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A Year of Lifesaving Change at Woodstock Sanctuary

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Looking back on 2016

The outpouring of support we’ve had from friends in our first full year at our new location gives me a deep sense of gratitude and optimism — and most of all hope in a time of uncertainty for so many.

The past year shows how far resistance and resilience – and especially love – can carry a growing grassroots organization that’s fast becoming a leader for deep change on the animal rights frontier.

Because of you, we accomplished even more than I thought possible. Your vision and dedication are the reasons we all have so much to be proud of, and why the Woodstock Sanctuary community has so much to be grateful for as I reflect on a year of new milestones and ground-breaking firsts.

We had our first births and welcomed the Tiniest Herd – 11 baby goats and two baby lambs, their mothers rescued from a backyard butcher just over a year ago – into a long life of love and peace.

Trident the colt

Trident the colt

We rescued our first horse, a sweet, beautiful colt named Trident, whose only hope of escaping death was in our welcoming him to the Sanctuary. Now, he is happily bucking and prancing on his new state-of-the-art prosthetic leg.

In fact, we’ve rescued more large animals since late last year than in any period of our history, while growing and professionalizing an incredibly dedicated and talented staffing team that rises to every challenge.

We hosted the country’s only overnight vegan camp for kids, educating and inspiring the next generation of animal advocates.

Visitors meet Ralphie the cow

Visitors meet Ralphie the cow

And since our grand re-opening just over a year ago, we’ve welcomed a staggering 20,000 people through our gates. That’s not just unprecedented for Woodstock Sanctuary. That’s just plain unprecedented.

Even more amazing, our first in-depth survey of tour participants from the 2016 season indicates that 70 % of our guests feel so inspired after meeting our animal residents that they are getting animal products out of their lives — with almost one-third becoming vegetarian or vegan on the spot!  


That’s serious impact. It shows our reach extending well beyond the sanctuary boundaries, as we save countless lives through educational encounters that powerfully connect visitors with the rescued animals living here. That direct eye to eye contact with animals, plus the virtual contact provided by our fast expanding multi-media platforms, combine to multiply our victories. By far, we are opening more hearts, awakening more people, and touching more lives than ever before.

We were also excited to be part of the coalition that passed Massachusetts Question 3, a state ballot initiative rejecting intensive confinement for many farmed animals, and setting precedent by also banning the sale of products derived from intensively confined animals from other states.

Yet the victories that mean the most to us come with a name, not a number. Just before Christmas and Chanukah, I had the honor of welcoming piglet Rudy, our newest resident, who’s becoming fast friends with another beautiful piglet, Ari, who we’d been able to save just weeks earlier. In their eyes, so full of curiosity and wonder (and impassioned demand at breakfast time), I see souls celebrating life.

Ari the piglet

Ari the piglet

And I remember that they’d both been destined for the barbecue pit within months. Like all pigs raised for food, they were to be killed as babies. Instead, they will spend their entire lives here in love and peace. Thousands of people will meet Ari and Rudy, learn their stories, witness their beingness – and stop eating animals.

2016 proved both the depth and now breadth of the activism of love and connection. But after one year at our incredible new location, with all its budding potential, I still feel like we’re just getting warmed up. There is so much work to do, so much possibility, so many lives to save. So we welcome 2017 in full faith that we’ll keep going forward – because we know the real strength that truly distinguishes this precious sanctuary: It’s the authentic community we’re creating together… It’s you.

Over and over again, your generosity of spirit inspires all of us at the Sanctuary, as our shared commitment spares so many innocent lives. With the new year, we can all rededicate ourselves to saving as many lives as possible. Whether you’re volunteering, making a donation, or going vegan and leading others to choose compassion, 2017 will be better when we know we’re making the world a kinder place.

I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making a real difference for farmed animals here at the Sanctuary and around the world.


For the Animals,

Jeff Lydon




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