Carolyn Bartczak is the founder of The Chicken Sanctuary, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is home to many permanent residents, including 30 roosters, 11 “broilers,” and many severely disabled chickens. Carolyn began her work after visiting a local farm store and rescuing a male chick that couldn’t walk and was getting run over by the other chicks in a tub labeled “meat chicks.” Carolyn brought Gerry home and he forever changed her life. Gerry was worth nothing to the meat industry, but he was worth absolutely everything to Carolyn. The Chicken Sanctuary provides care exclusively to chickens and specializes in the care of roosters, Cornish Cross rescues, including survivors from trucking accidents on their way to slaughter, and chickens with special needs. The Chicken Sanctuary has utilized cutting-edge mobility devices to improve the quality of life for chickens with mobility challenges.
Raised to have compassion and love for all, Maura Cummings has always had a kind heart and the desire to help others. Throughout her teens and early twenties, she worked with at-risk children in an after school program, cared for severely intellectually and physically disabled adults in a rehabilitation program and volunteered at the local animal shelter. In 2008, she watched the documentary “Earthlings” and a whole new world of suffering was revealed to her. Maura immediately made the vegan connection and decided overnight that she could no longer contribute to the hidden cruel agenda of the animal agriculture industry, the destruction that it caused to the environment and the health problems that it created in humans. Maura became more involved over the next several years by managing a vegan café, volunteering with animal rights organizations, speaking up on behalf of animals forced into circuses, and working as barn manager and animal caregiver for a farmed animal sanctuary. Through these experiences, Maura continued learning more about how far this plight actually extended. In 2016, she and her husband, Lee, founded The Farmhouse Sanctuary right in their own backyard. Their first rescue was a flock of ducklings that were surrendered to a nearby sanctuary. Since then, they have rescued and rehabilitated over 40 abused animals including ducks, chickens, potbellied pigs and goats through the help and guidance of The Microsanctuary Movement. Maura is excited to share what she has learned with others who are interested in creating a lasting change in the world!
Rachel Hipp is a Michigan-based animal rights activist and animal caretaker. Rachel has been rescuing formerly “farmed” animals since 2014 and is the co-founder of Sanctuary Moon which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Rachel holds two Master’s degrees, a Master’s of Public Administration with a Nonprofit Management concentration and a Master’s of Social Work with a public policy focus. Rachel is passionate about mentoring others interested in starting microsanctuaries and learning more about animal care, while being a lifelong student herself! Rachel resides in Michigan with her husband Ryan, 15 roosters, 7 hens, 4 ducks, 2 goats and 11 cats.
Rosemary Van Kleeck
Co-founder & Secretary
Rosemary, a graduate of Columbia University, is a passionate vegan who has been rescuing and caring for non-human animals since 2009. She and Justin started Triangle Chicken Advocates in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2014, where she is the head caregiver and photographer extraordinaire.
Justin Van Kleeck
Co-founder, Treasurer, & Grant Program Coordinator
Justin Van Kleeck has a Ph.D. in English and is a freelance writer, educator, and community organizer. Justin spends most of his time working at the Triangle Chicken Advocates microsanctuary, which he and his wife founded in 2014, and which inspired them to start The Microsanctuary Movement later that year. He also founded and contributes to the radical vegan blog Striving with Systems. Justin currently serves as the Sanctuary & Microsanctuary Advisor for A Well-Fed World.
Mary Britton Clouse
Mary Britton Clouse received her Master of Arts degree from the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. She served as President of Minnesota Animal Rights Coalition, founded the Minnesota Spay/Neuter Project, Legislative Efforts for Animal Protection, and most recently Chicken Run Rescue and Justice for Animals Arts Guild, both of which she jointly founded with her husband, Albert Clouse. Since 2001, nearly 1,000 chickens as well as other domestic fowl, pigs, goats and sheep impounded by city shelters have been provided with with love, shelter, vet care, and carefully screened adoptive homes. Their home/shelter is located in the inner city of North Minneapolis. It provides visitors and volunteers with the opportunity to meet birds in their own safe and familiar environment. Connecting real individual animals with people brings a personal understanding of the consequences of their food choices. Seeing first-hand experience and art as her most powerful tools for change, she has concentrated her activism and art on animals used in agriculture. Fate has placed chickens, the most exploited and abused of them, at her inner-city doorstep.
Ashley Capps received an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her first book of poems is Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields. The recipient of a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, she works as a writer, editor and researcher specializing in farmed animal welfare and vegan advocacy. Ashley has written for numerous animal rights organizations, and currently works full-time for Free from Harm and A Well-Fed World. She also teaches writing workshops. Learn more at her website.