Miriam, a 2,000-pound beef cow, spent the early years of her life alone, scared, and in the woods outside an Oregon ranch.
She was too big to go to the slaughter, so she was abandoned and left to fend for herself. Then she was rescued.
Today, she spends her days grazing, relaxing and hanging out with her fellow cow friend Penelope and some male alpacas who all live at the Happy Compromise Farm + Sanctuary in Waverly.
“Miriam just loves all her little friends,” says Oliver Gawlik, a partner and founder of the farm.
Miriam is one of more than 100 animals rescued from slaughter and now making their home on the farm. The furry and feathered inhabitants of the reserve include dogs, cats, cows, ducks, geese, goats and alpacas, Gawlik said.
All animals will live in the shelter for the rest of their lives, said Eryn Leavens, the shelter’s partner and co-founder of the shelter.
Started in 2019, the sanctuary is now in its third year. It started in Oregon before moving to Waverly last year.
Miriam was one of the first animals to be rescued. She lived in the woods near a farm that was abandoned and up for sale. Gawlik and Leavens bought it and rescued Miriam and the other animals who lived there.
They worked the land and looked after the animals. After that, they rescued more animals. People started donating to their cause. They eventually decided to establish a non-profit animal shelter.
“It just grew” from a few animals to more than 100, Gawlik said.
In September 2021, the ranch reserve moved across the country from Oregon to Waverly.
“We moved to Waverly to get away from the wildfires” that have devastated the West Coast in recent years, Gawlik said.
Three trailers carrying more than 100 animals, including Miriam, made the trip east, he said.
“We rode three days in a row,” he said.
They enjoy living in Waverly, running the farm, caring for the animals and educating the public about the plight of animals like Miriam and the benefits of a vegan diet, Leavens said.
“Our goal is to reach people to help them live more compassionate and cruelty-free lives,” she said.
Their message seems to be getting through, she said. Several people have switched to a vegan lifestyle after hearing about Miriam’s background.
“After hearing Miriam’s story, I could no longer eat meat,” several people have told Gawlik.
Animals aren’t the only ones being exploited on huge factory farms. Workers perform dangerous, difficult work for low wages and long hours, Gawlik said.
“It’s also a human rights issue,” he said.
Both founders take comfort in the happy endings they witness when animals find forever homes, such as Tabitha and Titus: twin calves who recently celebrated their month-long birthday. They will be able to live together for the rest of their lives.
“We have a lot of families here,” like the twin calves, Leavens said. “I wish all animals could have that life.”
Oliver Gawlik and Eryn Leavens
Residence: Oliver is a native of Syracuse while Eryn is originally from California.
How to help: To donate, sponsor an animal, or volunteer, visit happycompromisefarm.org or find them on Instagram or Facebook.
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