It was a day the UK team will never forget, and we were so inspired to see some of the incredible work that is being done to help animals. We were able to help out with some of the tasks around the site and of course - meet the special residents living there.
FRIEND is located across a beautiful 10-acre site in rural Kent, and first opened in 1994 - they recently celebrated their 25th anniversary. During this time, they have rescued over 2000 animals – of all sizes!
We were shown around by owner of the sanctuary, Mark, who explained how each animal has their own unique story. Most of the animals living here have been rescued from the meat, dairy and egg industries, but have now been given a new start where they are able to live out the rest of their days in peace.
When meeting all the animals, what really shone through was their unique personalities. Personally, I learned a lot about turkeys having not spent much time with them previously. They were incredibly inquisitive and seemed like they were keeping everything in order, and as new visitors – we were closely inspected. Turkeys can often be misunderstood due to their unique appearance, but they are incredibly gentle animals, and as the afternoon swept in, they just wanted to cuddle and take a nap.
We also got to help with feeding time and were amazed by the huge amount of fresh vegetables the animals ate. We also learned that these pigs particularly love avocados! Pigs are very intelligent animals (even more intelligent than dogs) with a phenomenal sense of smell, so they quickly scoped out any leftovers.
And who could forget the cows! The oldest cow living at FRIEND is Rosie at 21 years-old. This was amazing to see, as in the dairy industry, cows usually live no longer than six years old. The cows were incredibly gentle and moved around the sanctuary in a group. There was also a beautiful calf, Skye, who had recently been rescued and will soon be introduced to the other cows.
We all had an incredible day at FRIEND and are so grateful for the important work they are doing. In our latest campaign ‘Make Food Kinder’, we are working with local authorities to implement a food policy committing to taking more action for animals – such as reducing the volume of meat and animal products in public procurement. It’s days like today where we are reminded just how important this work is!