Mike Lanigan, a farmer in Uxbridge, Ontario, used to raise cows to be sent to slaughter. But now he's had a huge change of heart.
Lanigan first moved to the farm back in the 1950s when he was just a kid. After university, he left the farming life for 20 years, but ended up returning and buying the farm from his father's estate.
Running a farm is expensive, so like many other farmers, Lanigan brought cows to the butcher to pay the bills.
"I never liked that part," said Lanigan in a video made by his employee, Edith Barabash. "As a farmer you can kind of just turn off that part."
Or at least he did up until a couple of months ago as he was helping a newborn calf get its first milk. "I was doing it with such love, and talking to it, and cleaning the scuzz of its face and trying to get it on its mama," said Lanigan.
That's when he remembered Wilfred Fletcher, an old man who had worked for his father on the farm. He remembered how loving Fletcher had been with the cows. Then he looked back at the calf.
"He was so careful with his animals, and then I said, 'Oh it’s too bad I’m gonna knock you in the head and cut you into pieces and eat you,'" said Lanigan.
"And then I thought how hypocritical of me to give something so much love and the end thing is so different from that love."
That's when he turned to Barabash, who worked as a cashier for him at the farmers market where he sells vegetables every week. Being a vegan, he hoped she'd have some ideas to change things at the farm.
Ultimately, Lanigan decided to turn his cattle farm into a sanctuary farm. The farm is a place where all the animals can live out their days in peace, according to the farm's Facebook page.
That's 21 cows who will never meet a butcher, including Baby, who's basically a giant, affectionate dog.
There are also some geese and horses.
And a "guard donkey" named Buckwheat who's happy to buck Lanigan if he's not getting enough attention.
But keeping a farm with no income from meat makes things even more difficult. He does sell his veggies, some lumber, and a bit of maple syrup, but feeding animals is expensive.
Barabash created the video and Facebook page in hopes of getting the farm to official sanctuary status.
Barabash told The Dodo that they hope to get official sanctuary status as soon as possible.
"We do need a solid amount of startup money though, because raising cows is extremely expensive. But we're getting there," she said.