ABOUT THE FOUNDER
My name is Rebecca Moore, and I am a musician and animal rights activist. At the age of 10, a chance meeting with a chicken at summer camp outside of city limits made me question everything I had been told about animals. I stopped eating them literally overnight, started reading any books I could get my hands on (pre-internet!) and my education began.
As an artist, I worked for over two decades in NYC. I always had a day job, but by night - beginning when I was 16 years old - I was working with many experimental theater, dance, film and performance artists in the 1980's-90's East Village heyday. I was really busy and activism was a big part of that world too... affordable housing, the early days of the AIDS crisis... and my parents had brought me up attending No Nukes demos and ERA rallies. But all on my own, I became interested in animal rights and identified deeply with the plight of animals. I did what I could at that time - rescued "city" animals like stray cats and pigeons, volunteered at a cat and dog shelter, and even waitressed as a teen at one of the only vegan restaurants in NYC at the time. But there was no internet then; no meetup groups, youtube or Facebook... and it wasn't as easy to get a wide range of information. I felt disconnected from a larger animal rights community and also disconnected in my own social justice ethics, connections and understanding.
One day I decided to heed the calling I felt deep in my soul and left the city, my comfort zone and pretty much everything I had built up over two decades at that point, to devote myself to animal rescue, care, and advocacy. I took a bus upstate that dropped me off on a dirt road (I didn't even know how to drive at the time) and started working at a small farm animal rescue. To say we were working in the trenches would be an understatement; it was intense on all levels, emotionally, spiritually and physically. The animal sanctuary journey continued over the next 9 years in NY, NJ and CA as I worked and learned at several different organizations wearing a zillion different hats: volunteer, staff member, animal care- taker, barn cleaner, doing seizure/removal at neglect sites, tons of administration, running programs, doing educational tours for hundreds of visitors, fundraising & membership, running events and more. It is hard to romanticize any of it from my current vantage point. While many of these organizations operated as "rescues," they barely felt like sanctuaries in anything more than name and label; were not even remotely happy or ethical places to work (which I could see impacted animal care not to mention took a toll on the human staff), and had high staff turnover rates. I simply became one of those turnover statistics at one organization, then another, then another... But I would pick myself up after each experience and keep going; another try at another job, another city.
I moved with many of those jobs - 7 times in 9 years - and felt very lost and destabilized, but what I didn't realize until much later was: thanks to chickens yet again, I was actually building something the whole time; setting in place foundation stones and planting seeds. You can't always see until afterwards that something has been slowly growing.
In all that moving, disappointment and weathering feelings of total failure, I had started to take in chickens that were very special needs - who clearly needed extra support and care, and who often were the most overlooked even at animal rescues. I was living in very small places and didn't own land, so I couldn't bring home a sheep! But I could bring home chickens and they were quite clear in letting me know they needed more allies. Nelly, a rooster with two deformed feet who needed very special care, was the first.
The "Institute" that was my one room cottage is now growing into so much more! The two big loves - animals and art - are now coming together. I believe that doing this is the key to greater happiness for many humans and non-humans alike. We have one incredible coop, and are building a second... a room inside our home is the Chicken Hotel for those who are special needs. A vegan festival has sprouted up to bring community together, a vegan arts "uprising" is in the works... much more is to come.
Thank you for visiting and your time reading this. I wish you peace and power in your own efforts to reduce suffering for all living beings! I hope you'll check out the information on the other pages of this site to see what we are up to and who's in residence - and we hope to join with you for the larger compassionate mission and journey!
May all beings be free - and find happiness, too.