On March 19 a construction team arrived at their worksite in the Bronx expecting business as usual; to their surprise, they would wind up in an effort to build a better life for an escaped goat instead. While on the job, they suddenly discovered Alondra — a young, scrawny goat who approached the crew in desperate need of help. Their site was just feet from a slaughter facility and Alondra bore the telltale signs of a live market escapee: she was marked with red paint (used to label the animals for slaughter), had glue on her back (likely from a sticker), and she was terrified. Thanks to the team’s quick thinking and just-as-quick support from the Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), Alondra now has a name, a story, and a life. Now this survivor of an industry that keeps farm animals hidden is bringing visibility to other farm animals like her.
Farm Sanctuary has a longstanding relationship with the ACC, which has helped us rescue more than 1,000 farm animals — including Queenie cow, Elliott goat, Frank steer, and most recently, “Subway Goats” Taylor and Reiman — over the past decade. With branches in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, the organization is a vital resource for animals in need — from the companion animals they primarily care for to the displaced farm animals who are increasingly on-the-run in New York City. The ACC has been a vital partner in securing and caring for these individuals while we make the trip to the city from our New York Shelter — about a five-hour journey each way — to bring them home. Thanks to the ACC, many farm animals — Alondra included — now live the incredible lives that they deserve.
At live markets like the one Alondra likely came from people select living animals for workers to slaughter for meat onsite — a horrendous scene for individuals like Alondra, who often hear and see their loved ones killed before their very eyes. While these makeshift slaughterhouses exist across the city, few people know of their existence. Oftentimes, the first time city-dwellers become aware of farm animals in their city is when these individuals manage to escape to the streets. Still, even among these escapees, few actually make it to safety.
Local authorities often return these animals to slaughter before organizations like the ACC can step in on their behalf. Other times, there are simply no safe, forever homes available. The unfortunate reality is that even if we filled every sanctuary to capacity, the animals we could realistically and responsibly care for would only make up a tiny fraction of the billions of individuals who need us. The week we rescued Alondra, for example, the ACC had already received calls about four separate live market escapees. While Farm Sanctuary offered to take all four, the first three have since found other homes.
The night of Alondra’s rescue, we coordinated with rescue partners Tracey Stewart, her daughter Maggie Stewart, and Vyolet Savage from Hockhockson Farm — a privately run sanctuary that adopts rescued animals through our Farm Animal Adoption Network (FAAN) — to pick up Alondra from the ACC. There, veterinarians conducted preliminary exams to determine the type of care she would need. They believe she is between eight months to a year old and weighs about 30 pounds — much thinner than she should be for her age. She has been dehorned — a painful, unnecessary process that can actually cause infection if performed incorrectly — and has mild scabs throughout her body. Otherwise, she appears relatively healthy.
Alondra is understandably still shy and shaken from her ordeal, but despite everything she went through she seemingly wants to trust and love others. She quickly bonded with her rescuers and ACC staff — two of whom were named Alondra, hence her new name in their honor. “She is so sweet!” Tracey Stewart gushed on her Facebook page, as Alondra nibbled on her finger. “I’m in heaven!”
The only difference between Alondra and the billions of farm animals slaughtered each year is that Alondra escaped the system and now people can see her as someone, not something. Alondra serves as an ambassador for the individuals who are not as lucky — demonstrating how farm animals each have unique lives and personalities and have a right to a life free from harm.
We are so thankful for the amazing ACC staff; Tracey, Maggie, and Vyolet from Hockhockson Farm Foundation; local authorities, and the compassionate workers who gave Alondra a chance. With your support, we can continue to build a compassionate world for Alondra and farm animals like her.