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June/July 2007
Editorial: Sanctuary Begins on Your Plate
By Catherine Clyne


Ophelia (left) and Lil’ Peep taking a breather in the shade.
Photo by Robin Henderson/Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

Constance and Ophelia
Lil’ Peep loves to run, always moving that spry little one. Ophelia is her pudgy friend and admirer. The two are inseparable.

Constance or “Lil’ Peep” was a mail-order broiler who found her way to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary at three weeks old. Ophelia was discovered dumped in the back of a Manhattan fire truck. She was so overweight when she arrived she could barely walk at all.

When Ophelia met Lil’ Peep, everything changed. Ophelia started following Lil’ Peep around. Now they go in and out of the yard, in and out of the farm house, checking on what founder Jenny Brown or animal caregiver Robin Henderson are up to, sprinting through the grass, or taking a breather in the shade. Since she arrived, Ophelia has shed several pounds and now keeps up with her buddy’s pace. It’s the Lil’ Peep weight-loss program.

The two curl up together at night to sleep. In the morning, they look for each other in the yard before darting off somewhere together, spending the day engaged in important best-friend business.

Some people like to think animals don’t communicate their needs or desires. But if we pay attention, they say all they need to. If given the chance to live, individuals like Constance and Ophelia will live their lives expressing who they are, and they will shine. Regal Ophelia will stand quietly tolerating attention from humans, always within clucking distance of her pal. Lil’ Peep loves to be admired by humans—but only on her terms. She enjoys getting close and cooing, but don’t touch! She’ll squirm away; then off she goes, running, Ophelia at her heels.

Sanctuary is a place of refuge and safety, where one cannot be harmed. It is a place where peace is restored. Every living being deserves—and needs—sanctuary.

If given the chance a cow, pig, sheep, goat, turkey, chicken or any other animal destined for the dinner plate will struggle and make a run for it, saying, I don’t want to die. You can’t get any clearer than that.

Humans in the industrialized world have a peculiar all-encompassing power over the lives of other animals. As my friend Amy Trakinski has pointed out, every time we take a bite, we choose to offer sanctuary directly to animals, and to ourselves. We choose whether or not to let individuals like Lil’ Peep and Ophelia live. Their lives hang in the balance, entangled in the tines of our fork and the decisions we make three or more times a day. Caught up in the nightmare of industrial agriculture, farmed animals are entirely powerless and they are counting on us to choose a diet of peace and nonviolence. That’s the beautiful thing about sanctuary: in the profound intimacy of our daily meals, when we offer sanctuary to farm animals, we receive it as well.

The Sanctuary of Satya
When you think about it, sanctuary is really just another form of compassion. And at Satya, we’ve worked hard to provide an outlet to those working on issues of compassion, offering a sanctuary for a community whose ideas and inspirations aren’t often heard.
As a reader of Satya, we believe you share this vision and continually seek to integrate compassion into your life. It’s all connected, at every level. And it’s up to us to offer sanctuary—to the animals and to ourselves—with every choice we make.

Catherine Clyne has been the editor-in-chief of Satya since 1999.