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  • Writer's pictureMyrna Driedger

The Little Red Barn Sanctuary

I was delighted to be able to visit this sanctuary in Charleswood and was surprised to learn just how many farm animals are rescued when they are no longer considered profitable. Thanks to Jessica Walker, a young student, this little red barn micro sanctuary was founded on the beliefs and values that farm animals are “someone”, not “something”. It is home to a variety of rescued animals who were otherwise destined for slaughter. Founded in 2019, then opened to the public in 2020, The Little Red Barn is home to dozens (hundreds at times) of farm animals and they have rescued over 10,000 animals.


What began with saving two piglets, George and Lucy, and a visit to a local school to educate them about factory hog farming, has led to dozens of farm animals being saved from slaughter and thousands of people being educated through tours, social media, rescues, published research, interviews, media articles and schools. While their primary focus is educating the public about farm animals, they also participate in frontline animal rescue.


While visiting the sanctuary, we observed that horses, cows, pigs, and goats are just as interested in approaching humans as what we consider to be usual “pets”. The horse was jealous of the attention we were giving to the cow and tried to nudge his way in and nudge the cow out. The horses responded to us, even allowing some of the little girls with us the opportunity to “braid” their hair.


The Little Red Barn sanctuary operates independently with donations and volunteer support. Through empathy and compassion, they bridge the disconnect between individuals and farm animals for a kinder world. In the past year alone, they have connected farm animals with over 1500 children and their families personally.


Molly is a rescued cow living a wonderful life among friends at the Little Red Barn Sanctuary. She gets a chance to use her maternal instincts with the first calf she gets to keep. They rescued Molly after serving in the dairy industry for years, providing a forever home where she gave birth to Rooney, the first baby she will keep. Molly is a phenomenal mother, even nursing an orphan calf along with Rooney.


What began as a Grade 8 science project for Jessica led to the creation of this wonderful sanctuary. With the help of her family, she is showing us that a little light can affect the world around us. The importance of youth activism is instrumental in creating hope for a better world for animals, people, and the environment.

It was such a pleasure to meet Jessica and her human family as well as her animal family. I would like to send out a huge thank you to them for what they do. For further information, or to donate or volunteer, please visit their website at “thelittleredbarn.org”


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