PCTV’s Mountain Morning Show interviews Lauren Lockey about her food mission and her goals with Sage Mountain, and some of the amazing vegan food alternatives.
For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Bradley. I’m a two year old steer now residing at Sage Mountain. I sometimes go by Mr. Bradley or “B”Rad, but mostly Bradley. The truth is, I think I should be called Sir Bradley as I am the new sire, king, alpha, head honcho, maybe some would say “bully” of Sage Mountain. That’s right. I took me a little time to figure out this place, but once I did, watch out. Sorry Wilma Jean. There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Sheriff Bradley??
My story begins in a similar fashion to my new sheep friends here at Sage. Just like Jesse, Martin, and Sammie, when I was born my mom wasn’t able to take care of me. Being so young and not having a mother was very scary and at the time I didn’t know if I was going to make it. Luckily for me, help came along the way in the form of the great kids at Discovery Ranch in Northern Utah. They fed me, gave me shelter, and cared for me while I got back to health and started growing into a young steer. I was so grateful for all the great people at Discovery Ranch but knew my time there was coming to an end. As some of you may know, in most situations steers like me are taken to the auction and sold off to other ranches or feed lots. After a few months to a year, we are then shipped off to slaughter and become a steak or hamburger. For some reason or another, the kids at the ranch became attached to me and wanted a different fate. I first heard rumors around the ranch that there were plans for me to head to Texas but those plans were scuttled when a horrible hurricane hit and the ranch that I was going to go to was severely damaged and could no longer take me in. Winter was setting in and time was running out because the ranch was making plans for a new group of calves to come in and didn’t have room for me. However, before I knew it, the crew from Sage Mountain in Park City came to rescue me and take me to my forever home in January of 2018.
It’s been almost a month being at Sage Mountain and I’ve had some time to reflect on my prior life. I wish I could have told those great kids that I was no different from the other steers and that we didn’t have to be sold off at auction, that we are all individuals and have emotions such as fear and happiness just like they do, that humans don’t have to eat us and live longer, healthier lives if they didn’t eat animals like us. I wish I could have told them that they can stop this cycle and change this world making it better for humans, the planet and of course the animals. Since I can’t go back to the ranch and tell them directly, I ask you to please spread the word. Please tell those kids, in fact, tell all kids, adults, and anyone that will listen that this idea of humans eating animals like me has to stop. I promise this will be the most powerful message for the future of our planet and our society.
As for me, I will spend my days at Sage Mountain exploring, playing, eating and bossing Wilma and Pony around. Most of all I get to be a steer just like I was meant to do.
Sammie’s story begins in the mountains of Northern Utah near Victory Ranch. Sammie was separated from the herd at a very young age and was left to fend for herself throughout the long snowy winter of 2017. One of the local residents named Peggy Grubbs discovered Sammie one day near a snowshoe trail and quickly bonded with her. Over the course of the winter Peggy snowshoed 6 miles every day, many times in knee deep snow, to bring Sammie food so she could make it through winter. When a break in the weather finally arrived in mid February and with help from the local community, Sammie was finally rescued from high mountains and taken to a foster home nearby. For more details on Sammie’s amazing story please click here.
Today Sammie is adjusting to life at Sage Mountain. Her days are filled with grazing and playing with her friends Jesse, Ponyboy, and Wilma Jean. Sometimes Sammie would rather hang out with the pigs in their shelter instead of her own during the heat of the day and couldn’t be happier. Sammie now gets to spend the rest of her life with all the other residents of Sage Mountain where she won’t be alone or ever worry about her next meal.
Sammie has become a wonderful mother figure for Jesse and our other newest arrival, baby Martin. Martin is a young male lamb that has a similar story to Jesse. Martin was born in the spring of 2017 and was part of a grazing herd on the west side of Utah Lake in Utah County. For some reason or another Martin’s mother rejected him and he was left alone on the range without the nourishment he needed to grow into an adult sheep. The same foster family that took in Sammie reached out to the sheep herder and asked if he would be willing to let them adopt Martin. Since Martin was what the industry calls a “bummer” lamb and is of “no use” and has little to no value the sheep herder agreed to the adoption. It is so unfortunate that so many animals are considered worthy only if they can be used by humans in some way for profit. If not, they are often discarded, neglected, or killed.
Since arriving to his permanent home at Sage Mountain, Martin has been learning the ropes and getting along great with all the other animals including Maggie, our German Shepard. It seems as though Maggie understands her job is to protect Martin and she takes great pride in her new role. Martin, just like the rest of the animals at Sage Mountain, will live out the rest of his life and will always be cherished as someone and not something.
