New York-based animal protection organization Farm Sanctuary recently launched a new website that takes a wider approach to animal advocacy. In addition to advocating for animals in industrial agriculture, the new platform and digital resource highlight the interrelated issues of oppression that stem from the global food system, including social injustices, human rights violations, and community health crises, and aims to educate consumers on how a shift from an animal-based to a plant-based lifestyle can be the most impactful social change movement of our time. 

A multifaceted problem
Though Farm Sanctuary says it has been doing social justice work for years, the organization believes now is the time to spark a long-overdue conversation about it. Its work in this area has included panel discussions, events, advocacy actions, and humane education curriculums that explore our food system through a social justice lens. Its website also spotlights some of these issues, such as the over one million workers—a significant portion of whom are low-income people of color who have few work options—in the fields, factory farms, slaughterhouses, and processing plants who work in often unsafe conditions with a high risk of injury for minimal pay. There is also the issue of environmental racism, specifically within the neighboring communities of factory farms, who are often people of color and who experience health ailments, including cancer, birth defects, and lower life expectancy, due to the harmful practices of these facilities.

“We are at an inflection point where systems change is crucial for the planet, our communities, workers in our food system, public health, and the billions of farm animals who endure cruelty on an unimaginable scale,” Farm Sanctuary CEO Megan Watkins told VegNews. “As we commemorate 35 years of fighting for farm animals, we wanted to create a definitive resource that tells the true story of animal agriculture, who these animals are, and empowers people everywhere to join us in our pursuit of bold solutions to end this oppressive and unjust system.” 

What you can do
In the social justice section of its new website, includes a “What Can We Do?” section with ways people can help alleviate the amount of harm inflicted on workers and communities by the animal agriculture industry and includes a vegan eating guide and buying tips, such as purchasing organic produce (which helps reduce chemicals produce workers come in contact with) and buying produce locally through community-supported agriculture programs.

Founded in 1986 by Gene Baur, Farm Sanctuary provides lifelong care for animals rescued from abuse at its sanctuaries in New York and California, in addition to advocating for veganism and legal and policy reforms.

Photo Credit: Joseph Sohm