Is it ok to purchase an animal in order to save him/her?

We are opposed to “rescue” by purchase. Here’s why…

We know first-hand how hard it is to see an animal suffering in our community, as well as the deep need to figure out how we, as individuals, can help alleviate this suffering. That is what motivated and inspired all of us at Peace Ridge Sanctuary to be part of the farmed animal sanctuary movement. As PRS has grown, we now get contacted nearly every day (and sometimes multiple times a day) about animals in need and are constantly being reminded of how vital our community-based work is. We are bombarded with grisly stories and photos of rampant animal abuse and pleas from people who are no longer able or willing to provide animals with the care they need and deserve. One of the most heartbreaking aspects of our work, beyond seeing how horribly animals are treated, is having to turn away animals because the need is so great.

Like other reputable sanctuaries, we do not support rescue by purchase. By paying into the industry, we would become customers, not rescuers. Unfortunately, while the sanctuary movement has grown, we have started to see new sanctuaries who take a different approach and not only purchase animals themselves, but also often solicit money in campaigns to help fund these adrenaline-fueled rescues. Often these animals at the center of these rescue campaigns are considered spent and are essentially worthless to the farmer but by playing on the emotions of compassionate people, the farmers see an opportunity to make money and sometimes even charges inflated prices. That being said, every single dollar purposely given back to farmers, even at or below market value, feeds the system. When you purchase an animal, you are giving the farmer money to buy her/his replacement(s) and therefore are condemning other animals to immense suffering and an early death. Purchasing animals exacerbates the problem, not alleviates it, no matter how good the intentions are.

Our sanctuary is filled with animals who have been rescued by the Maine Animal Welfare Program from cases of horrible cruelty and neglect. We have over 250 animals at PRS, and we have never have, or will, purchase animals. This policy extends to not taking in animals that others have solicited funds to buy. The need for rescue far outweighs the available space in our sanctuary, or any of the other sanctuaries around the country, which makes sense when you realize there are over ten billion farmed animals abused and killed each year in the U.S. alone. No matter how many animals can find homes at sanctuaries, sadly the number that can be saved will never be more than a drop in the bucket. Therefore, we need to think and act carefully. We are working strategically for systematic change and that doesn’t include paying into exploitative systems that we desperately want to see dismantled.

We provide rehabilitation and a life-long home to farmed animals, always stretching to do as much as we can and help as many animals as possible. At the same time, we are working to promote comprehensive humane education. Education allows us to significantly expand our impact by encouraging people to make more compassionate choices and go vegan, removing themselves from these oppressive systems altogether. Animal agriculture follows the natural laws of supply and demand – if the number of consumers and customers (even those who purchase in the name of “rescue”) of animal agriculture decrease, the number of animals confined, abused, and killed will also decrease, and that is how we begin to see the change we all want to see. If you want to directly help farmed animal victims, find a reputable sanctuary who you trust and help support the expensive, life-long care and rehabilitation of animals who have been rescued as well as humane education efforts to help ensure that less animals will need to be rescued in the first place.