If you follow pattrice’s blog, Superweed, or the sanctuary blog you already know that Eastern Shore Sanctuary & Education Center is moving to Vermont. If you don’t follow either blog, well, now you know!
Be careful what you wish for. Now we’re in the sticky situation where local authorities want to rescue roosters, but sanctuaries have no room for them. And so, in part to be able to rescue more roosters (but also to free me from the unhealthy rural isolation in which I’ve been living alone for the past couple of years), sanctuary cofounder Miriam Jones will be taking over and relocating the sanctuary side of the Eastern Shore Sanctuary & Education to a larger property. (Get the 411 on the move here.)
Me, I’ll be helping the birds to move and get settled into their new location. (The move is in mid-June and I will stay with them at the new place through July.) Then I’ll be moving on to Minneapolis, the virtues of which I’ve been singing here for some time. I’ll continue to work on the “Education Center” side of the organization and to visit the sanctuary frequently.
When pattrice explained some of the reasons for the move, plus some of the impact they hope to have in the new location that they have chosen, it made me smile. When Miriam and pattrice founded the sanctuary, they had a purpose in mind (in addition to the obvious one, of saving chickens and giving them sanctuary), to help people to connect feminist issues and animal rights issues. We need this kind of intersecting approach, more of it anyway. The chicken industry, specifically the egg-laying industry, was an obvious starting point for a sanctuary located in the heart of chickenland.
The new location will be not far from an egg laying facility, but it will also be in dairy country, which gives them just that much more opportunity in helping people make these intersecting connections.
There are no farmed animal sanctuaries in Vermont. Vermont is adjacent to Maine, home of the infamous DeCoster egg facilities. Furthermore, Vermont is dairy country, with 33 factory farms crowded into a small state. In recent years, we have come to see dairy — like eggs — as a feminist issue that might be productively approached from the perspective of the intersection of oppressions. This new location will allow us to, over time, expand our focus to include dairy-related activism and perhaps even the rescue of a small number of cows.
Though I only got out to Eastern Shore a few times a year, I will miss having them in driving distance. I’m making sure to get out there next weekend to help them as they prepare to move.
I admit I’m also really looking forward to seeing those 8 rehabilitated fighting roosters again. I’m excited to see them integrated into the flock. I need to see them, in a way that is hard to explain.
There’s some saying in some culture that if you save someone’s life, you are responsible for them forevermore. That sounds odd, right up until you’ve taken part, even a small part, in saving someone’s life. And then you understand.
So next Sunday I’ll head out to the Eastern Shore for the last time, and I’ll get to see “my” roosters. And all the other birds. I’ll hear the constant conversations, the back and forth between the chickens and the flocks of wild birds in the trees. I’ll put in as much help as we can cram into a day, and I’ll wish I could do more.
I wish you could all join me.