I will have to say that it’s been a whirlwind since Johnny and I broke free from our captors in Riverside County, California. See, what many of you don’t know is that this was a planned getaway from the beginning and not some spontaneous guy’s night out romp.
Let me help paint the picture with some of the few details that I remember from that evening. You will have to cut me some slack as I was only 3 months old at the time and my memories are vague. I’m sure many of you would also have a hard time remembering what you were doing at that age. I can assure you that planning a daring escape was not in the cards. In fact, our lives were meant to be doomed from the beginning.
Johnny and I were being raised in what humans would call a backyard butcher situation. What that basically means is that we lived in cramped quarters where our humans would raise and grossly over feed us until we were ready to be turned into lamb chops and bacon. Now, let me stop there for a minute as I have an issue with this. At what point do I become bacon? When your species dies you don’t transform into another thing or food item. Apparently Johnny and I transform into something completely different. I’m not bacon. I’m a pig and a damned smart one at that. When it’s time for me to go I will become a deceased pig and not this “bacon” thing.
Many humans know for some reason or another that we pigs are intelligent creatures. This is not by chance but by hard work and numerous sleepless nights studying. In my studies as a young piglet I noticed that when humans would consume my deceased fellow friends, or “bacon”, that those humans would then become sick with chronic disease such as heart disease. So let me get this straight, humans kill pigs like me and then we turn around and kill them with the number one killer of all humans, heart disease.
As Johnny and I laid there realizing how counterproductive this all was, or as Johnny would say “batshit crazy” (Johnny had a way with words), we realized we wanted to do something about it before it was too late. So for a few weeks we contrived a plan to break out of our tiny quarters and make our move. The daughter of our captor would not be the best at locking our gate after coming into feed us in the evenings. After a few times of seeing this we knew that we had to make our move and make our move we did. It was a breezy September evening and Johnny and I bolted. We ran and ran until we couldn’t run anymore. Then we ran some more. Then we walked. We walked miles and miles through farmland and neighborhoods until we were just couldn’t go anymore. Sometime around midday the next day some strangers stopped us and coaxed us into a truck. We realized this was animal control and figured that it was better than where we were before so we decided to get off our feet for a while. After a few days at the animal control facility, the workers there didn’t have the necessary means to hold us much longer and placed a call to Farm Sanctuary in Acton, CA to ask if they would take Johnny and I. This is where things made a huge turn for us. Farm Sanctuary is the largest farm animal welfare group in the country and through a miracle picked us to come to their home. Johnny and I knew that from here on out were not going to become bacon and lamb chops or contribute to the number one killer of humans.
As we grew up at Farm Sanctuary I realized I was becoming a lot bigger than Johnny and needed some more space. It was at this time two people from Utah (wherever that is) representing Sage Mountain came to visit me. They said they had tons of space and would love for me to come and live there. After a few months, vet visits, and a short stay in Northern California, I was ready to take a road trip with my new girlfriend Wilma Jean to Utah. I won’t say much about Wilma Jean here as apparently she had a blog written about her a little bit ago. I’m still trying to wrap my big ears around this as I met the Sage Mountain team first and should have been the first blog. I will let it slide as to not hurt Wilma Jean’s feelings and not to mention I don’t want to upset her. She outweighs me by 100 lbs and can give me the business at anytime she so desires.
Since being here I have made new friends especially with Maggie the German Shepherd. She follows me around all day and won’t leave me alone. I have told her numerous times that I have a girlfriend but it doesn’t seem to stop her. I look forward to more animal friends arriving at Sage Mountain during the spring and summer months.
I get to wake up to amazing sunrises, lots of space, sometimes snow cover (still getting used to that), and usually Wilma Jean snuggled next to me. Here I explore, dig, chew, bathe, get muddy, get muddy some more, eat, sleep, receive belly rubs and treats, and am adored by my humans. I get to be a pig here and that’s all I ever wanted. I will continue to be a voice for all my animal friends out there and be the change I seek in this world.
By: Lauren Lockey
A few weeks ago I had a conversation with someone about a particular experience he had while visiting a park near by his family’s home. He witnessed a person picking up a young duckling and chucking him across the park like a football. I proceeded to ask if he did anything about it or tried to help in any way. He answered that he felt bad for the animal but continued to say, “do you know how small a duck’s brain is? Not the smartest in the bunch!” ” So that makes it okay?” I asked. If the duck had a large brain and was “smarter” then he wouldn’t be thrown across the field?
