter houses, getting that real life footage of mistreatment of animals, talking to people on the streets about veganism and the meat industry, activists expose themselves to all kinds of negative emotions. After putting themselves in situations that cause stress, anger and sadness, they often come home to read shaming articles about vegan activists because.. well… society doesn’t like vegans.  Yet they keep on fighting. Because animals are worth it.

alpaca friend farm

Personally I can rarely stay calm when talking about veganism to people face to face. It can be tough emotionally but people like vegan activists motivate and inspire. If they can get through all difficulties from the society, so can I.

sheep friend farm

How you can help

There are a couple of ways you can help FRIEND either financially or physically.

  • Volunteer – Volunteer days are ran every month, once during the week and once during the weekend. They are always announced on the London Vegan Actions FB page.
  • If you have more time to spare you can talk to them and turn up regularly.  Help is always needed with feeding, general cleaning or expansion of the farm.
  • The farm has exceeded it’s capacity. If you have building materials that you can donate, they will be used for expansion.
  • You can also donate things like bedding, hay, straw, fruit and vegetables for the animals or farming tools.
  • If you do have some money to spare, you can become the farm’s Patreon or make a donation on their GO fund me page.