Author Archives Justin Van Kleeck

Babbitty-Rabbitty Micro Sanctuary – Kaunas, Lithuania

February 14, 2018

Babbitty-Rabbitty Micro Sanctuary is operated by Anna (Hungarian) and Lukas (Lithuanian), a couple currently living happily in Lithuania.

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I am a passionate naturalist, vegan for 4 years, journalist, science researcher and machine nut at heart. I was born in Lithuania and grew up on a small family farm later studied in Denmark. I work as a PhD in Lithuania now, researching biomass waste utilization via by-product synthesis (aka. how to make foam, glue and insulation from poop).

I am a compassionate vegan advocate (vegan for 4 years), technical designer, coach, and entrepreneur. Graduated as a Construction Architect and took Nutrition, Coaching, and Entrepreneurial courses. I work as a Training Specialist, design escape rooms, organize vegan cooking classes, and hold workshops on veganism, sustainable living, and social entrepreneurship.

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The many Babbitty-Rabbitty inhabitants:
Out of urgent need we rescued 16 rabbits from a farm and later this year two broken-legged chickens, Juoda and Rosehip.

The rabbits lived in small, closed wooden boxes and never saw daylight… Some of the rabbits were in a rather poor condition beyond being able to be saved, including Babbit, who was a truly special, adorable, cheeky, extremely friendly and adventurous boy… rest his amazing, wonderful soul. Some of them are still in a very fragile condition and they need to receive constant veterinary checks, attendance, vaccination, love. Their weakness might be the result of their previous living condition or their inbreeding… We cannot be sure, but maybe the combination of circumstances weakened their ability to maintain a strong immune system and resistance to diseases.

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As the rabbits were kept in small individual wooden boxes they have not much trust or liking of humans, we have to be very very patient with them. They prefer to be with each other rather than with us 🙂 but we don’t mind until they are happy in each other’s company.  They formed their own little community, created friendships and bonds, which is lovely to witness.


Rosehip (Csipke in Hungarian) came from a family farm where we found her with a broken leg. She received a life-saving surgery where a fantastic vet mended her leg. She is able to walk now again and she is truly the soul (and sound 😉 ) of our home…


Juoda (Miss Black) also came with a broken leg, but her leg was beyond repair. It was broken for a long time and it healed wrongly. She is able to walk but she is disabled for life… However, she has a strong and adorable spirit! We love having her around! She is much (!) calmer and wiser then Csipke.

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Babbitty-Rabbitty Micro Sanctuary is the recipient of a Hen Reproductive Healthcare Fund grant!

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Ashley Snyder – Canastota, NY

February 1, 2018


Ashley Snyder lives in upstate New York with her rescued hen, Asa!

Ashley says, “I currently have one rescued house chicken named Asa. I rescued Asa from an animal cruelty case and the owner surrendered her to me. I had a dream of one day rescuing farmed animals and while working as a caregiver for a large farmed animal sanctuary I fell in love with chickens. After rescuing Asa, I knew that rescuing and caring for more chickens is what I want to continue to do. A sanctuary is a place where one can feel safe, whether you have one chicken, three or 20. To each individual that you have rescued, a home where they don’t have to feel any fear, are getting the love that they deserve, free of exploitation, and vet care that they need, is their sanctuary. You don’t have to have 300 rescues to be considered as a sanctuary. Even if you only have one rescued house chicken, having a safe place to call home is just as important to this one individual. That is what a microsanctuary means to me.”

Ashley is the recipient of a Hen Reproductive Healthcare Fund grant!


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Dan Priester – McHenry, IL

February 1, 2018

Dan Priester lives with three rats rescued from labs: Ada (“The little one who has no qualms about being picked up if it means she can get taken to a new level to explore, be it a bed or a desk. She’s always curious and never stops moving unless she’s sleeping in the highest hammock in the cage. Named after Ada Lovelace.”), Marie (“She‘s the shy one. She’s slowly coming out of her shell, though, and loves a good hammock nap and claims it as her own, no matter how big. Named after Marie Curie.”), and Rosa (“Who has a few touch boundaries, and I’m doing my best to learn with her. That doesn’t stop her from being the protective one, though. Banana chips are aiding me in earning her trust. Named after Rosalind Franklin.”).

What made you want to start a microsanctuary?
“I wanted to start a microsanctuary because I felt the need to give what I could to those who needed it most, and animals used in labs are certainly no less deserving of love and affection, as well as their five liberties, than cats or dogs.”

What does The Microsanctuary Movement mean to you?
“The Microsanctuary Movement, to me, is a way to tap into the overflowing love and compassion in each individual. To do the most good and create the world we wish for. Sometimes, all we need is a little kindness.”

