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The Dark Side of Urban Farming

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The Dark Side of Urban Farming

The Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary gets weekly calls from people looking for new homes for their roosters, goats and other animals. Founded in 2004 with just a few chickens and a rooster, today the 23-acre refuge in Woodstock, N.Y., is home to more than 200 animals. While most of them are the result of investigations into farms and slaughterhouses, “a surprising number” are rescued “from the streets of New York City,” according to the sanctuary’s website.

“We get calls all the time from people who don’t want their animals or can’t afford them. We get emails about roosters found in the city or goats being neglected or pigs that are going to be killed if we don’t take them,” says Elana Kirshenbaum, programs coordinator at Woodstock.

As the local food movement takes hold and urban homesteading gains popularity, more people are giving backyard farming a try. The prospect of fresh eggs and milk inspires them to bring home adorable chicks and goats — but when chicks grow into roosters or goats begin eating the landscaping, these animals are often given to animal sanctuaries or simply abandoned.

“People have a romantic view of farming, but it takes a lot of time, energy and money to care for animals. Here, we take our chickens to the vet, and when they’re sick, we give them antibiotics. People need to ask themselves if they’re ready to take on that kind of responsibility for the life of the animal,” says Kirshenbaum.

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Megan, selected from Mother Nature Network

Mother Nature Network's mission is to help you improve your world. From covering the latest news on health, science, sustainable business practices and the latest trends in eco-friendly technology, MNN.com strives to give you the accurate, unbiased information you need to improve your world locally, globally, and personally – all in a distinctive thoughtful, straightforward, and fun style.

63 comments

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1:48AM PST on Jan 3, 2014

While it's not only people who buy animals without knowing a thing, i also don't think urban farming is unfair for the animal because of all the noise pollution ,with their good hearing they must get scared. Not only that but cites have smaller yards and the animal dosen't get enough space

6:04AM PST on Dec 30, 2013

As with all animals, keeping "farm" ones in a domestic situation takes a lot of time, patience and money. Don't do it if you just want the occasional egg or you fancy seeing a cute lamb bouncing around in your yard. And of course, don't forget that your creatures will need looking after when you go away and they will get ill just when you have no spare money available!

5:13AM PDT on Apr 3, 2013

Thank You ! Im a city girl at heart and was thinking about a goat and some chickens.But thanks for changing my mind,and maybe saving some poor animals for a hard short life.Still moving toward a vegan life one step at a time.

7:13AM PDT on Apr 2, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

12:47PM PST on Feb 12, 2013

Thank you Megan, for Sharing this!

6:42PM PST on Jan 27, 2013

As a species, humans can be so thoughtless and stupid, it's a wonder we've survived this long. Yeesh.

4:48PM PST on Jan 27, 2013

thanks

10:57AM PST on Jan 27, 2013

very interesting

1:52AM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

I live in a semi rural area where both chickens and goats are acceptable animals to have in the yard. It wasn't my plan to have a menagerie but somehow I have ended up with cats, dogs, bunny, rooster and a goat. I love them all but I do worry that I will be able to continue to afford to keep them all. None of them provide food, I don't want to breed my goat in order to get milk and I'm certainly not going to eat any of them. And I have to admitthough that when the goat gets into my plants I have had thoughts about sending her to animal sanctuary camp... but all in all they are great company and I can't really imagine a home without pets. So here they be while I go off to work to make enough money to keep us all in kibble.

11:45PM PDT on May 23, 2012

Thanx, for the information

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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