After a series of careers that exploit animals including testing at a pharmaceutical lab and working at a marine park with captive dolphins, Cheri Ezell-Vandersluis met her husband, Jim working as a goat milk farmer.
Although they were humane and loving to their animals, the couple agonized over what became of the kids (baby goats) they were unable to keep.
Finally their consciences could take no more, and the Vandersluises made a major life change. They converted their profitable goat milk business into a safe haven for rescued farm animals.
22 years later, Maple Farm Sanctuary is home to approximately 100 rescued farm animals. The website describes their facility as a "safe and loving refuge for farmed animals. They live the remainder of their lives in peace, free to roam and meander the land."
To date, a fraction of the billions of farmed animals that are bought, sold, tormented and slaughtered by the meat, dairy and fur industries have found a safe haven on 120 acres of beautiful Massachusetts farmland and wildlife habitat.
Each animal has his or her own story. Some were part of the farm previously run by Jim and Cheri, the rest have been rescued from various situations of abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
There's Gwen the turkey, believed to have escaped from a poultry farm. She was found by a hunter after a suspected coyote attack and brought to Maple Farm. Despite her past, Gwen is a sociable and curious bird that enjoys greeting sanctuary guests.
Pete, the one-horned Jersey cow with “eyebrows that resemble a clown face," was a neglected and malnourished family pet left out in the cold with inadequate shelter.
And then there's Piggy Smalls, a Vietnamese potbellied pig originally purchased as a pet "teacup" pig. The owners were told he would stay under 50 pounds, but within a year he had already grown to 100 pounds and the family could no longer care for him.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Maple Farm Sanctuary is not accepting their usual springtime visitors, but you can still help their mission by sponsoring one of the rescued farm animals with a monthly or annual donation!
Choose your favorite furry friend to sponsor. Boo Boo the cow, Milkweed the llama, Harriet the sheep, and all their friends need your help to continue living their best lives!
When things go back to normal after quarantine, you can also become a Maple Farm Sanctuary volunteer, and hang out with these fabulous animals all the time!