Each year, Farm Sanctuary’s vital work is supported by funds raised during the Walk for Farm Animals, which stands as a testament to the value of positive, grassroots activism. The Walk for Farm Animals started with a small group of volunteers walking and raising enough money in 1989 to make a down payment on what is now our Watkins Glen sanctuary. Today, it has spread across the United States and Canada to more than 35 regional Walk events supporting Farm Sanctuary’s mission to end the abuse and suffering of farm animals and to provide life-long refuge to the individuals we rescue.
When you think about becoming a farm animal activist — of speaking out for the voiceless animals suffering in factory farms — the enormity of our challenges can feel daunting. It can be hard to know where to start. The Walks are a perfect way to begin advocating for animals and allow participants, quite literally, to take their first steps in speaking up for farm animals.
Taking part in a Walk for Farm Animals allows advocates to shine a light on factory farming’s cruelties, while raising funds to combat this inhumane industry. Taking part in a Walk provides an excellent opportunity to educate others and to communicate a message of compassion by reaching out to friends, co-workers, and family members for sponsorships. And each city’s event is an opportunity to connect with other animal advocates and to build support for creating a more compassionate community. Walking together, enjoying the food and entertainment each event offers — from music to yoga to face painting — all for the sake of farm animals, is an inspiring and uplifting form of activism that reaches people in cities throughout North America.
The Walk for Farm Animals would not be possible without the dedicated efforts of local event coordinators and volunteers who donate nearly eight months of the year to organize and promote their city’s event. From larger cities like Los Angeles to smaller ones like Albany, coordinators work tirelessly to create events that make an enormous contribution to Farm Sanctuary’s rescue, education, and advocacy efforts. Each coordinator and walker helps to improve the lives of animals everywhere by getting active in his or her own community.
Many coordinators started as walkers themselves. Some, like Walk coordinator Becky Fenson of San Francisco, work to promote Farm Sanctuary’s important work in the community. She says of the event, “I’ve discovered, not surprisingly, that Farm Sanctuary is a well-loved and well-respected organization in San Francisco.” In 2012, the San Francisco Walk grew to become one of the top three Walk events, and it promises to be even bigger this year with three guest speakers, a professional caterer providing delicious vegan fare, and a huge online raffle leading up to the event.
Other coordinators, including Cindy Lemoi in Providence, Rhode Island, responded to a need in their city: “I first participated in a Walk for Farm Animals in Connecticut. The event was terrific, though I was disappointed that the small state of Rhode Island didn’t have one yet! After completing that Walk, I instantly thought, ‘I can do this for Rhode Island.’ So, the next year, I did. I have met like-minded folks and feel great that even in the small state of Rhode Island we come together, speak up, and raise funds for our farm animal friends. It’s a cause that is close my heart.” Now, the Providence Walk is a vibrant community event with a vegan potluck, speakers, raffle prizes, and live music.
Will you Walk with us this fall? Cows, pigs, chickens, goats, and other animals suffering in factory farms don’t have the ability to move freely, but we do. Let’s step out in a positive direction — sharing our strength and our commitment to end farm animal suffering and promote compassion for all. To participate, please visit: http://walkforfarmanimals.org