When I was deciding on which charity/initiative to donate our profits too I was very sure on one thing. I didn’t want to donate money to any organisation that was promoting speciesism. I knew of Friend at the time but a few more people recommended them and the more I read the more I knew they were the perfect fit. And so, with every product we sell, we donate 20% of our profits to support the team at Friend and the amazing work they do on a daily basis. Not only providing sanctuary to animals, all animals, but promoting and advocating a sustainable vegan lifestyle.
FRIEND is a farm animal sanctuary with nearly 200 animals. They find their way here through being unwanted, abused, neglected or abandoned. The sanctuary offers a free roaming (as far as possible and safe) home to chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, cows, goats, sheep and one alpaca who thinks he’s a sheep, on a 10 acre site nestled in between the orchards and hop farms of rural Kent. The 35+ pigs live in their own paddock with wallows.
They were established in 1994, when its founder Marion bought a disabled lamb at a livestock market. She then decided all animals that came would have a life of peaceful existence for the rest of their days. Today FRIEND Farm Animal Sanctuary is run with a vegan philosophy of education about animal welfare and the need for a world of compassion to all its inhabitants, fauna and flora alike. As well as educating visitors about the animals, They are working to make the sanctuary an example of ecological sustainability, for example planting native trees and growing food as part of a permaculture design.
Friend’s mission is to offer sanctuary to unwanted, neglected and abused animals, while educating about animals, veganism and ecological sustainability. They hope to contribute to a world in which humans and animals can live in a mutually sustained environment through practices like vegan organic permaculture farming systems.
The future of Friend
written on our 25th year anniversary by Mark Eaton sanctuary owner/trustee
‘As we celebrate our 25 years with love and fondness, we look forward with excitement to our future. It is with this in mind that i would like to present our new vision statement…..I have been living at FRIEND now for fifteen years, this is both a short and long time in the bigger scheme of things and my plan or vision for the future really does reflect what is happening to our global society in as much as there is now a huge rise in the interest in veganism which means a huge rise in peoples compassion so we now really have to start showing a way we can facilitate this compassion in a sustainable low impact way.
Firstly i do really believe here at FRIEND we have a real and exciting opportunity to show a way or a model of how we can rescue the abused, unwanted and neglected while placing a unique permaculture design that could be a template for future rescues to copy. I wish to do for if we don’t change and don’t change quickly there really is no future though while i could mention the doom and gloom i really want to be solution based.
In my very honest opinion the best way to save animals is convincing people to go vegan. Also in my very honest opinion one of the best ways to convince people to go vegan is to meet rescue farmed animals. So the most important part of my vision is we will always be an animal rescue. I do wish to have a certain number of animals which is still a fair number but be able to sustain their welfare while keeping the land productive. This really is a very important balancing act that if it goes wrong you really lose almost completely the biodiversity of your immediate environment. I wish to address the long term land managements issues which has been a problem for very long time by implementing land regeneration solutions by planting and taking large animals off sensitive areas, we will be replanting paddocks especially for the pigs. We will also be growing food for humans and animals to enrich both equally. We will be creating a orchard which in time will be returned to the grazing animals especially sheep.
Wildlife fauna and flora have always had a special place in my heart and i really think it is important to have some set aside for a wildlife haven as well as having as many native type trees for the maximum biodiversity possible. We will be encouraging wildlife areas in all zones.
Education really is the second part of my vision and just as important, really i cannot think of anything as exciting as growing food yourself using vegan organic methods then literally picking and cooking on a open fire pit also learning preserving techniques for different seasons. I hope that in the future we will teach these techniques with workshops here at the rescue.
I also like differing medias to teach and inspire including music and art, this has actually been happening here for a few years now with great success, this i wish to continue for this really allies well to having a community vibe happening which is so important for support as well as education.
This leads into my last point about what defines FRIEND, for me it has always meant sanctuary . I want this to be a safe haven for all humans non humans alike. Our core belief is one of anti speciesism and anti oppression. Friend has to be a welcoming place where all can come to heal, revitalise, be educated and inspired. Sanctuary, this is what our legacy has always been in the past, now and future.’
FRIEND Farm Animal Sanctuary is run by Mark Eaton and Mandy Wilkinson.
Mark has a passion for animal welfare and the future of vegan education, with an emphasis on growing food and planting trees, which will have a positive impact on wildlife. Mark has a wealth of experience and over 16 years of dedication to animal care and the promotion of veganism. He is very excited about the future of the sanctuary and hopes that you will all support his dedication to carry on the legacy of FRIEND.
Mandy is passionate about promoting change through education. Her background is working with children as a storyteller and forest school leader, she taught organic growing to preschoolers. She is a mother to a beautiful 13 year old daughter. She loves animals and is dedicated to veganism. Through the implementation of permaculture based design principles together with Mark she hopes to create a working transitional model at FRIEND of a new compassionate way of life where all can flourish free from harm.
Find out more here: https://friendfarmanimalsanctuary.org/