Animal rescue to open this summer near Brown’s Canyon | ParkRecord.com

Animal rescue to open this summer near Brown’s Canyon

Lauren Lockey eases into a chair in her large living room, turns her head and peers out of the window into the distance beyond her home, where a ravine slopes gently below. It is there where in the coming months she will see her dream realized.

For years, Lockey and fellow animal-lover Dave Swartz have envisioned it: a pig pen here, cows roaming the pasture there, the cluck of chickens echoing always. Spurred by a passion for animals and protecting the environment, they have long dreamt of opening a rescue shelter for farm animals. But it had always been something that would come in the distant future.

Then fate intervened. They drove by a large property overlooking the ravine on the southeast side of Brown’s Canyon. Immediately, they knew it would be the perfect spot. Their home sits there now, surrounded by the land that will soon become Sage Mountain Animal Rescue when they begin taking animals in June.

"We decided, ‘Let’s get the property, and maybe we can do this a little bit earlier in life,’" Swartz said. "We thought this could be something neat."

A non-profit organization, the rescue will provide a home for abused or neglected farm animals such as cows, pigs, goats and chickens. The animals will then be adopted out as family pets.

The rescue also gives Lockey and Swartz, who are vegan, a platform to advocate for issues such as the proper treatment of animals and the effect of animal agriculture on the environment. Sage Mountain works with other local humane societies to spread that message.

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"The conditions they’re kept in are deplorable," Lockey said. "And they’re extremely intelligent animals — a pig can be more intelligent than a dog — that are kept in ways where they never even see daylight."

Added Swartz: "We want to show, ‘This is what it takes to produce that hamburger.’"

Mistreatment of animals is only one part of the equation, they say. The animal agriculture industry is also one of the top producers of greenhouse gases contributing to global warming and other environmental issues.

For Sage Mountain, it isn’t about getting people to instantly swear off meat forever — it’s about ensuring people understand the issues surrounding large-scale animal agriculture and that small changes in their diets can make a difference. The rescue has enlisted the participation of several local restaurants in a global campaign March 20 called Meatout, which encourages people to eat vegan for a day.

"We’re part of this movement that’s about, ‘Hey, what about just cutting out meat a day a week and coming out to learn about these animals?’" Lockey said. "We don’t need to be consuming as much animal products as maybe we once thought. You can still be healthy and get nutrients and protein."

For more information on Sage Mountain Animal Rescue, visit smarutah.org.