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Neeltje, Hendrickje & Geertje’s sisters – Son en Breugel, Netherlands

January 27, 2018

From Suzanne: 

Neeltje, Hendrickje and Geertje were our first hens. They were rescued from a caged farm by a Dutch rescue organisation in March 2012. We had carefully planned their arrival for months, and I had been reading books and the helpful posts on the UK’s Ex Battery Hen Forum. We already knew they were gonna be fantastic, but who could have thought these 3 would each be such unique individuals or that they would change our lives so much.

Neeltje was the leader. She had a deep bocking voice and a huge personality. She was a no-nonsense type of person–she was fine with just about anything, as long as it was done quick and efficient. She applied this philosophy to her daily life wherever possible. (When in distress, I try to ask myself: “What Would Neeltje Do”?–she is such an inspiration to me.) Neeltje’s image was that of a tough girl, but we found that secretly, she was not very brave at all, but hush! No one was supposed to know that.
Hendrickje was our middle child. She was our special princess, and she knew it. Geertje was the bottom hen, but did not let this bother her. She was scared of everything, but afraid of nothing. And at the end of the day, she would be the one with the fullest crop, despite her position in the pecking order. Geertje took care of Geertje.

In May 2013 we had our first experience with reproductive issues.

Hendrickje was diagnosed with EYP (egg yolk peritonitis). The University suggested a risky operation, but through the Ex Battery Hen Forum I had learned about Suprelorin implants to prevent laying, and so I asked for those. Hendrickje got her implant plus medication at our local vet, and recovery could begin. It took a while, but she developed into the most amazing silky soft beauty you could imagine. She was our pride and joy, and she had a total of 15 implants before she died of heart and liver issues in January 2017.

We managed to give her 3.5 years extra thanks to Suprelorin, which is incredible, and we are so grateful.

Eventually Neeltje and Geertje also developed EYP, and received their implants. They have since passed, but also much later than they would have without implants.


Sjoerdje and Claasje (l-r) big and healthy

Our current Microsanctuary residents are
– Sjoerdje and Claasje (rescued from Belgian cages in July 2015).
– Jacobje (rescued from a German barn in October 2017, along with her sweet sister Albertje, for whom help sadly came too late, and who died 3 months after her rescue as a result of an old egg impaction).
– Evertje (a stray rescued from the local shelter in January 2018).

All these hens have had Suprelorin implants for reproductive safety. Sjoerdje and Claasje had issues with increasingly uncomfortable wrinkled egg shells. Jacobje appears to have a saggy vent. Albertje had a prolapse. Evertje is a special story; she has an implant not just to protect her from a horrible fate like Albertje’s, but also to make her comb shrink! She only has one eye and it is hidden behind her huge floppy comb. We are so delighted that we will get to give her the gift of sight soon!


Jacobje and Albertje (l-r) a few weeks after rescue

We are thankful that valuable information on chicken health is spread on places such as the Facebook group Vegans with Chickens, and for initiatives like the Microsanctuary Movement for supporting us and sanctuaries around the globe. There is not a lot of official information nor medication for chickens out there, and sharing our experiences online is vital and crucial.

But most of all we need to thank to Neeltje, Hendrickje, and Geertje, for teaching us veganism is the only way to go!

Neeltje, Hendrickje & Geertje’s sisters is the recipient of a Microsanctuary Movement grant for hen reproductive healthcare!

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The Chi Crew – New York, NY

January 25, 2018


Rocky Schwartz lives with her animal family, lovingly referred to as “The Chi Crew,” as well as her human partner, Jay, in Brooklyn, New York.

Her microsanctuary is currently home to:
*One Oscar fish, Samantha, who was rescued from a neglectful home
*Three chihuahuas—Bambi, Ginger, and Biscuit—who were all neglected and then abandoned in public places, despite being fancy little dogs
*Four hens, including religious sacrifice survivors Rose and Phoenix and egg exploitation survivors Prospect and Coretta
*And an ever-revolving crew of rescued birds of several species, who stay as short-term fosters before going to their forever homes.”


Rocky says, “I began working at large farm sanctuaries since 2012. I deeply believe in the power of sanctuaries to save lives, re-envision how we care for commonly-exploited species, inspire visitors, and transform caregivers into better advocates and activists. Yet, I never felt large-scale operations were the only way to accomplish this. I’ve also been concerned that meeting dozens or hundreds of rescued animals at once has drawbacks, as research shows people respond more to one identifiable individual’s plight than that of dozens or thousands. Believing in the microsanctuary model, in 2014 I liberated two chickens from a small, local, “humane” farm and provided them a new home in my college dorm room. So it began. And I believe that if I could do it there—with just a few bumps along the way—anyone with a will to learn, to caregive, and to spend a load of money on vet bills can become a microsanctuary. I’m inspired by TMM’s dedication to helping expand this model, recognizing the value of individuals, and advocating for the best possible medical care.”

Rocky joined The Microsanctuary Movement’s Board of Directors in January 2018.
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