by Sunny Weber, CAP President
“The day started off quiet until Jale and Niblet started running up and down the track, notifying the team that something was the matter. We looked to see what all the commotion was and couldn’t believe our eyes. Running towards Luvin Arms from the vast open fields were two baby pigs, literally running for their lives. They were shivering and cold. Their little ears were burned from the sun. We have never seen two babies so hungry and so incredibly thirsty.
“Their arrival precisely to Luvin Arms is especially miraculous because all the surrounding properties are farm operations that use animals for profit. Out of all the neighboring land, somehow, these two babies knew exactly which property was safe. Somehow, they knew that Luvin Arms would welcome them with outstretched, truly loving arms.” –Luvin Arms website
Starting Luvin Arms Sanctuary
Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary opened its doors in August 2015 after founders Shaleen and Shilpi Shah realized farmed animals were in need of refuge. This inspired the Shahs to start a sanctuary for farmed animals.
Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary is located in Erie, Colorado. They are a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit animal sanctuary for abused or neglected farmed animals. Rescued residents include cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens, horses, goats, donkeys, sheep, and ducks. They only take abused animals, due to their limited land area and financial limitations. “We want to be able to provide exceptional lifelong social, emotional and cognitive care for the animals we rescue for the entirety of their lives.,” says Shartrina White, the LA Executive Director.
The Luvin Arms Philosophy
The Sanctuary follows the practice of “Ahimsa.” In the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jainist traditions, Ahisma is defined as having respect for all living things and avoidance of violence toward others.
“We provide exceptional lifelong social, emotional, and cognitive care to rescued farmed animals, and advocate for those who have not been rescued by sharing our residents’ stories to inspire, educate, and empower others to embrace a more compassionate and sustainable lifestyle. Since our founding in 2015, Luvin Arms has directly saved over 800 animal lives, and tens of thousands of more lives through our education and outreach.”—see more at the Luvin Arms website: https://luvinarms.org/
Over 200 million animals are killed for food every day and while many people believe that these animals are living safe, happy lives beforehand, this is not the case. An estimated 99 percent of the animals killed for food in the US are living in factory farms.
Factory farms are intensive animal farms where animals are raised in large numbers in a small space in order to maximize yield. In many cases, the spaces or cages are so small that animals cannot even turn around. Some of the species that are most exploited in the US include:
Chickens are sweet and intelligent birds. Chickens are capable of counting and basic arithmetic, able to perceive time intervals, and possess a number of visual and spatial capacities on par with other birds and mammals. Chickens also have their own distinct and unique personalities. They experience complex negative and positive emotions, including empathy. Nine billion are killed every year for food in the US, making chickens the most killed land animal for food in the US.
Cows are sensitive, intelligent, and social individuals with unique personalities. They have a variety of complex emotions and are shown to demonstrate emotional contagion, a sign of empathy. Emotional contagion is when one cow experiences the same emotion of another after seeing the other cow experiencing distress, enjoyment, etc. Cows also show an emotional reaction to learning. They show happiness or satisfaction after learning, which may indicate that they have a sense of self-agency. Cows form complex social groups, and have shown to be capable of social learning. They can form bonds with humans and enjoy affection and playing together. Three million cows are killed every year for food.
Pigs are extremely intelligent animals with complex emotions. They are capable of solving difficult challenges, they love to play, and they each have their own unique personalities. Despite the common misconception, pigs are very clean animals who prefer to keep their area clean and keep their toilet far away from where they sleep. Pigs form close social bonds with each other and share close contact and affection with each other. One billion are killed every year for food globally.
Turkeys are intelligent and playful birds who have their own unique personalities. Turkeys form strong social bonds and are capable of recognizing each other by voice. They are adventurous birds and love to explore and investigate their surroundings. Turkeys can form strong bonds with humans. They are capable of recognizing humans and distinguishing human faces. In the US, over 235 million turkeys are killed every year – around 46 million of those turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving alone. All birds used for food are excluded from any animal protection laws.
Shartrina White, the Executive Director of Luvin Arms, is a current vegan and former veterinarian. She oversees every aspect of the sanctuary including care of the animals, facilities maintenance, and plan development. She takes great pride in the development of the Luvin Arms Humane Education Program, which she calls, “one of our main missions.”
Shartrina strives to create “a place where people can come and be connected with nature and animals. More animals’ lives will be saved by changing people’s hearts and diets. People need knowledge and support to know how to do that.
“We are also developing unique enrichment programs for all our residents. We use ‘clicker play’. It creates a common language between humans and animals through rewarding cooperative behaviors with positive reinforcement. It is an integral part of how we connect humans to animals and inspire the growth of empathy within the heart of each individual who visits our sanctuary. We have recently been awarded a grant to develop more activities which our enrichment coordinator, Robert Heyer, will be implementing.” (Look for a future blog on the CAP site soon)
Shartrina is particularly focused on the immediate future of the LA flock of rescued domestic birds, due to the current pandemic of avian flu. She is working with architects in the design of protective outdoor enclosures for the birds where wild bird exposure is eliminated. “We have inside shelter for the birds but the indoor areas are too small to confine them in. Our outside areas are vulnerable to small birds flying in, and larger wild birds overhead dropping feces and feathers—which can carry the avian flu virus. We need secure enclosures with sunlight, fresh air, and yet side and overhead protection.”
Nationally, major bird facilities are locking their flocks indoors to avoid avian flu risk. Zoos, parks, farms, and backyard keepers are confining their birds inside until the migration of wild birds is over and the flu risk subsides. Indoor confinement is difficult emotionally, cognitively, and physically for birds because they are naturally active and social. Luvin Arms is examining various possibilities of material, structure, and size of enclosures to best address the needs of their flock. LA birds have already been rescued from inhumane and cruel situations, so the next step in protection is a natural and necessary step for the only safe place the flock has ever known.
To donate to the Luvin Arms Building Fund go to their website: www.luvinarms.org
For more info see: