The Broken Shovels Story
In 2009, I embarked on a journey during a remodeling closure of the library where I worked. A 20 year vegetarian, I was curious as to how the small dairy industry operated and took on dairy industry internships that would carry me through the year-long closure. In doing so, I uncovered astonishing abuse and systems of power and exploitation that shocked me to my core.
That year turned into 3 years, and I stayed on as an intern in desperate need to protect the animals that had become my companions and family as best I could. Eventually leaving, unable to witness anymore, I fled with 24 birds and 16 slaughter-bound goats from the dairy and returned to Denver to make a home for my human and non-human family.
Creating a Home for Animals in Need
I had an idea that I could both expose and change the industry by producing dairy products free from the things that had horrified me; slaughter, artificial insemination, separation of mother and child, breakup of families and lack of responsible vet care, costs weighed not by the prognosis of the individual suffering but the cost-effectiveness of what the sufferer could repay.
I opened a slaughter-free dairy and took out all of the things I found morally reprehensible about the industry in which I had worked. I was successful in showing the ills of the dairy industry to many of my followers and customers, and marginally successful, financially, enough so to begin taking in other species of abused/neglected/slaughterbound farm animals.
Spreading the Influence of Kindness
Within the first couple years, there were many enlightening moments that drew me further and further from a dairy and found many cracks in my ideas that I could change the industry from within. Having a clearer view of long-termed relationships and animal families, it was no longer a satisfactory answer to breed goats to produce milk and eventually rehome their children, even into pet homes, and feel that I was doing my best good. More research into the environmental impact of animal agriculture and its effect on world hunger led me to veganism. In 2014, my staff and I went vegan and began to immerse ourselves in vegan philosophy.
Realizing that running a dairy of any kind was no longer within the scope of my ethics nor compatible with being a farm animal sanctuary, we have closed the dairy and working on The Sanctuary School, a non-violence, practical life, outdoor education based school for 3 to 5 year olds in its place, to truly spread our greatest influence of kindness to human and non-human people.