Mission & Projects
We rescue, care and advocate for abused animals who are victims of the animal agriculture industries (meat, dairy and eggs). We have begun this mission rescuing chickens. With only one yard for housing, we focus on the smallest, most invisible victims who are in fact among the world's most prolifically abused: 9 billion a year, an unfathomable number, suffer and are killed at the hands of this country's meat industry alone. Chickens are the most mocked, the most denigrated... abused at unthinkable volumes, and the beings whom the public is least educated about (i.e. the hidden cruelty of the egg industry.) We also feel they are the animals least helped by mainstream "pet-focused" rescues who still often deem them expendable. We do hope to give haven to many different species in the future as we grow, but chickens will always be our special focus. By tending to those deemed worthless and least deserving of even the barest consideration, we make our statement very clear: compassion must be for ALL. Compassion must be relentlessly applied and extended into every nook, crevice and detail of society.
We seek to educate about vegan alternatives and share information and resources that help us all to bypass the suffering created for both humans and animals that is inherent in the extremely problematic, unsustainable, unhealthy and destructive animal-based food system. Events like Hudson Valley Vegfest, Kingston Animalia, our meetups, activities and fundraising for others - are all about providing joyous opportunities to learn, share, grow, promote veganism, animal rights, vegan businesses and other organizations, and bring people together for change.
We respect all who come here, no matter your species, race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, age, ability. Whether it is a visitor, someone coming to help care for the animals here (be it as volunteer now, or staff in the future) or a new resident needing our assistance, our goal is to create healing and happy space and to interact with the utmost kindness, respect and appreciation for the contributions of all. We seek to develop with peers and community a code of conduct and transparency of operation to be implemented that does not in any way allow for abusive treatment, unethical behavior or exploitation of humans or animals. This is necessary, to truly be an organization fully devoted to a compassionate mission.
As volunteers with creative energy we have completed many projects including the following:
Used our writing skills and ski hats as incentives in a fundraiser for a sanctuary and raised over $11,000 for their work!
Recorded a song (see MUSIC) whose proceeds go to animal rescue and care.
Co-created a Meetup Group (with animal advocate/singer/songwriter Kirsti Gholson) that is now on FB and have hosted numerous creative and educational events
Created an online arts advocacy hub for vegan/animal rights artists
We co-created and produce a new huge vegan festival for the Hudson Valley! 2000-2500 people attended in our first two years, as well as a dozens of speakers, presenters and entertainers - and 80-100 vendors. HUDSON VALLEY VEGFEST helped bring incredible new educational offerings to the region and greater vegan awareness, and will also help us support and grow this sanctuary. We are hard at work on year three!
Began building a Vegan/Intersectional Cultural Festival - KINGSTON ANIMALIA (to debut in 2019) - that will focus on compassion-based social justice art that inspires, uplifts and engages!
Most joyously, we picked up a few more rescued, non-human family members along the way, as well. Two were profiled on The Dodo website!
Our living room cannot fit any more chickens, so -
WE'VE BEEN SLOWLY, MINDFULLY EXPANDING.
We worked for nearly a decade at other sanctuaries and rescues - doing animal care, administration, educational programs, fundraising, and more - all while supporting a growing rescue family of our own; In time we grew to have a fairly complete and well-rounded understanding of the workings, management demands and operational needs for an animal rescue organization. It was time to go out on our own. The humble but proud proceeds from our merch and music sales were sent to support many animal rescue and care organizations in our early years (see items in our shop for full list of charities) but as of 2017, shop proceeds are being put towards care and housing for our growing family of residents. In 2017 we just completed our first official Institute Outbuilding: a beautiful, fully insulated coop! We also created two predator-safe grazing runs/spaces and acquired a small, moveable quarantine hut and run for intake of new birds. We suffered a setback in 2018 when a tree fell and destroyed the small coop and run, but we rebounded by building TWO more coops and an individual paddock.
Our "rescue family" is really growing and we want to do more. We are hard at work to continue the incredible growth and seeds that have been planted starting in 2008. Thank you for your interest in The Institute! Please stay tuned for news as we grow!
Note: We are keeping our day jobs, while exploring how we can grow in a thoughtful, careful way. It has been our intention to be as independently sustainable as possible. But we are now, officially registered as a non-profit organization and 501(c)(3) as of March 2019! If you'd like to support the work and care being done by the Institute (and don't need a hat or a song) we are deeply grateful for your participation, engagement and generosity! Every bit helps us continue to expand these efforts. We have a WISH LIST of supplies, in case you have items to donate or just want to help us care for these little ones. Thank you.