Farm animal abuse and neglect starkly visible in the winter, says animal advocate
Every winter, Daniella Tessier of the Peace Ridge Sanctuary in Brooks sees Maine farm animals that are suffering neglect or abuse and tries her best to offer them the care they need.
But often, the need is much greater than her ability to meet it.
“What has been said for the longest time is that we have a cat and dog problem in Maine,” Tessier said. “That’s not correct. There’s a farmed animal problem. No one wants to say that farmers are doing the wrong thing, but unfortunately we can’t ignore it anymore.”
Many people don’t understand the amount of care it takes to raise farm animals such as pigs, cows or goats, said Liam Hughes, the director of the state’s Animal Welfare Program. Even smaller animals, such as chickens or rabbits, may pose unexpected challenges.
“Over the past several years, with backyard farmers attempting to raise chickens or rabbits or goats, and with non-traditional animals finding their way into [homes], this sometimes does not work out well, for the people or the animals,” Hughes said. “If people are truly interested in getting involved in farming we encourage them to check with their local resources. We really do strongly recommend going to those groups and learning everything you can about the animals.”