Interested in starting a microsanctuary of your very own? There are a few key things you will want to do, know, and research before you get started:
- Can you not only rescue but also sustain the individuals you rescue? You should see every rescue as a lifetime commitment for food, medical care, and attention. This means honestly and accurately assessing your resources and rescuing accordingly, or coming up with a realistic plan to get additional support for your efforts–and by “resources” we do not just mean assets and bank accounts, but also your time, energy, emotional strength, and other key factors that are crucial for the long-term well-being of your microsanctuary family.
- What is your current familiarity and experience with animal rescue and caregiving? If you have little to no experience with animal rescue and care, that does not necessarily mean you cannot begin helping individuals in need. However, you will want to prepare well for understanding the work involved, the needs of specific animals, the availability of reliable veterinary care, and how to create a nurturing sanctuary space for everyone you take in.
- What sort of support networks do you currently or potentially have access to? Many rescue networks focus exclusively on “companion” animals, and most local vegan communities have very little direct connections with farmed animals. You may be able to tap into these and other local networks to provide support if/when you need it. However, also be sure to utilize the Internet for help. For example, groups like Vegans with chickens offer extensive support for individual vegans with rescued farmed animals; also reach out to existing sanctuary volunteers and leaders, such as through the Global Coalition of Farm Sanctuaries.
- Seek out organizations and other groups that may be able to provide financial support for your endeavor. Some wonderful organizations are recognizing the power of microsanctuaries and may be able to provide grants for a project or other needs. In particular, The Pollination Project and A Well-Fed World have been extremely helpful for our work and are excited about supporting the growth of The Microsanctuary Movement. You may be also to tap into local groups who would be willing to do fundraising and other outreach for you!
Along with these general guidelines, always remember to be flexible and be willing to adjust your lifestyle to do good for farmed animals in need. Microsanctuaries offer you an opportunity to make a world of difference on a manageable scale, as well as allowing you to avoid obligatory fundraising and financial burden because you can grow based upon your resources through (primarily) self-funded rescue.
Flexibility means things like expanding your preconceived notions of what bathrooms and bedrooms can be used for, realizing the security that a basement offers as housing, and dropping the inherited belief that, say, chickens only belong outside.
Microsanctuary is a state of mind. When you put the well-being of your residents, and family members, first, your perspectives quickly shift. It becomes clear how wrong our human priorities often are, and how truly horrifying the exploitation of other animals is.