What's going on at the (High Falls) Woodstock Animal Sanctuary? - BlueStone Press
December 6, 2019
Around town

What's going on at the (High Falls) Woodstock Animal Sanctuary?


The Love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”  

Charles Darwin

Being an animal lover means more than caring for your pet. While loving and cherishing your dog or cat is a wonderful thing, being an actual animal lover means extending that same care and compassion to all other sentient beings.

A great place for locals and visitors to get their fill of goat snuggles, pig snorts, sloppy cow kisses, and even learn some new recipes, is right in our neighborhood – Woodstock Farm Sanctuary.

They seem to be a bit under the local radar, so we decided to check in and see how they're doing at their High Falls location.

According to Lori Woods, marketing and communications manager, Woodstock Farm Sanctuary was founded in 2004 by Jenny Brown and Doug Abel in Willow, close to the town of Woodstock. The sanctuary’s mission is to rescue farmed animals (animals involved in the industrial agricultural process, considered cruel and dismissive of animal rights by some people) and give them care and protection. They work toward connecting animals with people to advance veganism (the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet) and advocate for animal rights in alliance with other social justice movements.

In 2015 the sanctuary expanded and moved to the current location near High Falls. It is on the former site of Epworth United Methodist Camp, located along Lucas Turnpike.

Who’s new?

Most recent additions to the sanctuary are two little male dairy calves, three pigs from a hoarding case, two rabbits that were being raised for meat, and 15 egg-laying hens from Philadelphia – all keeping the staff on their toes, along with the rest of the residents.

During a tour of the farm sanctuary, you will have the pleasure of meeting Fawn, a magnificent Jersey cow whose front legs were broken at birth and are both deformed from not receiving veterinary care. Today Fawn is comfortably grazing and able to keep up with the rest of the herd with the help of prosthetic boots. Kayli, another cow is a nationwide celebrity for her brave escape from a slaughterhouse in Philadelphia. She led the authorities on an hourlong chase through traffic. She was eventually granted a pardon by the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office and was brought to the sanctuary to live the rest of her life without harm.

Some other characters you will meet are Ari, Rudy and Opal, three massive yet adorable pigs; Puddles, a friendly Pekin duck who was a family pet until the landlord no longer allowed him on the premises; and Bosley, a sweet, pink not-so-little pot belly pig who grew too large for his family home.

What is an average day like at the sanctuary?

The routine varies day-to-day depending on the job. Caregivers open barns and feed animals in the morning, then barns are cleaned, manure scooped, water troughs filled, and animals are cared for that require medication or even a good brushing. The maintenance staff keeps the facilities in working order while the office staff is working on handling donations, marketing, programs, outreach and advocacy. There are also staff members who run the event center, the Woodstock Store, and in the near future, the Gray Barn Inn. [Members of the sanctuary staff are working hard to build the Gray Barn, a new luxury five-bedroom suite inn for special guests. It will feature breathtaking views of the Shawangunks and the Rondout Creek and is expected to open this fall, 2018.]

On the weekends, the humane educators (these are people who teach and promote interacting with animals in a compassionate and considerate way) are giving tours to the public and running the Visitor’s Center.

The sanctuary has nine full-time interns who work an average of three months, and up to 30 interns total for the year. Most importantly, an incredible volunteer base of over 1,000 volunteers year round help out on a day-to-day basis.

What will visitors find at the sanctuary?

The Woodstock Farm Sanctuary is set on 150 acres of land, most of which is fenced pasture and woods. There are 10 barns, 12 coops divided into about 30 clean, spacious, shaded yards for ducks, chickens, Guinea fowl and turkeys; two large rabbit hutches; an animal hospital; an isolation and holding center; an educational Visitor’s Center with a “Mootique” gift shop offering unique gifts and apparel as well as vegan refreshments; a commercial kitchen and dining hall that can accommodate 300 guests for events and educational forums; two office spaces; seven residential buildings for interns, volunteers, live-in staff members and visiting guests, plus the Gray Barn Inn (soon to be completed).

Coming events 

There are several community events coming up:

* Champs Vegan Diner and Screamer’s Vegan Pizzeria will host a pop-up this weekend, Aug. 18-19. Screamer’s from Brooklyn is an all-vegan pizza slice shop and will serve pizza all day on Saturday. Champs is a classic American diner that will be serving all-you-can-eat pancakes on Sunday. (Note that tickets must be purchased in advance for the pancake breakfast.)  

* A live and online art auction to benefit the sanctuary, called “Pigs of a Different Color,” will be happening in New Paltz on Aug. 25.

* On Oct. 27, the annual HalloWoodstock event will take place. This is a family-friendly fall festival with vegan food vendors, informative talks and tours; come in costume to receive a discount at the gate.

According to Jeff Lydon, managing director of the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary, all special events at the facility are for the community to create exposure to the mission of the sanctuary: “They strive to educate and connect people and connect them with animals, exploring the idea of animal rights and compassionate, healthy, sustainable alternatives to animal agriculture. It is a warm and welcoming place for people of all ages, where animals’ true stories take precedence over any shock or scare tactics.”

When is the sanctuary open? How can the public get involved?

Woodstock Farm Sanctuary is open every Saturday and Sunday until the end of October, from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm for guided tours, self guided tours and to shop in the store for food, drinks and merchandise.  Come to one of the sanctuary events or become a volunteer. Of course, donating to the sanctuary, becoming a member and/or sponsoring an animal are always appreciated.

For more information regarding hours of operation, upcoming events, and to learn more about the facility, go to woodstocksanctuary.org or call 845-247-5700.


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