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17 Rescued Farm Animals Who Will Make You Question Eating Meat

The power of the animal spirit is amazing. Warning: Devastating stories with uncommonly happy endings ahead.

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All of the following animals are living their best lives at the Watkins Glen Farm Sanctuary.

1. Valentino

Chelsea Marshall

Valentino is the sweetest little guy, but he wasn't always doing as well as he was when I saw him. The calf of a dairy cow, Valentino was sent to auction at only a day old. Usually these calves are sold for veal or raised for cheap beef, but since Valentino was so sick and badly abused, he was likely going to be left at the stockyard to die. Luckily, a horse rescuer saw him and took him to get care. After getting treatment at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals, Valentino is living his days with the older cows at the sanctuary.

2. Gabriel

Chelsea Marshall

Gabriel's mom, Marjorie, was one of a group of goats found on a rural property, extremely neglected: All were emaciated, coughing, and plagued by both internal and external parasites. On top of all that, their hooves were overgrown and rotten. Gabriel's mother gave birth shortly after her rescue and they're both living great lives with lots of behind-the-ear scratches (a goat favorite!).

3. Kristoff

Chelsea Marshall

Krstoff was among 24 baby turkeys left at the gate of the Watkins Glen Farm Sanctuary one morning. Their specific history is unknown, but it is clear from their shorn beaks and dire physical state that they came from a factory farm. Their shorn beaks are a product of suffering "de-beaking," a horrible procedure in which a human amputates the nerve-filled beak of the bird. Kristoff now gets to roam the farm with other turkeys, where his playful and curious demeanor is celebrated!

4. Simon

Chelsea Marshall

Simon was found wandering the streets of Brooklyn, New York, after likely escaping from one of the several halal "live markets" in the area. He was underweight and suffering from severe pneumonia, lice infestation, and giardia. Thankfully, the right person found him and they called Farm Sanctuary — where he was able to make a full recovery.

5. Widdle

Chelsea Marshall

Widdle was among a pair of Silkie roosters who were dropped off at Farm Sanctuary. He came from a hobby farmer who thought she was getting chickens for eggs but instead wound up with a couple of roosters. This is an increasing problem as hobby and locavore trends become more prevalent: Farmers sell people roosters instead of chickens — so the humans have no use for the males and then drop them off at a sanctuary or shelter.

6. Orlando

Chelsea Marshall

A man had bought Orlando and several other cows from a dairy farmer so he could raise cheap beef. However, when the cows got pneumonia, he decided that it was better to shoot them all instead of paying the $20 for their medicine. After he shot six of them, he was stopped — and the remaining five were saved and sent to get treatment at the hospital. Now Orlando lives happily with the other four cows, Arnold, Tweed, Conrad, and Milbank.

7. Ari

Chelsea Marshall

Ari's mother was a dairy cow who, after five years, was brought to auction to be sold for cheap beef. While waiting to be auctioned, she gave birth to Ari and was immediately taken away from him to be sold for slaughter. Ari was left on the floor for dead, still covered in after-birth, where he was found and saved by a woman who happened to notice him. He was taken to the vet and given the proper nutrition and care for his various ailments. This is him now!

8. Kim Gordon

Chelsea Marshall

Kim was found on the road; since there were no farms nearby, it is assumed she fell off the back of a truck. The couple who found her were able to take care of her for six months before giving her to Farm Sanctuary, where she got a lot more room to be a pig.

9. Diane

Chelsea Marshall

Diane was discarded after she couldn't get pregnant and her farmer didn't want her anymore. Before Diane could be killed, Farm Sanctuary was able to rescue her and make sure she could live the life all cows deserve.

10. Jane

Chelsea Marshall

Jane was swept away from her farm in 2011 by the flooding caused by New York storms. Surviving a chaotic trip down a creek and finding her way to dry land, Jane was rescued by a loving woman who gave her to Farm Sanctuary.

11. Ellen, Hannibal, and Vanessa

Chelsea Marshall

Hannibal and Vanessa were saved from a fois gras farm by a twist of fate: An undercover investigator researching the cruelties of the farm was offered four ducklings to take to his mother for Mother's Day. He jumped at the opportunity to save them and gave them to Farm Sanctuary where they can be their wonderful selves.

12. Hank

Chelsea Marshall

Hank had been at a slaughterhouse — but the farmer became so endeared to him and his sweet ways that he couldn't kill him. Now Hank lives his days being the big guy at the farm.

13. Blitzen

Chelsea Marshall

Blitzen was found with other calves at a stockyard auction where they were being called "trash" and treated accordingly. Susie, the national shelter director at Farm Sanctuary, saved three of them: Alexander, Lawrence and Blitzen — and they are now living their happiest lives.

14. Sassy McCoy

Chelsea Marshall

Sassy McCoy was one of 60 chickens who fell off a truck going to live auction. She unfortunately sustained an injury that necessitated a wing amputation — but luckily she is getting her proper care and will be able to live out her single-wing dreams fully!

15. Chandini

Chelsea Marshall

Chandini was sent to a live market in Brooklyn where meat industry "cast-offs" are sent. The conditions there are horrible: They are often tortured, mistreated, and left to die if they are not sold. Luckily for Chandini, she was bought by a group of Hindus to use in a Gow Daan ceremony. This ceremony designates a cow a guru, and traditionally, the recipient keeps the cow. Since this isn't exactly feasible in Brooklyn, the priest found her a home at Farm Sanctuary, where her curious and mischievous personality is able to thrive.

16. Bronwyn

Chelsea Marshall

Bronwyn was found running loose in the Brooklyn, likely from a live market. He was eventually brought to Farm Sanctuary, where he was unable to even stand due to septic joints. After being given the proper antibiotics, Bronwyn has made a full recovery!

17. Elsie

Chelsea Marshall

Elsie was the calf of one of the pregnant cows rescued from severe abuse at a Pennsylvania farm. The cows were without proper food or water, and their living quarters were covered in 3.5 feet of manure. Many of the cows did not survive, but luckily Farm Sanctuary was able to take some of them and aid in the adoption of the others. Elsie's mother was among those adopted by Farm Sanctuary.

To find out more about Farm Sanctuary and its awesome work, visit its website.

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