A home is a dwelling where someone can feel welcomed, loved, and needed by the members living there. Our family of furbabies, feathered friends, and everyone else under the sun has forever changed my view on what exactly family can mean. Life's hardships and lessons have taught me to believe that, as an emotionally intelligent species, we should know better than to continue to allow the immoral and unethical treatment of animals under the jurisdiction of our government simply because it has always been that way. It remains law to allow one species as a pet or companion and allow another on your plate. Why? Do we all not bleed when our flesh is torn and do, we not all yearn for love and family? Of course, they do. We all do. We all want to live and to love and be loved freely.
That's why I was so happy to create Farm Critter Haven as a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit with my mother, Pat Kagan, when my children and I moved into her home in 2016 after leaving an abusive marriage. Growing up there I remember she had so many animals on her property. Everything from an emu to goats but pigs were always one of her favorites. It went without question to begin rescuing again and soon my mother did. First, it was a few chickens, then a couple of pigs, then our sweet cattle, Daisy Mae.
Animals are incredible at healing. Somehow, they offer this ability to ease suffering from depression, anxiety, pain, and other obstacles without even knowing they’re helping you. I feel like it should go without asking to then care for them in return. It feels like an honor and their healing ability should not be taken for granted. I certainly don’t believe humans should ever hurt or eat animals.
As the first vegan animal sanctuary located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Farm Critter Haven has connected so many people to the concept of veganism and the prevention of animal cruelty. However, without updated zoning ordinances put into place that will allow for potbellied and mini pigs to remain here lawfully our sanctuary was forced to relocate to a safer location where our entire family can remain together. My mother wished to remain separate from our mission in Spring 2019 and the Mission for Marley Meadows began...
My name is Heather Ailie and my fiancé, Steven Podolsky, and I are creating Marley Meadows Animal Sanctuary. A vegan microsanctuary dedicated to the rescue, advocacy, well-being, and public education of rescued farmed animals and vegan awareness. Our mission to help rescued animals rescue people through compassionate learning, one on one interactions, and emotional connection can help bridge the gap needed in ongoing abuse problems. For example, it is statistically known that children who abuse or mistreat animals throughout childhood and go uncorrected will often turn into abusive adults who have no remorse for their hurtful actions. On the contrary, if that child is taught that his or her actions of harm on that animal were wrong and hurtful then maybe they will not choose violence as an answer to their problems as children into adulthood instead? I raised my 3 children with the idea that we harm as little on the Earth as possible and help as much as we possibly can.
In late Winter 2018 Steven and I rescued Marley and Dakota, two Holstein calves, from the filthy dairy farms of the Amish in Lancaster, PA. Said to both be bulls destined for veal slaughter within a few short months, we later found out that our sweet Dakota was actually a female. We had a boy and a girl! But why would a lucrative dairy company give up a profitable “machine” to us? There was no way it was a mistake. They knew what they were doing ALL too well. The only thing we could conclude amongst our team was that Dakota was a twin to someone (and it quite possibly could be Marley!!). When a cow has twins and one is born a bull and the other calf is born a heifer 90% of the time the female is born infertile. An infertile heifer, or freemartin, is not found to be an asset in the dairy industry thus she would be killed instantly or sold off for veal. Therefore, we think we were able to get her from the farmers because she was no use to them. Dakota Trey and Marley Grey quickly gained a brother, Morty Plae, from the very same farm a few months later when he was dropped off at our sanctuary with a case of mistaken identity! Said to be Jersey breed, which is smaller and brown, Morty was clearly a Holstein with his adorable speckled nose and spots throughout. So, we now had 4 beautiful Holstein bovines when we included Daisy Mae.
Cattle eat a lot. It’s not just a saying. They really do! Alpacas do not. Which is why we agreed to take 5 alpacas, along with a large group of poultry and a mini pig named Zeke, during the Spring of 2019. They all came from a garden center in Cape May County, NJ where there was originally 60 alpaca in their herd. Within a few short years there were only the 5 alpacas left that we took home that day. We saw an alpaca body under tarps behind their torn-up enclosure, the chicken coops were filthy and not livable, and the ducks had no swimming source. And Zeke. Poor Zeke. Originally named Freak, he came from NYC and found his way to the garden center as a lone pig and renamed Zeke. We are so happy to have rescued all of them and brought them to our sanctuary forever. With the combination of the animals rescued between the efforts of Farm Critter Haven and, now, Marley Meadows Animal Sanctuary we have over 100 resident rescued animals!
Now, after almost a year of searching we have found a home to call Marley Meadows Animal Sanctuary. We are asking for help from our supporters and animal lovers with securing the property for them. We need YOUR help to give the animals a new location that welcomes cattle, pig, poultry, and every species under our beautiful blue sky. Your donation will help bring home all the animals to their new location and allow us to begin rescuing more animals. Once the business becomes established, we cannot wait to begin our outreach programs connecting human and animal, which helps vegan awareness and the prevention of animal cruelty, in more of southern New Jersey.
This is almost 10 acres of gorgeous land with shelters already in place, zoning permits ALL animals, functioning well and water pumps, and a MEADOW! After a grueling year in 2019 with fighting to keep our family together through the eviction of our pigs off the property we currently have the animals occupy WE NEED YOUR HELP. This is their home, forever. Please donate today so that we can reunite our pigs with the rest of our family and they, and any of animals, will never have to face the threat of being separated again.
Thank you for taking the time to read through my campaign, it means so much to my family and me. For any more information and for the latest updates about the animals at the sanctuary please follow us on our social media networks.
Remember, we are a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charity and your generous donation will be tax deductible on next year’s tax return! With this new GoFundMe for Charity we will have no fees deducted so that your donation can make the biggest impact. Thank you from all of us at Marley Meadows Animal Sanctuary.