Some cows from a cattle ranch are getting a new lease on life.
Farmer Mike Lanigan is currently turning his ranch in Uxbridge, Canada, into a sanctuary for animals. Lanigan, who works the same land his father used to, didn’t want to send his cows to the butcher anymore. So about a month and a half ago, he committed to giving his animals a safe place to live their happiest, fullest lives.
Lanigan’s story was recently captured in a short video by Edith Barabash, who works at a farmer’s market where she helps him sell his produce. In her video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 4, it’s clear that Lanigan is relieved by this change.
“I thought, ‘how hypocritical of me to give something so much love and the end … is so different from that love,’” he says in the video.
“I never liked that part,” he said of sending his cattle off to the butcher.
While the farm has completely stopped having its animals slaughtered, it still needs to become a nonprofit and eventually obtain a charitable status before it’s a true sanctuary. The farm’s staff has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the costs of the animals’ living expenses and get the operation certified, Barabash told The Huffington Post.
Lanigan’s farm is currently home to 21 cows along with geese, horses and a “guard donkey.” Though he’s sold beef in the past, his produce and maple sap sales now serve as his primary means of income.
The cows still bring an added benefit to the farm.
“Mike believes that having grazing animals on a crop farm is extremely beneficial to the land, and we do collect their manure to use as fertilizer,” Barabash explained to HuffPost.
Strapped with large expenses related to running a farm, Lanigan would previously send his cows to a butcher to help cover bills. But the farmer explained he wanted this to change after an experience he had with a newborn calf.
When Lanigan was helping the calf get its first milk, he was reminded of an older man who’d worked for his father and put in so much love and care when dealing with the animals.
Much like that older man, Lanigan was also giving his new calf a great deal of attention to help it survive. He felt it was only fair the calf receive a happy ending too. So he reached out to Barabash, a vegan, for suggestions on how to transform the farm. And that’s when the sanctuary idea was born, he said in the video.
Now, the animals will be able to graze in peace until the end of their days.