By now, the staff at Animal Care & Control (AC&C) of NYC knows who to call when a farm animal is captured or confiscated in the borough. Over the years, Farm Sanctuary has welcomed hundreds of farm animals rescued from the streets of New York City. This spring, two more were offered comfort and protection at our New York Shelter in Watkins Glen.
First there was Jordan, a young goat rescued from terrible abuse. When Jordan arrived at the shelter, he was shaved, which is typical of show animals. He was also friendly and clearly enjoyed human attention. At some point, someone had been kind to Jordan, most likely a young 4-H participant. So how did this sweet 4-month-old goat end up tied to a tree off a city street, with the tip of his ear cut off and a deep knife wound in his leg?
While projects that involve raising and showing animals through youth organizations such as 4-H are described as hands-on experience in husbandry, they really serve as lessons in exploitation. Children care for baby farm animals until their charges reach marketable age. Then, they take these creatures to fairs to be shown, auctioned off, and hauled away for meat production or slaughter. Any relationship between the child and the animal they caringly nurtured is abruptly cut short and so, too, is the animal’s life.
Whoever bought Jordan at auction transported him into the city, most likely for Easter dinner. There, for reasons unknown, he was tortured. Fortunately, he was found by AC&C. The agency reached out to us, and soon our friend Mike Stura, a seasoned animal rescuer, was on his way to pick up the little goat and bring him to sanctuary.
A short while after we welcomed Jordan, AC&C contacted us again, this time to seek refuge for a lamb who was found loose in a city park. The young sheep, now named Mandy, probably escaped from one of New York City’s numerous live markets, where customers can select animals to be slaughtered on-site or at home. These businesses, which commonly deal in castoffs from factory farms or auction barns, or with animals obtained directly from dealers who sell to live markets, are notorious for keeping animals in miserable and terrifying conditions. In many cases, the animals still waiting to be sold can hear, smell, and often witness, their companions being killed and butchered.
We have rescued many live market escapees, and lately we’ve been receiving more and more reports of sheep and goats found running loose in the city during the periods surrounding various religious holidays. Mandy was probably slated for someone’s holiday dinner before she made her bid for freedom when she was unloaded from a truck full of animals.
Both Jordan and Mandy arrived here sick and weakened by their ordeals. Jordan was in especially rough shape. In addition to his wounds, which led to a significant infection in his foot and leg, he was suffering from “sore mouth” (a pox virus in small ruminants often brought on by stress), a heavy parasite infestation, and severe pneumonia. We immediately began around-the-clock care to ease his ailments.
Mandy also was carrying a heavy internal parasite load, but she was in far better shape than Jordan. The stress of transport, the live market, and being alone in the city after her escape probably compromised Mandy’s immune system, making her extremely vulnerable to infections. She too arrived with a respiratory infection that required treatment.
The expert care and gentle attention from our staff does wonders for a rescued animal’s health and vitality, but nothing lifts the spirits quite like having a good animal friend. With this in mind, we introduced our two little convalescents to one another — and they hit it off instantly. As both babies have grown stronger, they have also grown closer and happier. Now, the two are a dynamic duo, bursting with playfulness and eager to greet visitors.
For so many farm animals, a trip to the city spells a brutal end. But for Jordan and Mandy, it was the beginning of a whole new journey. As they live in peace at the shelter, they will serve as ambassadors for the countless others like them who are not so lucky.