This question comes up a lot for me. While I am always fascinated learning about the science behind the cognitive abilities of non human animals ranging from chimpanzees to elephants to pigs to chickens, does it matter when it comes to the most important aspect all human and non human animals share? That being the simple desire to live and be free from suffering. We all want to love and be loved. We all want to make our own choices. We want to take care of our families and friends and be social. We want to be happy and feel joyous. Are humans the only ones deserving of that and what gives us the right to take that away or do what we please with those whom we deem “less intelligent?” And if higher intelligence is what matters, are humans at the top? Because I am not sure confining, using, or slaughtering animals is intelligent when it comes to the negative impact it has on everything around us and our own health. You can not help wonder whether our intelligence is overrated! Perhaps our non human animal friends are truly the intelligent ones as they take only what they need and live in harmony and balance with the planet. The ranges of intelligence will vary according to species. No, a chicken or rat isn’t going to drive a car, go vote, or create some app for iphones. BUT they do have jobs, tasks, and knowledge within their daily lives that works and allows for growth within their communities and families. The definition of intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. I would add to that, “within any given species”.
OR is it that we honestly believe that all nonhuman animals are here FOR us and not WITH us? I think we can all agree that the young duckling was most likely minding his own business being a duck. I think we can also agree he had no interest, nor does anyone for that matter, in being thrown across the field to then be injured and scared for his life. So why then? Why do non human animals, no matter their level of intelligence, continue to be caged, abused, eaten, experimented on, used, and worn by our species? Can we shift our perception just slightly and get out of the way so others can live their lives freely? Isn’t that what we want for ourselves?
Again, I am simply asking questions with the ultimate hope that you, readers, will share your thoughts. Maybe it requires uncoiling where we came from and where we picked up our beliefs. Because perhaps a higher intelligence comes from the ability to live in harmony with the planet without intentionally harming others, to take care of ourselves and each other.
Tillikum, the Orca the documentary “Blackfish” was based on, just died after 30 years in captivity. He was ripped from the wild and his mother at just 2 years old. Why? For entertainment and profit at Seaworld. Orcas stay with family and friends for life in their natural habitat. Tilly was kept in solitary confinement for the majority of his life except for when he was forced to do tricks and entertain the public. Very similar to those animals confined in the circus and at the Zoo. When he passed, he had scratches all along his body and his teeth were worn down from biting the cages out of frustration.
Another Orca named Granny is also presumed dead but at 105 years old. She lived and died with freedom unlike Tilly who was never given the chance even after science continued to back up how abusive it is to keep these animals in solitary confinement.
Luckily the documentary “Blackfish” opened our eyes to profits made from captivity and abuse and fortunately less and less people are buying tickets to Seaworld. More people are becoming aware that non human animals are tortured, abused, used, and slaughtered more than any other being ever in the history of mankind.
All over the world animals are suffering from human hands whether it’s for flesh, product, entertainment, ivory and skins, fur, testing, feathers, religion and ceremony. These animals range in intelligence. They speak languages that we can’t even understand. However, what is most important is that they share the ability to feel pain and suffer immensely.
So let’s take a moment, step back and observe how we treat others, what we project to be intelligent and what we can learn from those around us. Listen and observe more, uncoil belief systems, and let others live in their own right, their own intelligence, and perhaps we can learn something. A way that brings more peace, more love, and ultimately a collective higher intelligence.
Here’s to the animals and all they teach us! Patience, forgiveness, simplicity, love, joy, and intelligence. Let’s honor them more, help an individual in need, and make the world a little better for all.
By: Mandy Parry
Last year my 7 year old son came home from school looking dejected. He pulled out a worksheet he was given for homework. The instructions were to draw a line from the farm animal to the thing it “gives”. This week his 1st grade class was learning about farm animals. The curriculum didn’t bother to mention how the animals look, sound, think or live outside of exploitation. Instead it only focused on how a cow “gives” milk, a hen “gives” eggs and a pig “gives” pork. Give is a funny word to use because it’s as if the animal was asked and had first right of refusal or they have a choice in the matter. The reality is that they have no choice. These things are not only taken, the sentient beings they are taken from, endure a life of suffering..
I expected to run into a time when my son and I would have deep conversations about veganism but not in 1st grade. To my surprise he already understood what was wrong with these teachings. He’s been to farm sanctuaries and has a better understanding than I assumed he did. What a relief. He continued to bring home worksheets along the same lines. I was upset that this type of thinking was being ingrained into young minds. I went to the school and talked to his teacher but she didn’t see my concern. She went on to say this was standard curriculum from the district and she couldn’t change it if she wanted to. As disappointed as I was to hear that, I’m grateful this gave my son and I a chance to discuss farm life in greater detail.
