The Microsanctuary Movement is an initiative to help vegans rescue and care for farmed animals. It centers on a radical revisioning of “sanctuary” on a grassroots level, with the goal being to inspire and empower more people to use whatever resources they have available right now to provide safe, nurturing homes to non-humans who are typically seen only as commodities.
The Microsanctuary Movement is creating a revolution in how humans see and interact with farmed animals…
The Microsanctuary Movement grew out of the work of Rosemary and Justin Van Kleeck, who started and (with the help of fellow board members and volunteers) run the microsanctuary of Triangle Chance for All in central North Carolina, which operates on three acres of mostly wooded property and provides education on ethical veganism.
Rosemary and Justin (both passionate vegans) each had grand visions of running sanctuaries at some point in the future, but the vision only started to become reality when they began to rescue and place farmed animals from shelters in North Carolina. The TCA Microsanctuary was born after they rescued two hens, Clementine and Amandine, in February 2014 and brought them home with a plan to transport them to a sanctuary. An intervening snowstorm delayed that trip, and in less than two days Rosemary and Justin had become smitten with the hens.
Suddenly, the vague notions of sanctuary “one day” and rescuing chickens “one day” were embodied and present, and the barrier to rescuing, caring for, and providing a home to chickens (and other farmed animals) disappeared. This led to a serious moment of reflection on what “sanctuary” really means.
Rosemary and Justin began to reconsider the ideal of an animal sanctuary. They had recently moved to a three-acre property outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where the view is a wall of trees instead of rolling pastures. Nevertheless, they decided that they could scale the model down and get creative with what they had, not what they thought they would need, in order to provide permanent shelter and care to rescued animals. They began to see themselves as building a “microsanctuary.”
Rather than seeing sanctuary only in terms of hundreds of acres and residents, millions of dollars, and an organizational umbrella over it all, Rosemary and Justin recognized that the true heart of “sanctuary” involves a commitment to providing rescued non-humans with the safest, healthiest, most nurturing home possible and refusing to allow their continued exploitation in any way.
This new light on “sanctuary” was a moment of great empowerment. Rather than just being a couple of vegans with some chickens, Rosemary and Justin saw themselves as the caretakers of a small sanctuary–a “microsanctuary,” as Rosemary deemed it. This perspective meant that their home and their lives were dedicated to the well-being of the sanctuary residents.
In the process of providing rescue and care to farmed animals at Triangle Chance for All’s microsanctuary, Rosemary and Justin saw the need to offer an alternative model of sanctuary to people who, like they once did, only think of sanctuaries as large farms far away in the country.
The beauty and the power of the microsanctuary model is that by providing a more realistic scale for creating sanctuary, it can inspire more people to utilize what space and resources they have for rescuing farmed animals. One might choose to build a microsanctuary on several acres and create a non-profit organization around it, thereby to provide education and solicit some support from the community, which is the approach that Rosemary, Justin, and the other board members took with Triangle Chance for All. A microsanctuary can also be just one person with a rescued hen in an apartment.
Thus The Microsanctuary Movement’s model is very flexible but ultimately focuses on individuals taking direct responsibility for the care of rescued farmed animals wherever they are, with what resources they have, in order to play a positive role in the lives of these wonderful beings.
Our goal is to help provide the inspiration, resources, and connections that will make starting and sustaining a microsanctuary possible for individuals everywhere…