Llamas, goats, you name it at Hope Haven Farm. Photo by Brian Cohen.

Llamas, goats, you name it at Hope Haven Farm. Photo by Brian Cohen.

At the farm sanctuary, Dr. Phillips works to rehabilitate these animals and ensure that the remainder of their lives is as comfortable as possible.

In addition to rescuing and rehabilitating as many animals as possible, Hope Haven is equally committed to raising public awareness about food animals, by encouraging children and adults alike to see farm animals as individuals deserving of respect.

“When you get to know a turkey as an individual: stroke their soft feathers and look into their deep soulful eyes, it will make much more of an impression on your dietary choices than reading about them in a book or magazine,” says Dr. Phillips.

However, Dr. Phillips notes that encouraging people to be more respectful of animals isn’t about ostracizing any group or lifestyle, or about changing diets.

“There is always something that you can do to be more compassionate,” she offers.

By promoting early childhood and adult education, offering tours, and presenting school programs, Dr. Phillips aims to create an awareness of the food industry in a way that encourages the message of compassion.

“Farm animal compassion translates to compassion in other parts of life,” she adds.

Dr. Karen Phillips photo by Brian Cohen.

Dr. Karen Phillips photo by Brian Cohen.

Last March, Dr. Phillips brought her message to the Social Venture Partners Pittsburgh‘s Social Innovation Fast Pitch Competition, which gives area nonprofits the opportunity to develop their networks and compete for resources and prize money.

In her quick three-minute pitch, Dr. Phillips made a strong case for increasing farm animal education and creating a culture of awareness about food practices and conscious eating.

For the future, Dr. Phillips notes that her top three goals for Hope Haven are to expand the animal adoption program, to solidify educational programming, and to partner with local food awareness organizations.

Additionally, Dr. Phillips hopes to rescue more farm hogs and set up a program in which visitors—especially city residents who don’t get to spend time on farms—can have one-on-one time with the animals and to become more informed about the often-unfair lives of food animals.

Obviously, running the farm sanctuary itself doesn’t come without challenges. “All of our funding comes from kind supporters…and the feed and medical bills can be daunting.  These animals deserve the best after the neglect and abuse they suffered at the hand of humans.  Ensuring their health and happiness is the number one priority and always challenging,” says Dr. Phillips.

You can join the rescue and education effort by volunteering at the sanctuary, sponsoring or adopting an animal, or by donating resources and material to Hope Haven.

There is much to be learned by the spirit and perseverance of the farm animals at Hope Haven. Visit the website and follow the Facebook page to learn more.