My family and I became vegan a little over 2 years ago. My husband and I decided we didn’t want to contribute to violence against animals and we studied some amazing health benefits from plant-based diets. The switch was easy, but we worried how the kids would adjust. What I didn’t consider is how compassion in children is so innate. They get it better than most adults and before we knew it we had re-placed calf growth fluid (milk) with almond milk, cheese by delicious Follow Your Heart, and beans or lentils in place of meat. Contrary to some beliefs, we didn’t starve and in fact our pallets developed a new appreciation for foods we used to eat sparingly. Not only do we find ourselves getting sick less often, but our recovery time is quicker. Our kids come in contact with kids with viruses at school often and rarely do they contract the illness. Their immune systems kick ass! Same goes for working out and being athletic. My recovery time reduced though I’m getting older.
In my experience the most powerful tool to raising compassionate children is to lead by example. They watch as I volunteer at animal sanctuaries and rescues. They come with me when I go to protests. They see my passion and love for all beings. Even though we haven’t always been vegan we never supported animals used for entertainment. My husband and I never felt right going to circuses, zoos or aquariums so that wasn’t a shock for them. Now I watch as my children explain to others why we don’t support the animal entertainment industry. My daughter has a Dr. Suess book where a cartoon girl is riding a rhino. Each time we read it she says “Momma, it’s so sad that she’s riding that rhino. Animals don’t like to be treated like that”. My son comes home upset because kids were stepping on bugs at school and he couldn’t get them to stop. What so many adults are unable to see, children just know. I hope they never lose that. I want them to question everything and refrain from following the status quo.
I know there may come a time when they decide to step away from veganism. To say this possibility doesn’t terrify me would be a lie but I want them to find their own voice and passion for veganism. What I can do is be the example and hope what they have learned is what they already know in their hearts – compassion.
Another great tool for raising vegan kids is finding community. It can be lonely without it. I was amazed at the amount of support I found online and in my hometown. Our first discovery was Esther the Wonder Pig and Ziggy the Traveling Piggy. I was able to show my kids videos of beautiful animals living free from harm. We love watching the videos on The Dodo and Peta Kids has some great information too. We were able to find a community of local vegans that put on holiday parties, potlucks and meet-ups. Being around like-minded people with children that have answers to your questions and an understanding for the hardships you face is incredible. It’s one thing to go vegan yourself, but when it comes to raising vegan kids everyone has an opinion. I personally have extended family that thinks we’re “too extreme” because we don’t share their views on animal exploitation. It’s not always easy, but it is definitely worth it. It’s not even as close to difficult when you consider the challenges the animals face being raised for food.
For Christmas this year I have my eye on a few new books that teach about compassion. One of them is “V is for Vegan,” which goes through the alphabet giving the why’s and how’s of veganism. The other, “Santa’s First Vegan Christmas,” is a story about a fun-loving reindeer who meets Santa and shows him how we can all be kinder to animals. Kindness is a gift we can never give or get enough of.
“It is vital that when educating our children’s brains that we do not neglect to educate their hearts.”
By: Dave Swartz
I would have to say that the most asked question I get about Sage Mountain is “When are you getting some animals?” Since this is a hot topic, I would like to give an update on our facility and where we are in the process.
We currently have two shelters built (one mid-sized for pigs/sheep and one large shelter for cows.) We are also finishing up work on two chicken coops adjacent to the shelters. If you were at our last event at the High West Distillery you probably heard that we are currently looking for a fencing contractor. That is definitely our biggest concern right now in regards to opening our animal facility. I have been blown off by two fencing contractors this spring. One of them had me on the hook for two months before I finally had to move on. I just can’t understand how some people can run a business like that but apparently it is pretty common in the contracting world. Luckily, I have an appointment this Tuesday for someone to come and give an estimate and hopefully perform the fencing work. At this point if someone shows up, sober… well they don’t even have to be sober as long as they are on time and perform the quality work they say they will do, then they’re hired!
The next question I get asked quite frequently is how many animals will you have? The answer to that question is only a handful, perhaps 10 at most. There are number of reasons for having so few animals.
First, these are ambassador animals. With billions of farmed animals slaughtered every year, if we took in a million animals we would still be at a tiny fraction of one percent.
Second, we are so lucky to have such a beautiful place that is shared with so much wildlife. The number one cause of wildlife degradation is animal agriculture. We want to continue to share the land with the local wildlife and having loads of farmed animals will certainly take away from the wildlife.
Thirdly, taking care of farmed animals if very costly and time consuming. Remember that some of these animals in the agriculture industry only live for a few months to a year or two. At our facility these animals could live from 15 to 20 years. It will take lots of time and resources to give these animals the home they deserve.
Through our education and advocacy initiatives, we hope to change the way people view farmed animals and assist them with making the switch to a plant based diet that will better our planet, our health, and the animals we share this world with.