Author Archives Justin Van Kleeck

Missy’s Legacy – Aspelt, Luxembourg

September 9, 2017


Missy’s Legacy is a non-profit micro-sanctuary located in the south of the small Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Being located in one of the countries with the highest meat consumption per capita, we are trying to change people’s view on one of the most abused and disregarded animals: the chicken.

The sanctuary is named in memory of a very special hen, Missy. Missy was an ex-caged layer who was rescued in April 2014. She was the first hen I developed an incredible bond with, the first hen to really show how special these beings are. She had so much personality and will to live. She would come on my lap and get cuddles until she fell asleep. For most of her life free she was haunted by health problems and braved them, all while being a super spoiled house hen. A few months after her rescue, our vet found various large lumps in her belly. Missy bravely survived her operation and the vet was able to sterilize her and also remove about 1/3 of her weight in infected egg material. The huge heartbreak to us all came a few months later when she died of an aggressive cancer. She enjoyed every minute of her freedom, even with all her illnesses, and was an inspiration to us all. This is what started my journey towards finding out the most I could about reproductive disorders in hens and helping these girls out as best as possible. Most hens never get a chance to see a vet, much less get hormonal implants or advanced operations.

Our sanctuary’s focus is to rescue spent caged layer hens, rehabilitate them (both physically and mentally), and offer them a permanent home. We have found that the most effective way of advocating for these amazing beings is to give them names, share their stories, share pictures of their quirky individual personalities, and show their journey to becoming free and happy creatures.


We started small with just 3 hens and now have 21 residents, including 4 roosters. These residents include: our pioneer and sanctuary matriarch Eleanor (rescued December 2013), who is now a bossy house hen; our outdoor wise lady Hazel (rescued April 2014); our Christmas miracle, Dolly (rescued December 2015), who is also a survivor of an extensive life-saving surgery; the bald sisters, June, Sophie, and Bald Warrior (rescued March 2016); the Easter babies, Engelbert, Figaro, Caruso, Hettie, Fleur, and Luna (adopted April 2016), who grew up at the sanctuary; the frosty girls, Maggie, Meryl, Miranda, Moon, and Mystik (rescued December 2016); and the school hatching babies, Cogsworth, Potts, Chip, and Plumette (adopted April 2017).

Our plan for the future is to expand the sanctuary by acquiring more land so we can take in more hens. Our goals are to keep rescuing hens and educate people about how special these animals are. By having people meet them and experience a touching exchange, they will start rethinking their food choices and beliefs.


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Uptwinkles Rat Sanctuary Philadelphia, PA

August 31, 2017


Uptwinkles Rat Sanctuary, located in the heart of South Philly, was founded by a former vivisector turned animal rights activist to give loving forever homes to rats in need. Uptwinkles focuses on rats rescued from labs and other human exploitation, and provides an environment where traumatized rats can heal, grow, and thrive with others.


Residents currently (as of August 2017) include JD, who was rescued from a Philly lab; and Jace, Ezra, Liam, and Kartik, who were rescued from being raised as snake food. Thanks to a grant from the Microsanctuary Movement, Upwtinkles Rat Sanctuary will soon be able to double its numbers!



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The White Pig Animal Sanctuary – Schuyler, VA

August 28, 2017
The White Pig Animal Sanctuary is a small, not for profit animal sanctuary in Schuyler, Virginia that focuses on one of the most brutalized animals, the pig. The farm is located just outside Charlottesville and encompasses 172 acres that are in Conservation Easement.

Our current focus is to expand the sanctuary and keep a steady focus on vegan outreach.


Our goal is to provide rescue and safe haven for abused, abandoned and neglected pigs and other animals in need, as well as reducing the suffering of food animals through vegan education. Advocating a vegan diet is vital because of the enormous impact that it has on animals, the environment, our health and the world we leave for future generations.

The White Pig Animal Sanctuary is a recipient of a Microsanctuary Movement Seed Grant!


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Farmshire Animal Sanctuary – Clyde, NC

August 23, 2017


Farmshire Animal Sanctuary is committed to rescuing farmed animals and educating people on the system of oppression that made their rescue necessary in the first place. It is unique in that it is an off-the-grid community run off solar power, with water fed from a spring. The majority of our structures are made with materials from our own land, as we are committed to not contributing to deforestation by purchasing imported wood that ruins the habitat of our wild animal friends. Our goal is to use a variety of natural building techniques to provide housing that is comfortable in weather extremes, and serve as a model for other sanctuaries looking to use resources they have at hand so that more financial resources can go into high quality daily and medical care.

We hope our small family of rescued animals help us to educate others on not only the horrors of large commercial farming, but also private backyard breeders and butchers that our so popular in our area of Western North Carolina.


Specializing in potbelly pigs, we also hope to bring awareness the “tea-cup myth” that leaves 90% of potbellies surrendered to animal shelters or sanctuaries by 1 year of age. Although we cant take in all of these unwanted animals, we help to coordinate adoptions through a network of rescuers in the area, and when possible offer support and guidance to keep the animal in the home.

As of Summer 2017, we are an incorporated organization and are in the process of obtaining of 501(c)3 status from the IRS. Our focus right now is ensuring that we are forming a sustainable rescue plan that will always provide high quality care to our residents.

Farmshire Animal Sanctuary is the recipient of a Microsanctuary Seed Grant!


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Castle Galliformes – Knoxville, TN

August 17, 2017


Castle Galliformes was founded in March 2015 with the aim of providing a safe haven for chickens coming from food industries and/or other abusive situations. Located in Knoxville, TN, we have been provided with the opportunity to show our neighbors and friends what wonderful companions these intelligent birds can be. Many people in our area have only viewed chickens as farm animals to either be eaten or used to produce eggs. This is due to the fact that East Tennessee has historically been a highly productive farming region, and locals have grown up being taught that chickens are solely for human use and consumption. However, times are changing, and compassionate individuals are open to learning about the unique personalities of our rescues.

Julian leash

Our first ambassador was a broiler rooster named Julian. He would walk around the neighborhood on a dog leash, and children would come running out to pet him and talk to him. He became known as the “feathered puppy,” and many mourned his death after only 6 months of freedom. He made the most of his time with us, however, and it is largely due to his influence that we have expanded our work.

We have an 8’ by 8’ chicken house built by my father and me, and artistically painted by my mother. The residents also have a 15’ by 20’ outdoor enclosure where they spend most of their time during the day.

In our small sanctuary, we have overseen the rescue and rehabilitation of eleven chickens. We are currently looking to move to a larger property where we will be able to accommodate more who desperately need our help. Our current residents are two Dominique girls named Beverly and Deanna, and three Isa Browns named Sassy, Flops, and Miss Frizzle. Everyone gets along incredibly well, with Deanna being our “large and in charge” princess. Sassy is everyone’s little buddy, mainly because she’s cute and she’s sneaky.

Our two main goals are rescue and education. We firmly believe that the individual who meets an animal he/she calls “dinner” will think twice about his/her dietary choices. It is the objectification of animals that makes it easy for people to take advantage of them. Once an animal is shown to have a life and a personality, people take notice and reexamine their views. By showing a chicken to be as worthy a companion as a cat or a dog, one can change hearts and move mountains.

Castle Galliformes is the recipient of a Hen Reproductive Healthcare grant!


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